Leadership Institute Session #6

Linda Akutagawa speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Monterey Park, CA – On Saturday, June 15th, CAUSE held the sixth and last 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.

The day’s session started off with remarks from CAUSE Board Chair, Charlie Woo. Charlie shared why CAUSE was founded, explaining that it was necessary for Asian Americans to be educated and informed on policy and the voting process so that they’d be ready to fully back an APA candidate for elected office. He encouraged the fellows to reach out to him after the program for additional discussions and support.

Michael Nailat speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Next, Michael Nailat, Program Officer of Housing Stability at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, led a discussion on homelessness and housing development. He shared how simply managing homelessness isn’t enough, and that overarching systems need to be addressed to find real solutions. The fellows participated in an interactive activity that demonstrated the difficult decisions caseworkers need to make on a daily basis, and how limited housing resources contribute to an inefficient process. Lastly, Michael emphasized his work in data and how crucial it is to research homelesssness and its impact, stating, “We want people to feel like the solutions we present to them are based in reality.”

Christopher Teng Balmaseda speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Throughout the morning, 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.

Grayce Liu speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

After lunch, fellows had the opportunity to hear about different civic leadership pathways in elected office, nonprofit and corporate boards, and neighborhood councils from the following leaders: 

The fellows had the opportunity to ask specific questions and have discussions in rotating small groups to learn about tangible next steps after completing the Leadership Institute program.

Dan Schnur speaking to the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Institute

Lastly, Dan Schnur, Professor at the University of Southern California and CAUSE Board Member, gave a workshop on passion and action alignment. Dan stated, “The most important person person to lead is yourself,” emphasizing the importance of knowing yourself in order for people to put their faith in your leadership. He encouraged the fellows to embrace their own unique leadership styles, and to “construct a leadership style that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses.”

After the session, fellows headed over to the Pasadena Conservatory of Music for the Leadership Institute Graduation.