Workshop #5

Claire Kitayama, 2017 CAUSE Political Institute

Pasadena, CA – CAUSE held the fifth and final CAUSE Political Institute workshop on June 17th, 2017 at the Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute.


The day started with John E. Kobara, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the California Community Foundation, relaying the importance of authenticity in creating a personal narrative and driving community change. He highlighted the value of getting others to support you by getting them engaged with your ideas and shared the key to doing so: “How do you engage people? When you actually talk about what you care about.”

The Honorable Wendy Greuel, CAUSE Boardmember and Commission Chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, continued the session by discussing her personal experiences as a woman candidate and gave this year’s fellows her best fundraising advice. She shared the hardships she faced while running for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, including the importance of not letting her busy campaign overrun her family life. She advised, “Taking risks is really important, you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t take any risks.”

Over lunch, The Honorable John Chiang, Treasurer of the State of California, conveyed the importance of reflecting Californian values when enacting policies and empowering the APA community through organizations like CAUSE. He answered questions related to his campaign for California State Governor in 2018, in addition to discussing his personal values with regards to his work. He underscored the importance of maintaining connections, having stated “One of those things you never let go is the relationships you build.”

At the end of the session, the 2017 CAUSE Political Institute Cohort presented their personal platform pitches, an exercise that allowed them to apply what they’ve learned through the program and receive constructive feedback from Charlie Woo, CAUSE Board Chair, and Dan Schnur, incoming Director of AJC Los Angeles.


After the presentations, Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of CAUSE, closed the session by encouraging the Political Institute graduates to stay involved in the community and with CAUSE and to always search for opportunities for helping the next generation and classes of fellows set to follow in their footsteps. She offered the cohort CAUSE’s resources and continued support and asked for fellows to help CAUSE continue to grow.