Friday, February 26, 2010

APLDC book list (Part 1)

There's a book entitled, What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Evenmore Successful. Ever read it? Well, this book is about change. What interests me about this is it's title and how it applies to leadership skills. If you don't have the skills, then how do you get them? You get these new skills by continued learning.  Learn from mentors, learn from your experiences, and learn from books.  In this post I want to focus on the later part, learning from books.

Actually, I want to share a book list recommended by the Microsoft Library created last April for the 2009 Asian Pacific Leadership and Development Conference, a conference presented by the Microsoft Asian Professional Society (MAPS). Now I know almost a year has gone by and new books have been published since then, but it's a comprehensive list that I'm still going through and find the books still relevant. As soon as I'm completed with this list, I'll get to the newer books, perhaps a list created for the 2010 NAAAP National Convention happening later this year!  :)

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Related post: APLDC book list (Part 2) -

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Taking a L.E.A.P.

I first met JD in 2006 at a pre-conference workshop at Microsoft talking about being a 21st century leader. Then a few months later I attended his keynote at the inaugural Asian and Pacific Leadership Development Conference (APLDC). In 2007, I caught JD speaking at the National Association of Asian American Professionals Convention in Atlanta and then again at the kick-off of the Executive Development Institute 2008 Leadership development program in Bellevue, Washington. You're probably asking, "Why so many times? Right?" Well, JD speaks a lot (humorous). And on so many topics, especially when it comes to the Asian community. You can't find another person as passionate about the Asian Community and leadership as JD. In 2009 he deservedly received a NAAAP 100 award for being someone who exemplifies leadership, community engagement, and connects with professionals for mutual success.

For those of you who don't know J.D. Hokoyama, he is the President & CEO and a founding board member of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP). LEAP is a nationally renown company based in L.A. and is recognized by top companies as an expert on the Asian issues. For the last 28 years, J.D. has been committed to educating and inspiring the next generation of Asian leaders.

Now earlier this year, I saw JD speaking at the EDI Leadership Together Conference on taking risks and how early messages in Asian cultures can send messages that Asians aren't outspoken, don't take risks and aren't natural leaders. Here are a few of these messages: Respect your elders. Be polite. Do as you're told. Speak when spoken to. Work hard. Do any of these sound familiar?

JD says that being aware of these will help you learn to overcome those stereotypes. Of course, this won't apply to all people, but it's amazing how many in the session said that they were not viewed as outspoken. If you are one of these, take the first step and start talking in meetings, even if it is to say that you have a question. When it comes to who's gets remembered, it's the person talking.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Your Brand: Dressing for your next role

According to Vanna Novak, CEO of Speak to Persuade, "you only have 10 seconds to make that first impression and in a competitive situation, you will have even less time. Moreover, 55% of your impact as a communicator is attributed to your physical appearance as opposed to 7% in what you say. " Think about that the next time you present yourself at a meeting, conference or even at an interview. You might even ask yourself especially when you go to an interview, How do others perceive you? Well, with the help of my friends, Sonrose Festejo and Terry Jones, I was able to answer that question really easily. Both are individual stylists located at the Nordstrom flagship store in downtown Seattle.

                             Photomura Images Copyright 2010

My style is obviously business casual - very business casual. It's very rare for me to wear a jacket or suit and tie and I have to admit that after working with Sonrose and Terry, modifying my appearance was easy and stress-free. Just as some of you read this, I don't want to be prescriptive about what to wear as it'll depend on the work environment or situation you are in.  For me, as I go to fundraisers and client meetings, it's appropriate and even required to dress in a style that is more formal over business casual.

                                                           Photomura Images Copyright 2010

So my 3-hour appointment started with a needs assessment in addition to providing my shoe, shirt and pant sizes. Sonrose filled my dressing room with an assortment of styles ranging from business casual to interview styles readying me for my transformation. I took the experience as both educational and as an adventure. I didn't know what she would give me, but I was impressed.  There were suit jackets, slacks, shoes, mix and match ties, as well as a variety of easy care shirts. It took close to 2 hours to try on all of the items she presented.

                                                           Photomura Images Copyright 2010

When it came down to suits, Terry showed me the right length, fit and interchangability of the suit components with what Sonrose provided.  He distinguished for me fit over the size of a jacket, something I've always wondered about.  I actually brought in one of my jackets to get an insight on the size of it.  I thought it was too big and have never worn it for just that reason. Rather, after talking with Terry, it was just the right size, but the fit needed adjustment through alterations, like shortening the sleeves or taking in the waist.   Fit you can say is the personal touch that makes a jacket fit your frame.

                Photomura Images Copyright 2010

After all was said and done, I ended up with a brand that I felt be-fitting for my current and next roles. It was also a brand that I felt comfortable wearing as much as I do in business casual.

