Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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2016 Ascend National Convention, the Largest Pan-Asian Business Event of the Year, Celebrated at Disneyland

NEW YORK, NY – August 4, 2016 – Ascend, the largest non-profit Pan-Asian membership organization for business professionals in North America celebrated its 2016 National Convention at Disneyland, July 30 to August 1st. The Convention theme this year was “Dare to Dream, Be Extraordinary, Ascend!” – a theme that challenged attendees to dream bigger to reach new professional heights. The Ascend Convention is the largest gathering of Pan-Asian business professionals in North America with 50+ corporate sponsors.

Ascend was thrilled to feature sessions with leaders and expert speakers from a variety of industries from entertainment to technology, engineering, media, accounting, financial services and many more. Ascend is a lifecycle organization and the convention featured programs for different career levels including Pinnacle, the Pan-Asian Corporate Board Initiative, Corporate Executive Initiative, Executive Insight Series, and sessions for millennials and students. Highlights included keynote speaker S. Singh Mecker from KPMG who gave an inspiring speech about the pace of innovation and the need for change, Deloitte’s keynote speaker Jim Moffatt, CEO, Global Consulting, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and Deputy CEO, Deloitte LLP (Deloitte U.S.), who spoke about the interconnected and interdependent global marketplace and the trends in the race for talent.

This year, the convention also featured a session exploring Pan-Asian representation in Hollywood with actors Justin Chon, Jessika Van and producer Andrea Chung, a session discussing Pan-Asians in public office and politics with Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Fiona Ma, Chairwoman of California State Board of Equalization and Amanda K. Packel from the Stanford Rock Center for Corporate Governance and Stanford Directors’ College. The convention programming culminated with the hugely popular Ascend Talks featuring Chris Simmons from PwC (ret.), Michael Fung from Wal-Mart US (ret.) and Jenny Ming from Charlotte Russe who spoke about daring to dream, being authentic and the power of personal branding. In addition, as part of the national convention, the General Motors Foundation presented the Ascend Foundation with a $25,000 grant to help support education programs and professional leadership initiatives offered by the organization.

Jeff Chin, the Ascend National President, said: “We are happy to report that Pan-Asians are well positioned for future growth – both increasing our influence and making our voice heard. This year's convention is a testament with 3,000+ registered participants. Let’s continue to move the needle and take this momentum into next year at the 2017 Ascend National Convention in Houston!”

Ascend was honored to have Asa Kalama, Executive Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, as the Awards and Benefit Dinner keynote speaker. Ascend continued the tradition of recognizing business leaders who have made significant contributions to the Pan-Asian community. At this year’s convention, Ascend recognized Jenny Ming, President & Chief Executive Officer, Charlotte Russe with Deloitte’s Ascend Leadership Award, Dr. Mahendra Lohani, Senior Vice President of Programs, Heifer International with the Ascend Humanitarian Award, AT&T with the Ascend Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award and Cisco Connected Asian Affinity Network (CAAN) with the Ascend Affinity/ERG Leadership Award.

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