Volume 4, Issue 2

April 2015 Newsletter
"To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart." - Thomas J. Watson


GIVE BIG! May 5th
Featured:  Program Chairs
"EDI's Champions"
"What do they do for EDI?"

Left to Right: Andrea Cortes-Beltran, Vanna Novak (EDI Founder/Facilitator), Mark Kawabata, Melanie Tinsley, Ronald Woo, Claire Mak, and Nicole Ngonevolalath, pose for a picture after their "Train the Trainer" session in preparation for their respective programs.


Not pictured : Pha Mom, Jose Gomez, Ryan Truair, Cesar Amaral, and Colleen Yamaguchi.

      The Seattle Foundation's  GiveBIG is a  one-day, online charitable giving event  to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations. This year, GiveBIG - "Day of Champions" is on  May 5th , and it's a special day for donations because The Seattle Foundation will  match a portion of the donation raised only on that day! Our goal on May 5th is to raise at least $5,000 in donations, and we  GiveBIG thanks to everyone for their continued support of EDI!

      For EDI, the people who make running the programs possible, are the  Program Chairs, past and present ! They are truly EDI's Champions! EDI's Program Chairs are past alumni, who volunteer their time back (for up to two years) to EDI simply because they love the programs so much.
     One of the returning Program Chairs, Mark Kawabata, says, "The best part about EDI is the energy and excitement that flows through the participants. There are many classes that address leadership in business, but to be a part of a program tailored to incorporate personal cultural values elevates it to a higher level." An added benefit for Mark is also working closely with EDI's Executive Director, Marci Nakano, to make sure the programs are running smoothly.

Q & A with the 2015 Program Chairs:

Why did you become a Program Chair?

Pha Mom:  I enjoy watching people grow throughout the year and it's great to know that I took part in that growth.

Nicole Ngonevolalath:  I want to work on my skill set and go through the program again as a refresher because if we don't use it, we lose it.

Ryan Truair: There was a need for someone to step into a leadership role, and I took it as an opportunity to apply and exercise what I learned as a program participant.

Claire Mak:  I want to give back to the EDI community, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and help other Asians become better leaders. I also enjoy meeting new people, and there's no better way to network with other Asian professionals than being part of EDI.

What do you enjoy most about being a Program Chair?

Pha Mom:  I love meeting new people and learning their story!

Nicole Ngonevolalath:  Meeting and learning about the new participants, but also having the chance to get to know the trainers on a different level! And of course, the FOOD!

Claire Mak: I love sharing my experiences and lessons that I learned with the EDI class. Mentoring other Asian professionals makes me feel proud :)

Colleen Yamaguchi:  It's a fabulous opportunity to create an environment where people can learn, share and grow together, and to see that come alive.  In all the programs, each participant has a wealth of experience and perspective to contribute, so the peer dynamic is rich and a critical component of learning. Tapping into the wisdom of the group as new concepts and tools are introduced generates an upward synergy of insights and leader development that is exciting to see. I learn a lot too!

Advice for someone thinking about becoming a Program Chair:

Pha Mom:  If you want to grow, give back. Giving back is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others.

Nicole Ngonevolalath:   DO IT! It's an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and embrace the challenge.
Ryan Truair:  Go for it. You will not regret your decision.

Claire Mak:  There's nothing better than giving back to your community, learning new skills, re-living the EDI experience with new friends, and helping improve the EDI program!

EDI would love to hear from you!

Submit any pictures, stories, and/or promotions to EDI, and you could be featured in next month's May  newsletter.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Vivian at

Table of Contents

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Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month
(click flyer for more details)

On  Sunday May 3rd , explore and experience the cultural roots of the Asian-Pacific Islands at the Seattle Armory/Center House, through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, games, and a lively marketplace. With guest performances from the Filipino Drill Team, Gowe, and many more, you're guaranteed to have a good time!

EDI's Asian Discovery Class of 2014 participants,  Joseph Darza and
Winny Chao, will be co-MCing the event, so come out and show your support for your fellow alumni!

