Friday, January 29, 2010

Leaders Sell

Business transactions are an exchange of good or services from a seller to a buyer.When you are leader you conduct a similar transaction. What you are selling are your ideas and vision to everyone without discrimination. You do this every minute of everyday and in whatever weather or circumstance.Now in doing so, you are selling your value, your organization and ultimately your products and services.

Selling can be most difficult since I am probably like many of you - I wasn't taught to sell. I graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor's of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois @ Chicago. Now 20 years later and through various experiences - from being a lab tech, a project manger, and now an entrepreneur, I am here writing as President of one of the most active chapters of the National Association of Asian American Professionals to underscore the importance of selling. Of all of the leadership skills, I feel it as the most important skill.

I realize now that I have been selling all along and I didn't know it.I sold myself when I got a job. I sold my ideas when I pitched project ideas. And most of all I sold myself to get into this position

When I'm not leading NAAAP, I am being an entrepreneur. I launched Ulysses' Social Media Marketing Company to help new businesses grow using social media - Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In the short time I've been in business, I have 5 clients. 5 is a alot in the business I am in considering the time it took to build the relationships, understand their needs and to create solutions for them.

Turning it back to you, what have you sold?If you're a nurse or doctor, have you shared with someone on a healthcare policy or procedure? If you're a lawyer, have you shared testimony with a judge and jury? If you're an engineer, have you shared a new technology? If you're a history student, have you shared your perspective on history? Well, it's selling!

In closing, selling while challenging can be learned. Take stock in your accomplishments and don't fear selling if you're the type who like me who didn't like to sell. It just takes practice to get good. Below, I've included some resources on selling so you'll be a success.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Books on Selling:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Community Service: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Washington and Alaska

Congratulations to David Eam, NAAAP Seattle's Community Service Chair for organizing this event and the 15 volunteers who showed up to cook and serve dinner to 80 people living at the Seattle Ronald McDonald House, a charity foundation which supports seriously ill children and their families. It provides a "home-away-from-home" to help families through a difficult time. Housing is provided to the families of any seriously ill children who live more than 30 miles away while undergoing treatment at Seattle Children's hospital.

Moreover, Community service is an important compenent of NAAAP Seattle. We know that giving back to those in need is a core value of leaders. Doing so makes the community we live and work in be all the more livable, so I encourage you to volunteer at the next available opportunity as it's also a rewarding experience. NAAAP Seattle has volunteer opportunities throughout the year and leading companies will often match your time and donation because they know the value of giving back.

Here are some pictures of the event along with the food. We served an appetizer, three courses and a dessert, which I tried to coax the recipes for my own use but was denied. The reason? Because it was CONFIDENTIAL :)

Thanks again to everyone who donated their time and their skills. I hope to see everyone at our next event.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Celebrate Asia!

Last night I attended a reception for Celebrate Asia! - a benefit to raise awareness of the classical arts within the Seattle Asian Community. It was a preview of what the general public will be seeing tomorrow evening at Benaroya Hall.

Beautiful grand pianos backdropped the stage of the 1st floor historic Sherman Oaks Pianos downtown Seattle location where the reception took place. The first thing I did was to meet with Naomi Minegishi, the main organizer and thanked her for the invitation and organizing Celebrate Asia. As people gathered we were ushered to sit in our chairs and enjoy the music violinist, Chuanyun Li, and Master player of the Morin Khuur, Bo Li, played.

As they were playing, I sensed the warmth and love of classical music from everyone. At the end of the evening, I felt enriched by the experience and what I learned is that music is food-for-the-soul and Seattle is rich in music and Asian cultures. Go see it tomorrow if you can. I hear it's almost sold out :)

Figure 1. Carolyn Kuan (Conductor) and me.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Additional Links:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr Remembered

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For me, it is the day to remember what he stood for and what he did for America - he defined equality, diversity and inclusion.

As an Asian American growing up in the Midwest, I saw the difference between people of different races, but I didn't quite pin down what it was because I was so young. It was in 2001 when I first heard the word diversity at my workplace. It was a woman by the name of Claudette Whiting who came in and introduced it to my company, Microsoft, and started a conversation for diversity and inclusion so to value the differences we as employees were contributing to the workplace. Places I worked before were homogenous and focused only on having an amiable and workable environment. At the time, Microsoft was a company of 35,000 employees and over time and nearly a decade later, Microsoft grew to be a company of 90,000 employees worldwide. This growth impacted the way people worked and there was a need for understanding differences in people. Claudette did an amazing job and led the conversation and instituted new programs that in following years integrated into the culture of Microsoft and that grew in greater demand.

One event she introduced was the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Inclusion event to remember and reflect on Dr. King's work, beliefs and inspire us to contribute to the conversation. It was at this event, I got to meet and introduce the Honorable Gary Locke, now US Secretary of Commerce. It was also at this event that I shifted from sitting in the stands to participating in the conversation and sharing what I learned.

