Pasadena, CA – On Friday, August 16th, CAUSE held the Leadership Academy Graduation at the KPCC Crawford Family Forum to celebrate the 2019 Leadership Academy interns’ completion of the program.
The CAUSE Leadership Academy (CLA), is a nine-week paid internship program for college undergraduates that prepares the next generation to lead and represent the Asian Pacific American (APA) community.
Founded in 1991 as the California Asian American Student Internship Coalition (CASIC), CLA’s goal is to develop a pipeline of civic leadership for the APA community. As the fastest growing community in the United States, it is key that representation and leadership in the public, private, and non-profit sectors keep pace with our country’s changing demographics.
Through CLA, students are exposed to thought leaders, policymakers, and the issues of the day. Interns gain a deeper awareness of the civic issues facing the APA community in California. By the program’s end, students will have an understanding of how to engage in the politics of the day to affect the change they want to see in the world. Graduates of this program have gone on to run for political office and become leaders in politics, business, and nonprofits.
Read more about this year’s Leadership Academy interns here.
Diana Lam, 2017 Leadership Academy Alumnus, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the program and gave the audience an overview of the program. She shared how her time as a Leadership Academy intern impacted her growth. She shared, “CLA is important because it demonstrates the power of the APA community.”
Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of CAUSE, spoke on CAUSE’s vision to uplift and empower the APA community. She remarked, “At CAUSE, our North Star is building a stronger and more cohesive community. We show our leaders that when we keep our focus on doing what’s best or what’s right, success quickly follows.” Kim congratulated the graduating intern class, and assured them that they have the support of CAUSE and the community in their future endeavors.
As the keynote speaker, Snehal Desai, Producing Artistic Director at East West Players, implored the graduating interns to take the time to reflect and truly understand their own values and identities. He explained the qualities that make an effective leader, and emphasized that “it is the actions that you take that truly define who you are.” Snehal closed his remarks with words of encouragement for the graduating class and for the positive changes they’ll lead, stating, “We are the ones we are looking for.”
Next, Tammy Tran, Senior Manager for Community Engagement at Southern California Edison and CAUSE Board Member, spoke on SCE’s longtime support of the CAUSE Leadership Academy program. As a strong supporter of CLA, Tammy stressed the importance of networking and staying connected, and encouraged the interns to build a solid foundation as they pursue their personal and professional goals.
CAUSE Board Chair Charlie Woo remarked on how proud he was of the graduating class and congratulated the families that supported them during their experiences. He said to the interns, “Hopefully this experience gives you confidence, and helps you see your vision with more clarity and conviction.”
Afterwards, Leadership Academy interns Amanda Yuen, Shumin He, and Nina Long presented their summer group project on water conservation in the San Gabriel Valley. Over the summer, the interns worked with the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District to inform local businesses about water efficiency rebates offered by the district, encouraged them to take advantage of the programs, and developed strategies to support the SGVMWD in their efforts.
Next, CAUSE Manager of Leadership Development and this year’s intern supervisor, Audrey Soriano, gave an overview of the Leadership Academy program and its role in developing the leaders of tomorrow by providing them with the knowledge, access, and network to grow and thrive. She then shared her thoughts in working with this year’s Leadership Academy class. She expressed how discussions at each of the interns’ weekly civic leadership sessions conveyed to her that, “at the core of it all, [she] was able to see how today’s leaders are connectors.”
Representing the graduating 2019 Leadership Academy class, Angela Wang delivered the intern keynote. Angela highlighted the valuable experience she gained through working with her cohort, and the importance of continuing to challenge the societal barriers that marginalize APAs. She shared, “We all come from unique Asian Pacific American backgrounds, but we all came with a passion to be the change we wanted to see in the world instead of waiting for it to happen.”
Afterwards, each graduating intern was invited on to the stage to receive their certificate for completing the Leadership Academy program. We are so excited to see the kinds of leaders our 2019 Leadership Academy interns will become!
We’d like to thank Southwest Airlines for their continuous support of the Leadership Academy program, as well as Charlie Woo, Nelson Tan, California State University Fullerton, San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, and Southern California Edison for supporting this year’s class of interns!