EDI will also have a special booth, so feel free to stop by and say hi! Hope to see you there!
Alumni on the Move

Gloria Chang, Asian Discovery Class 0f 2008, has moved to Long Beach, California to take on a first line management position for The Boeing Company in Supplier Management for Aircraft Modification Programs in the Commercial Aviation Services organization. Both a challenging and exciting experience, Gloria has been able to reflect and use the leadership skills she learned from EDI in her new position.  "I appreciate and understand my cultural background and all of the good values. Instead of having to justify why I am not direct and assertive, I am able to be comfortable in my own leadership style. I am looking forward to challenges ahead of me in my new management position."

Justin Yee, Portland Discovery Class of 2013, Manager of Vehicle Concepts at Daimler Trucks North America, has launched another concept vehicle at the Mid America Trucking Show a few weeks ago. He is featured in this "making of" video. "As a 4th generation Chinese-Native Hawaiian, I was surprised at how much I still had in common when it came to Asian beliefs and cultural values. The self-awareness of how we see through an 'Asian lens' was an important topic and theme that made the EDI course special. The focus of 'giving back' also encouraged me to become part of the startup team for the Asian Resource Network, an employee resource group at Daimler. In this group, I'm taking the lessons I've learned at EDI and spreading the knowledge to help other Asians at Daimler reach their own levels of success."

To watch Justin's video, click the picture of the Super Truck above. For more information about the actual Super Truck, click here. Congratulations Justin!

 Back row (left to right): Thomas Chan, Justin Young, Joseph Darza, Jody Fang, and Winny Chao.


Front row (left to right):  Jennifer Dai, Tep Nishimura, Michelle Warren, Al Sugiyama, On Leung, and Michael Liam.

Last month, EDI's Executive Director Emeritus, Al Sugiyama, reunited with a few Leadership Discovery alums & participants. 

Meet & Greet: Marci Nakano
Date April 20, 2015
Time : 5:30 - 7:00 PM
Program : 6:00 PM
Price : Free (open to public)
Location : Four Seas Restaurant

On Monday night, EDI will be hosting an event to introduce EDI's new Executive Director,  Marci Nakano , to the community. This event is  free and open to the public , but we ask that people bring someone who doesn't already know Marci, and help spread the word about EDI!

Please RSVP by April 17, 2015 (this Friday) to EDI at edi@ediorg.org or call (425) 467-9365.  Appetizers will be provided, compliments of EDI.

Upcoming Events

Presented by the Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee,
the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is
April 24-26th, located at the Seattle Armory and Fisher Pavilion. Explore and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Japan through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, foods and games including Taiko drumming and artisan demonstrations The Festival was founded 39 Years ago in appreciation of 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by Prime Minister Takeo Miki on behalf of the Japanese government in commemoration of the nation's bicentennial. It is the first ethnic festival to be held at Seattle Center annually and the oldest in the Seattle Center Fest?l series. 

EDI's past alumni, Connie Sugahara, Asian Discovery Class of 2009, is leading the volunteer effort for the event. If you are interested, please click here for the application.

The Vietnamese Mutual Assistance Association (VMAA)
cordially invites the public to join the Vietnamese community to celebrate, "A Vietnamese Journey to Freedom" at
Camp Murray on  April 26th from
12-4 PM.

April 2015 marks the 40th Anniversary of the use of Camp Murray as the temporary site to process and resettle the first 5,000 Southeast Asian refugees arriving in Washington State after the fall of Vietnam.  The Celebration is free and the program will include comments from former Governor Dan Evan who welcomed the Vietnamese in 1975.

Please RSVP by April 21st, by contacting Kim Long Nguyen at  Lnguyen5921@gmail.com or call (206) 898-0228. To attend, you must also bring  PHOTO ID to enter Camp Murray as it is a military base. 

EDI past and present alumni are invited to attend  United Way's Project LEAD 2015 Graduation on  April 23rd from  6-8 PM at  Bell Harbor Conference Center From 6-7 PM, there will also be a Board Fair where approximately 40 nonprofit organizations will be on hand to meet with people interested in board service.

Project LEAD is a four-week training program that aims to  increase the representation of people of color on nonprofit boards and in other positions of community leadership in King County.

To RSVP, click here or contact Project Lead at  projectlead@uwkc.org  or call (206) 461-5014. To apply to Project Lead for the upcoming year, click here for the application.