Figure 1. Honorable Gary Locke (US Secretary of Commerce), Maggie Carrido (Microsoft), and Gil Gido at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Inclusion event at Microsoft (2008).

Thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.; Claudette Whiting, and the Honorable Gary Locke for being leaders and role models for us all.


Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Note: The Seattle Times has a special website for remembering Martin Luther King Jr. Take some time to remember and visit their website.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I have been to a lot of networking events throughout my career and I have to say, "they work." For those who haven't been to a networking event, they are events organized for people to connect and find others. Networking events can occur at any time: in the morning, over lunch or in the evening during weekdays and weekends and they come in many forms: a breakfast, a lunch, in a hallway, a meeting or at a planned event. In addition, some networking events have themes - a social, dating, or professional.

The Seattle Chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals hold monthly professional networking events lasting about 2 hours, typically on the first Friday of every month all around Seattle. If you haven't yet attended one of them, I invite you to go and if you're willing, then try out these professional networking tips. We also provide social networking opportunities, but I'll focus on professional networking in this post.

Here are my professional networking tips.

Tip 1. Have a purpose and a plan when you go to a networking event.
When you go into a room filled with people you are going to talk to a lot of people: those you haven't met before, acquaintances, regular networkers, friends, hiring managers, recruits, customers and suppliers. Knowing this resource exists in one place is definitely an opportunity!

Where do you start? Prior to the event, plan your goals. Is it to meet a hiring manager? Volunteers for your project? Or new clients? Include in your plan a number, too. Are you going to talk to 50%, 80% or 100% of the people in the room? This up front planning will make the event worthwhile and will help you time each interaction. At the end of the networking event review your plan. Did you achieve your networking goal? If not, assess what you will do the next time.

Tip 2. Start a conversation with a question.
When you find someone to talk to. Look them in the eye, extend out your hand and with a smile say, "Hello. I'm (your name). May I come talk to you?" Or you can follow up and say, "It's nice to meet you. What is it you're here for?" You'd be surprised that once you inquire about the person you are talking to, they open up. This leads to more dialog and possibly the information you're looking for. Being prepared will only have you asking the right questions and if being asked, then having the right answers. In addition, you might have handy a 30-second introduction or elevator speech to break the ice.

Tip 3. Contribute to the conversation
This is the best part of networking. Hearing other people stories can be fun. Be engaged in the conversation and focused with the person you are having the conversation with. Ask questions about them. People are willing to share about themselves. Let them.

Conversations are a two way street. People are networking too. Be willing to give someone the information they need. When you share information, this makes you valuable and people will likely want to talk with you.

Tip 4. Come prepared with a calling card.
This is usually a business card with information to connect with you. These are exchanged between parties at a networking event. You might ask for their card or you may be asked for your card at the event, so have them with you. I find them particularly useful at remembering people because people often customize them. They also help remember people after the event as you might have collected a lot of them.

Tip 5. Time each interaction.Events aren't forever. You might have only an hour and you want to make the most out of your time, so as part of your plan, you have to break up the total time of the event with the number of people you want to meet. This means that you'll have to be standing so it's easy to move about. When you're sitting it's easy to get comfortable and sit in one spot. This is a pitfall, so watch out for it.

Tip 6. End a conversation graciouslyEven if you're having fun, if you're time's up, be disciplined and end the conversation. Be gracious and excuse yourself and intend to follow up. And then when you get home, follow up.
To end a conversation you can say this for example, "please excuse me. I have to move on and continue networking. I enjoyed our conversation and I will follow up with you by (date)."

Tip 7. Start over again with the next person.
Tip 8. After the event, follow up.
If you received business cards from your network, you can use a card scanner and upload them onto your computer. You will be able to manage your contacts and add them to you online social networks. If you receive a follow up with any of your contacts, then continue the conversation if it is appropriate to do so.

See you at our next networking event!

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Additional Information

Get Business cards:
Get a card scanner:
Give Your Elevator Speech a Lift! (Paperback):

Monday, January 11, 2010

Opportunity from one of our partners; State Farm Insurance

Become a State Farm Agent!

Explore the incredible entrepreneurial opportunity of becoming a State Farm agent the Renton/Burien area.

We offer our State Farm agents:
� One of the most recognized brand names in the industry.
� Unparalleled support in the insurance and financial services industry.
� A 6 to 9 month paid internship including licensing, product knowledge, and field development.
� A substantial start-up allowance.
� Worldwide travel incentives.
� An excellent benefit package.
� Office set-up assistance.
And much more
Attend the upcoming information session:
Date:   Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Time:   5:30 p.m.
Location:  To be announced RSVP required (Limited Seating)
We are looking for local entrepreneurs who have the ability to build long-term client relationships and the skills to lead and motivate a team!
If interested in attending, please R.S.V.P. today to:
Jose Olguin, Executive Recruiter
Cell: (206) 327-1625

We Make Leaders!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Connecting with people on LinkedIn

A few days ago I attended a LinkedIn seminar at the School of Visual Concepts in Downtown Seattle and learned a few things that I thought I'd pass onto you. It definitely was 2 hours of insightful uses delivered by Cindy Pain, an esteemed career coach at Lee Hecht Harrison.

