Kiran Ahuja and Gloria S. Chan kick off CAPAL’s WLP Opening Ceremony

CAPAL’s signature Washington Leadership Program (WLP) 2014 kicked off its first event on June 18 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Over 200 young professionals and interns gathered to hear opening remarks from CAPAL Board Members June Kao and Gita Ram (Chair) and Joel Szabat, co-founder of the International Leadership Foundation (ILF)


Following these remarks, Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) spoke about the importance of AAPI engagement and service.

Speaking from her own experience as an intern in D.C. in 1993, Ahuja explained that the AAPI community has grown by leaps and bounds. However, while AAPIs have the fastest rate of growth in the U.S. among all racial groups, there still lacks an understanding of the diversity and complexities of the community, she said.

For instance, the “model minority myth” generalizes AAPIs as achieving high levels of success, but in reality the community faces unique struggles, such as the fact that half of all AAPIs attend community college.

To create change, she encouraged students and young professionals to bring their whole self to the job, which means getting to know the community and using their voices to propel AAPIs forward.

The WLP Opening Ceremony also featured Gloria S. Chan, who provided our interns and professionals with an interactive networking workshop.  Ms. Chan’s networking workshop proved extremely beneficial, even to the most seasoned DC-networkers. Her workshop covered everything from handshake etiquette to nonverbal body language to small talk snippets to following up.

We loved that she encouraged students to create a network or “tribe” with individuals who share similar interests and goals because you will be able to support each other.

Those who attended can attest to the charisma of the speakers, the wise advice for succeeding in the professional world, and the fun workshop that provided us with relevant tips for networking.

Missed our Opening Ceremony session? Don’t worry – we invite you to join us on Wednesday, June 26th for our second WLP Session focusing on Immigration Policy and the AAPI Community. RSVP for this session and all other sessions of WLP here.