Leadership Institute Session #5

2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Monterey Park, CA – On Saturday, May 18th, CAUSE held the fifth Leadership Institute session of 2019 at the SoCalGas Learning Center in Monterey Park.

The CAUSE Leadership Institute (CLI) is a community leadership and advocacy training certificate program for high-potential professionals with seasoned leadership experience and a passion for serving the needs of the APA community in California. Participants complete the program armed with the skills and connections vital to advocate for the APA community. Graduates of this program have gone on to change the civic landscape in the region through elected office and leadership roles in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Our program is highly selective and each member of our cohort is selected based on their leadership abilities, public service, and passion for community involvement. All of our program fellows are identified and nominated by leading elected officials, select nonprofit partner organizations, or a CAUSE Board Member.

Read more about this year’s Leadership Institute cohort here.

2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

The day’s session kicked off with a morning energizing activity led by CAUSE Executive Director Kim Yamasaki, followed up with a check-in with the fellows facilitated by CAUSE Programs Coordinator Justine Ventura-Mejia.

Stacy Lee speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Next, Stacy Lee, Managing Director for Early Childhood Project Integration at Children Now, led a session on healthcare access in API communities, focusing on the importance of ensuring children grow up with the stable support and environments they need. Stacy presented the disparities in academic achievement among individuals who had more difficult childhoods and explained how developmental trauma affects the brain. She emphasized, “If you start behind, you stay behind.” When asked what advice she had for fellow health advocates, she stated, “Don’t forget how important it is to focus on children.”

Tamika Butler speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Tamika Butler, Director of Equity & Inclusion for Toole Design, led a leadership roundtable discussion on diversity and inclusion. She highlighted that although similar, inclusion is not the same as diversity, an requires the extra step of making sure diverse individuals are actually able to make decisions. Tamika emphasized the ways privilege affects one’s ability to take risks, and that those in a position of privilege and power should utilize their privilege to take the risks marginalized individuals can’t afford to take. “Everyone wants to be ‘woke’...some of us have to be awake all the time,” she explained. She implored the fellows to “Be more than an ally, be an accomplice...Accomplices are willing to risk something.”

Stephanie Cherng of the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Over lunch, fellows continued to share their journey map presentations, a presentation that shows their individual life milestones and experiences that led to their current identity. The presentations allow fellows to get to know each other on a more intimate and personal level by contextualizing their experiences and passions.

Bill Wong speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Lastly, the fellows participated in a training on team-based leadership led by Bill Wong, Political Director of the California Assembly Democrats. The fellows participated in a team-based interactive puzzle activity to exercise their “leadership muscles”, which was used to demonstrate how being a leader isn’t about focusing on yourself. Bill emphasized that leadership is about problem-solving, stating “It’s not about what you want, you have to figure out what everyone else wants.” He expressed that it was crucial for each of the fellows to become strong leaders so that they don’t become vulnerabilities for their organizations and causes, and explained that “the higher you go as a leader, the harder moral responsibility becomes.”

2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

As the session wrapped up, fellows headed over to Golden Mile Bowling for a fun evening of bowling and snacks with staff and past Leadership Institute alumni.