LinkedIn, now having approximately 50 millions user profiles, is a great marketing tool for you and your business. LinkedIn has made it a business of connecting people - yes, connecting you with people in your professional background or industry. Now if you're shy, you might want to start slowly and allow for invitations, but jump right on in and invite people into your network. Don't worry about looking good or looking bad. A general rule of thumb I use is if people are on LinkedIn, they are more than likely open to an invitation to connecting. Most of all, be courteous, generous and respectful. It goes along way in building your relationship once you connect. If you're looking for new connections, as Cindy puts it, "link in or be left out. "

Ready to start a profile? Here's how.

Step 1. Establish your profile
LinkedIn allows you to quickly establish your profile. Click on their join today link at It couldn't be any easier. You will need a valid email address if you don't have one, you can get one at, or If you have a resume, you just copy and paste all of your information.

Step 2. Connect with people you know.
Once you've established your profile. You will want to start off by inviting everyone you know. These are your family, friends, clients, vendors, bosses, former bosses and organizational members to name just a few. As part of LinkedIn's free service, you are allowed 500 invitations. That's a lot when you think about it. When you make the invitation with people, offer them value in connecting with you. Is it your network? Is it your expertise? Can you recommend or introduce them to others? Tell them "what it is" in your invitation. Before long you will end up with lifelong friendships and business relationships. That is, if you nurture your network.

Step 3. Connect with people you don't know.
There are a few simple ways to connect with people you don't know on LinkedIn. These are people that are friends of your connections or friends of friends of your connections. Now to connect with people outside of your network with your connections, if it's appropriate and depending on your need, you can ask your friend if you can be introduced via Linkedin. Reciprocate with introducing other people, too.

People you don't know that are outside of your network could be the approximately 49.9 million other people on LinkedIn or those not already on LinkedIn. To get access to these people you're going to need to search for them either in person at a conference or at a meeting or through LinkedIn's search feature. Once you find the person(s) you want to connect to, make the invitation. They'll either say "yes" or "no". If it's yes, then start nurturing the relationship. If it's no, then don't beat yourself up. If you don't get a response, it's likely that person isn't using LinkedIn regularly or has a personal profile setting that prevents them from getting invitations.

This is just the beginning and I'll blog about networking in future posts. If you want or need more information, I've listed a few important links.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Additional information:

• LinkedIn New User information:
• 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn: or by Guy Kawasaki
• School of Visual Concepts:

LinkedIn is the respected trademark for the LinkedIn Corporation.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In Your Time

Mahatma Ghandi in his time led his country India to freedom. Benjamin Franklin in his time invented the lighting rod and was a founding father of the United States. And Barack Obama in his time became the first African American to earn the spot of the 44th President of the United States . These great leaders had something in common: purpose. What purpose guides you? What is it that you'll be known for? Is it to be the best leader, parent, athlete or manager?

Having a purpose guides you. It opens up actions to take and pulls you forward to be great. For example, being the best musician (your purpose) takes a lot of practice (actions you'd take). You'd also hire a teacher, buy a piano and music, enter recitals, study music, and play everyday. Similarly, becoming a leader (your purpose) takes great practice (actions you'd take). You'd also need to build skills in communication, look for opportunities, network, understand issues, listen for other's commitments and to their greatness. Most of all, you need to stand for your purpose.

Now where do you begin after you define your purpose? If it's to be a leader, there are a variety of organizations you can take part in to support your purpose. Take part in the National Association of Asian American Professionals Seattle Chapter. Take part in the Executive Development Institute as well as Landmark Education. And commit time and be open to the experience. I promise you will be in your time a leader with purpose.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Additional Links:

• National Association of Asian American Professionals Seattle Chapter -
• Executive Development Institute -
• Landmark Education -
• Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics -
• Asian Pacific Leadership Community Foundation -
• Ascend Pan-Asian Leaders -

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome to NAAAP Seattle

I want to thank all of you - past and present - who have joined the Seattle Chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals. As it stands, many have become leaders in our community while some are facing real challenges. The leadership team understands this and is excited to serve and make this a great community for all. We need your commitment though. We believe NAAAP is creating opportunities for the next generation of Asian Americans to live prosperous lives. Your participation and contributions are truly appreciated.

As the start of a new decade won't you create a new commitment for yourself and your family? The commitment of success. It's all right here within NAAAP Seattle. So I encourage you to come join our events and engage with other members.

As the leadership team enters the new year, this February we will be sending two representatives to the National Retreat in Connecticut. Here is where we get the opportunity to have an input to the national agenda. If you haven't already done so, it's not too late for you to provide feedback and continue to make this a valuable resource for the Asian community.

I started this blog so that you can see my perspective on leadership and get updates with the chapter. Please let me know how NAAAP can help you in meeting your needs as a member. See you all soon.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle