Last Friday, I attended the AMSLC in Chicago as a speaker, along with Wesley Hom and Gregg Oshita. I was quite impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement demonstrated by the students from several chapter universities in the Midwest area, including NIU, DePaul, LUC, Ohio State, Indiana U, U of I at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue.
Ascend is a national non-profit organization that empowers Asian professionals and students to develop their leadership potentials in corporate America. I got to know Ascend last year when they held its national conference in Chicago and I was invited to talk at a panel. I was immediately impressed by the efficiency of the organization running the well-attended conference and the quality of the panels and speeches that I attended.
Topics covered in our talks this year are focused on career advancement, namely how to overcome the “good Asian” stereotypes to be effective in communication, building network, finding mentor and sponsor, and exploring/realizing their potentials by stepping out of the comfort zone. These students are certainly taking the initiatives toward the right direction by joining an organization like Ascend and investing their time and efforts to learn and network. Shortly after the conference, I was pleasantly surprised by a few emails from the students, among them, several even requested for LinkedIn connections. They are certainly put what they’ve learned right into practice. Since I have two names, one student couldn’t locate me on LinkedIn, so she went to my book website and sent me an email from there.
She wrote: “I believe your experience inspired many of us. I really want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us.” Another wrote: “I was very moved by the panel discussion and thank you very much for all the advice.” Another wrote: “It was nice talking to you at the Ascend event. Thank you so much for sharing your own stories and experience with us.” Actually there are a few students who didn’t belong to any of these universities where there is an Ascend chapter. They learned about the event and took the extra step to attend the conference. So glad to see their eagerness and enthusiasm. Go Ascend, and best wishes for all the students.
Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary movie by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit www.mulberrychildmovie.com for more information.