Leadership Institute Graduation

2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute Graduation

Monterey Park, CA – On Saturday, June 15th, CAUSE held the Leadership Institute Graduation at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music to celebrate the 2019 Leadership Institute fellows’ accomplishments and completion of the program.

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.

Kim Yamasaki speaking at the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute Graduation

The event kicked off with welcome remarks made by CAUSE Executive Director, Kim Yamasaki. Kim introduced the Leadership Institute program and spoke on its changes and growth since its inception in 2015, and its crucial role in the leadership pipeline. She shared, “Tonight, marks a very special moment because 26 more young and committed leaders join our movement to elevate and uplift the Asian Pacific American (APA) community...We’re building the power of the individual and the power of the collective.”

Claire Kitayama speaking at the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute Graduation

As the Master of Ceremonies, Claire Kitayama, Director of Operations and Business Intelligence at United Way of Los Angeles and 2017 Political Institute* Alumnus (*now Leadership Institute) shared how going through the program helped her find her strengths and how to apply them to impact her community, sharing, “What CLI helped me see, is that there are many many ways to impact our community.” She highlighted this year’s graduating cohort, inviting the audience to “think of the impact that this group will have on our future...the graduates of the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute program will continue to empower themselves as individuals, empower their communities through politics and policies, and give back to future generations of APA leaders.”

Renee Chang speaking at the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute Graduation

Next, Renee Chang, Senior Vice President - Consumer Banking Regional Manager (Pasadena Branch) of East West Bank remarked on how East West Bank’s support of the CAUSE Leadership Institute program aligns with their vision of empowering APA communities. As the title sponsor, East West Bank provides instrumental funding and support towards the program participants, staff, and resources that prepare this generation’s APA leaders for the challenges they’ll face.

Thomas Wong speaking at the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute Graduation

Thomas Wong, Public Affairs Manager at Southern California Edison and 2016 Political Institute* Alumnus (*now Leadership Institute) also recounted his personal experience as a program participant and spoke on Southern California Edison’s support of the Leadership Institute’s mission to provide the next generation of leaders with the knowledge, access, and network to reach their full leadership potential.

Jasmeet Bains speaking at the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute Graduation

As the class representative, Jasmeet Bains delivered a keynote on her experience as being a part of the 2019 Leadership Institute cohort. She shared, “After joining CAUSE, I discovered that it does not take very much to create change; all it takes is one person with a vision to empower others to do good.” Jasmeet continued to speak on the importance of healthcare, an issue dearly close to her heart, and the potential for the APA community to enact change, stating “CAUSE has taught me that if we learn to unite and empower each other we can empower so many that have yet to realize the power that comes with being Asian American.”

2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute Graduation

Afterwards, each graduating fellow was invited on to the stage to receive their certificate for completing the Leadership Institute program. We look forward to what our 2019 Leadership Institute fellows will go on to accomplish in the future!