NACA Chair Lani Wong delivered the opening remarks at the kick-off of NACA’s 2013 year-long Mentoring Program for young Asian-Americans in the Atlanta area.  Mentoring is not new to NACA as it initiated its first Mentorship Program for Asian-American college students in Georgia back in 2004 followed by a quarterly “Lunch and Learn” in 2005 in addition to a high school leadership program in 2006.  Other NACA Board members in attendance were Rengen Li and Li Zheng, together with NACA Advisors Jung Mar and Henry Yu.

The preparation of the 2013 Mentoring Program started in September 2012 under the leadership of Rengen Li, Li Zheng and Henry Yu, with full support of the NACA Board.  For this inaugural class, seven young Asian-American professionals in the Atlanta area have been matched with seven executives.  The mentees come with diverse professional backgrounds that include banking, legal, engineering, marketing, information technology, and accounting.  Mentors are equally diverse in their professional backgrounds and were chosen based on their commitment and diverse experiences in the U.S.

Gail Evans, a long-time supporter and friend of NACA and a nationally-recognized speaker, has studied the issues that face Asian and other minority leaders in the workplace.  A retired Executive Vice-President of CNN and author of “Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman” and “She Wins You Win,” Gail Evans shared at the launch, professional development tips, leadership attributes, tidbits of knowledge and experiences relating to career advancement, as well as culturally sensitive issues.

Dr. Marilyn Buckner, President of National Training System and a leadership development expert, reviewed the mentees’ leadership styles by utilizing the Hogan Personality Inventory system which breaks down various leadership styles such as being ambitious, inquisitive and team-focused. Dr. Bucker and the mentees explored the strengths and weaknesses of each mentee. Attendees learned that to be successful, individuals must be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. By exhibiting a strength that is too strong, individuals can potentially derail their careers.  In addition, individuals can leverage other people’s strengths to make up for their own weaknesses.

Both the mentees and mentors were excited about the opportunity to grow and develop, and were anxious to start the first mentoring session that begins in just a few weeks.

Mentees and mentors also spent time getting acquainted with one another and shared valuable insights about the program. Highlights of the 2013 program include:

* Ten monthly one-on-one meetings between mentor and mentee with the first month to agree on a specific plan and goal.

* Each month the mentee and mentor will spend time on key issues facing corporate America

* 2-3 group sessions to include all mentors and mentees in order to review key issues by outside professionals.

By participating in this year-long program, mentees will have a better idea of how to prepare and address the following issues:

  1. Expanding social and business networks
  2. How to interact with their bosses and colleagues (i.e. conflict management)
  3. Improve leadership and soft skills
  4. Reduce stress and improve time management
  5. How to become an effective executive in a global business environment
  6. How to work effectively in a challenging and diverse work environment
  7. How to prepare for the next step in one’s professional career
  8. Have fun and expand their role in community service

NACA thanks the following corporate executives for their dedication and support in developing the nation’s next generation of Asian-American leaders by serving as mentors:

Tine Nguyen (GE)

Jenny Yao Harris (The Coca-Cola Company)

Willis Fan (The Coca-Cola Company)

Henry Yu (Fifth Third Bank)

David Halm (Project Success, Inc.)

Andrew Chang (UPS)

Brayton Li (ING)

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