Leadership Institute Session #4

Meredith Maimoni of the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Monterey Park, CA – On Saturday, April 27th, CAUSE held the fourth 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.

Ken Chawkins speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute cohort

Ken Chawkins, Manager of Public Policy at SoCalGas, gave a talk on energy and environmental policy. He emphasized the the importance of utilizing contemporary methods to change our approach to generating energy. “When you think about energy and environment, people are quick to think of climate change, global warming, and greenhouse gases...People need to think of other alternatives to inquire energy,” he explained.

Chris Thompson speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Chris Thompson, Vice President of Local Public Affairs for Southern California Edison, followed up by sharing his background and underscoring the need for public service when it comes to energy and environmental change. “You can help one person’s life in a profound way or you can help a lot of people in a diffused way”, he expressed. Chris demonstrated how his work at Edison allows him to utilize his knowledge of policy and the political process to drive change, while also engaging the community in doing so.

Cat Nou speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Next, the fellows had the opportunity to hear from Cat Nou of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (APILC). She explained how APILC is one of three API caucuses in the nation and the ways they civically engage the community through listening tours, workshops, roundtables. Cat emphasized the importance of having reliable data to drive and inform policy, stating “For democracy to work, information must be out there” to evidence what we anecdotally know as truth.”

Eileen Ung of the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Over lunch, several fellows had the opportunity to present their journey maps, 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.

Dan Schnur speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Lastly, the fellows participated in a workshop on authentic messaging and public speaking led by Dan Schnur, a Professor at the University of Southern California and Board Member of CAUSE. Dan highlighted the value of having three core biographies tailored for a personal, professional, and political context and had the fellows practice writing and presenting them to each other. On messaging, he emphasized that successful messaging is familiar, interesting, and relevant. He advised the fellows to utilize their messaging efforts to with those who already share a similar stance, stating, “Motivating is easier than persuading. You’re just reminding people why they are on your side.”