What is one professional network you'd recommend for AAPI professionals or entrepreneurs?
To help you find the right professional network for AAPI professionals, we asked business leaders and entrepreneurs this question for their best recommendations. From the National ACE to Asian Wander Women, there are several professional networks designed to help AAPI professionals succeed.
1. National ACE
I highly recommend the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE) organization. . This national chamber of commerce combines resources for entrepreneurs and advocacy for small businesses at the local, state, and federal levels. ACE is uniquely positioned to support the next generation of business leaders (ACE NextGen) while creating opportunities for established businesses to access resources and opportunities. I have personally attended gatherings at the White House held by ACE, and have met fellow business owners and corporate and community leaders at local and national gatherings. These connections and influence have created a phenomenal impact on many communities, organizations, and businesses, including my own.
Farzana Nayani, Farzana Nayani, Consulting & Training
2. US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (UPAACC)
I recommend AAPI entrepreneurs join the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce or UPAACC. It is a national non-profit organization that opens educational and professional growth opportunities for small, Asian American, or minority-owned businesses.
Founded in 1984, UPAACC consistently organizes events such as the CelebrAsian, an annual procurement conference to help Asian-American firms obtain their needs through connections with large corporations and government firms.
UPAACC also holds industry-specific training and seminars on marketing, operations, and business development. It even provides financial assistance to help businesses get on their feet, survive, and flourish in America.
Siva Mahesh, Dreamshala
3. National CAPACD
National Coalition For Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) provides support and learning programs for AAPI entrepreneurs and business owners. It offers financial assistance and networking opportunities, focusing on inclusivity and respect for cultures. The organization also has financial empowerment and housing counseling programs to combat issues like gentrification. National CAPACD empowers the AAPI community at all levels.
Ankur Goyal, Coterie
4. Asian Leaders Alliance (ALA)
The Asian Leaders Alliance (ALA) group consists of Asian Employee Resource Groups (ERG) organizational leaders. Their mission is to equip, empower, and enable Asian Pacific Islander Employee Resource Groups members and allies to grow as civic leaders. They provide a variety of resources, as well as virtual and in-person events to elevate AAPI voices and leaders within corporate organizations and communities.
Van Lai, worksmart Advantage
5. Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW)
The Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing and enriching leadership skills of AAPI women through education, networking, and mentorship. I am currently part of CAPAW’s Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute (APAWLI), which seeks to promote the leadership of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women in the corporate, nonprofit, business, and government sectors by fostering the development of AAPI women as whole person leaders. My APAWLI cohort has 22 members. We’ve been meeting every other week since mid-January. We’ve had the privilege of learning from great AAPI leaders about AAPI history, mental health, mindset, etc. It feels like I have 21 sisters. I recommend that AAPI women who wish to advance in their careers look into joining CAPAW.
Marisa Hamamoto, Infinite Flow Dance / Marisa Hamamoto
As an Asian American woman, I've become accustomed to being the only woman in the room, but also the only diverse woman. At Chief, we have an expansive community of AAPI executive women from all over the country and in every industry. These women are powerful, supportive, and inspiring. Chief technology allows us to connect at a fingertip, collaborate and unite as one, committed to making a difference for all AAPI to move into positions of Sr. Leadership and power.
Julie Milroy, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits
7. H Street Group
H Street Group is a Washington, DC-based professional affiliation of AAPI public policy advocates. Our members are both registered lobbyists and public policy advocates. We support the National Institute on Lobbying Ethics (NILE) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, code of professional standards. We also support initiatives to promote AAPI professionals to the C-suite in both government and business; mentor and help develop a pipeline of young AAPI professionals, and recently lent our advocacy efforts to pass anti-Asian Hate Crimes legislation. The group is bipartisan, and many members were senior staff on Capitol Hill. This institutional knowledge is essential in understanding how to be effective in the federal arena.
Jocelyn Hong, Jocelyn Hong & Associates, LLC
8. Asians in Advertising (AIA)
I highly recommend Asians in Advertising for any Asians who are in or are interested in getting into advertising. AIA is a non-profit organization that was founded by 2 women in March of 2021 and has since grown into a community with members in over 30 countries; and offers a lot of resources for the Asian community, from students to C-suite level professionals. Most of the events and resources they offer are completely free and are aimed to uplift Asian voices and talent. Their first virtual conference is on May 5-6, and you can buy tickets at asiansinadvertising.com!
Serena Ji, Asians in Advertising
9. National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP)
I recommend the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP). NAAAP is a non-profit organization that cultivates and empowers Asian and Pacific Islander leaders through leadership development, professional networking, and community service. There are 30 chapters internationally with a network of over 25,000 professionals. When I moved to Nashville, I found the Tennessee Chapter and was welcomed by NAAAP members. I was able to find community while also growing in my leadership skills and giving back to the community. Some of the first members I met have become my dear friends, and I am so appreciative to NAAAP for cultivating this space where professionals can connect .
Terry Vo, Comcast
10. Executive Development Institute
One of the best ways I've networked within the pandemic is to highlight the Asian American women entrepreneurs, authors, leaders, and advocates. Leveraging our existing networks, resources and wins mean that we are building community while elevating Asian American voices.
Most of my clients are Asian American women, and I'm committed to supporting their vision, growth, and success. There are also numerous organizations and institutes that prioritize leadership development for Asian Americans that provide a space for us to develop as leaders while rooting from our cultural heritage and lived experiences as a strength, highly recommend the Executive Development Institute.
My Tam Nguyen, Làmdi
11. Asian Wander Women (Formerly Asian Female Nomads)
I'm a business coach for BIPOC entrepreneurs, and this Facebook Group, run by Co-founders Ivy Xu and Emily Fang, has been my favorite community for digital nomads. Ivy and Emily do a great job of organizing both online and in-person networking and educational events to connect community members all over the world.
Engagement is very organic, and everyone is so intelligent , kind, and willing to help each other out, whether that's sharing advice on what cities to visit while in a new country, the realities of van life, how to get a remote job, how to start and grow your own online business, offering sublets or self-organizing IRL meetups. Last week, I met with a fellow coach for lunch while traveling in Austin. Life on the road can feel lonely at times, and it's great to have a space where you can meet values-aligned folx who you can talk business with and grab a beer with and who feel like lifelong friends.
Carissa Begonia, CONSCIOUSXCHANGE
12. Show Up and Show Out to Everyone
As we've all seen with the recent protests denouncing hate crimes against Asians, we, AAPI, have voices, and we do have unity. However, the "Model Minority" stereotype depicts Asian Americans as recluses and quiet; that we keep to ourselves and never speak up for ourselves. To snuff out this stereotype, Asians should continue to be active on any platform or group that serves a wide range of people.
While a niche group is beneficial for providing support and common ground between Asians, I prefer not to limit myself, especially when seeking talent or advice. I prefer to network with the entire professional population on LinkedIn. This is where almost every VC, investor, engineer, salesperson, and talented professional is engaged. It's also the best place to show the masses that I'm neither a math book nor a kung fu master but a customer-obsessed business leader responsible for a go-to-market SaaS team.
Spencer Huang, Streem