Los Angeles, CA – On August 25th, 2017, CAUSE hosted the 2017 Veterans Initiative Kickoff at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel.
The event started with CAUSE Executive Director Kim Yamasaki sharing the purpose of the Veterans Initiative program.
Kenney Tran of Walmart, a sponsor since the inception of the Veterans Initiative program, shared Walmart’s focus on hiring veterans and praised their abilities as capable workers and leaders.
Adam Ma, CAUSE Boardmember and Community Relations & External Affairs at SoCalGas, also highlighted the impressive work done by veteran leaders at SoCalGas.
Jim Crawford, Interim East LA District Manager of the California Water Service, shared a brief overview of CalWater and continued on the importance of supporting veterans.
As the keynote speaker, The Honorable Jay Chen of the Mt. San Antonio College Board of Trustees and Lieutenant of the US Naval Reserve spoke on the history of APAs in the military and the importance of recognizing their service. He also emphasized the unique perspective that veterans bring into other professions, especially those in public service, and pointed out that a large percentage of current APA representatives in government are veterans. As such, programs like the Veterans Initiative provide veterans an opportunity to develop their leadership capabilities and empower them to speak up for their communities.
CAUSE Director of Programs Lindsey Horowitz shared more about the Veterans Initiative program structure and introduced the 2017 Veterans Initiative cohort.
After the keynote, each of the 2017 Veterans Initiative fellows briefly introduced themselves. This year’s fellows include Evette Kim of the US Army Reserves; Richard Mai, Veteran of the US Marine Corps; Audrey Oh, Veteran of the US Army; Andrew Saetern of the US Army Reserves; Priscilla Songsanand, Veteran of the US Army; and Jayce Wolf, Veteran of the US Army. As they gave introductions, each fellow shared their specific motivations for joining the program, ranging from issues surrounding APA representation in veterans affairs to fighting for peace off the battlefield.
As the program came to a close, fellows were given the opportunity to connect with community leaders and others in the CAUSE network who shared similar experiences as veterans.