                                                           Photomura Images Copyright 2010

Thank you, Sonrose Festejo and Terry Jones of Nordstrom for your great service and a very special thanks to Julie Sotomura of Photomura Images for taking these fantastic photos, Rory Dufault for shoes and Lani for alterations.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Calling cards:
Sonrose Festejo Individualist and Special Occasion Department manager
Nordstrom Flagship | Downtown Seattle
500 Pine St. Suite 500, Seattle, Washington 98101

Terry Jones All star Men's Clothing
Nordstrom Flagship | Downtown Seattle
500 Pine St. Suite 500, Seattle, Washington 98101

Rory Dufault Men's Shoes
Nordstrom Flagship | Downtown Seattle
500 Pine St. Suite 500, Seattle, Washington 98101

For nationwide Nordstrom Individual Stylist locations visit their website:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

NAAAP 100: Recognizing Leaders

For more than a century, Asians have overcome obstacles to make significant contributions in both America and Canada. Their contributions have added tremendously to the success and prosperity of North America. NAAAP is a leadership development organization that provides a broad range of professional and educational services. It is only fitting then, that NAAAP recognizes leaders who exemplify our vision and mission. NAAAP is paying tribute to these leaders by creating a NAAAP 100 Recognition Program.

Nominations for the 2010 NAAAP 100 program are now open! Please download the nomination form and send the completed nominations to

Submit your nominations by March 15th

2010 NAAAP 100 Nomination Form

Give a day. Get a Disney day.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP). As a token of our appreciation, NAAAP Seattle is participating in the Give-a-day-get-a-Disney-Day program playing out around the country.

This program is offered for this year only and runs until all tickets are gone.

To participate, please sign in at the Disney Portal. Search for 98109 (zip) and "Education and Technology" (Category). Express your interest for any of the NAAAP volunteer committees click on the register button. We'll schedule a time for a time that works for both your schedule and the committees. You then perform your activity and we'll verify your participation. Disney will then send you a ticket for volunteering.

Not your typical Lunar New Year's Party

Black Tie meets chi pao in the Sheraton Hotel's Grand Ballroom for the Hong Kong Association of Washington (HKAW)'s 2010 Chinese Lunar New Year Gala on Saturday, February 20, starting at 5:30 pm.

NAAAP-Seattle board members will be there, rubbing shoulders with local dignitaries, listening to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, admiring Luly Yang designs in a fashion show, and networking with movers and shakers in Seattle's Asian American community. There's even a raffle featuring treasures from Tiffany & Co.

We want you to join us in the fun.

Tickets are $125 each, including a very lovely dinner and the knowledge that your contribution helps enrich and bring together Seattle's Asian American community. Proceeds go to Celebrate Asia! by Seattle Symphony

For more info, contact NAAAP-Seattle Board-at-Large and HKAW President Andy Yip at or 206-351-5957.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

First Mixer of 2010

NAAAP-Seattle opening mixer of 2010 signaled an eastward turn in direction, from the usual Belltown bars to Bellevue Grille.

Along with NAAAP-Seattle mixer regulars, there were many new faces and those who hadn't been to a NAAAP-Seattle event in awhile. By 8:15pm, 97 people had signed in and there was not an empty seat in the place.

I asked some Mixer attendees what they thought of this eastward turn. Comments include:

"I like that there's a lot of parking."

"Having it on the Eastside seems to attract a lot more Microsoft people."

"When it's Seattle, I can take the bus to the venue."

"I work and live on the Eastside, so I usually don't go to these events...but this time I did."

If you weren't able to attend, check out the photos snapped by Miles Matsumoto, NAAAP-Seattle's unofficial photographer, on NAAAP-Seattle Social Chair Jenny Xu's Facebook page:!/album.php?aid=146502&id=565614020

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Your values

I happened to be at ACRS at the EDI Leadership Conference where Chee Chew, an engineering director at Google gave the opening keynote. At Google, Chee leads a team of 300+ engineers. I never met Chee, but he came out in a blue sweater and jeans and gym shoes. "So what," you say? Well read on as what he wears says something about his values.

He started off with showing us pictures and asking us which we related to most.

Picture series A

Blue sky bridge vs a Sunset (Blue)

Timex vs Rolex (Functionality)

Hooded sweatshirt vs Tuxedo (Functionality)

Grand Piano vs Electronic Piano (Maintenance)

Washington DC vs Rome (New adventurous places)

Key: Chee's picks (Chee's Values)

I picked the sunset, rolex, hooded sweatshirt, grand piano, and Washington dc. I am sure other folks picked something else. As it relates to Chee, he chose the Blue sky, the timex , the hooded sweatshirt , the Electric piano , and then Rome .

He later described why he picked the pictures he chose, an indication of his values. He chose the Blue sky picture for blue; the timex for functionality; the hooded sweatshirt for functionality; the Electric piano for its easy maintenance, and then Rome for his love of adventurous places.

He then showed us another picture series and asked us to pick the pictures he would choose based on his given values. Which ones do you think he picked?

Picture series B

Red Acura vs Blue Honda (Blue)

ChoiceDek Recycled vs Wood Deck (Maintenance)

Knife vs utility knife (Functionality)

Gym Shoe vs Dress Shoe (Functionality)

Africa vs Seattle (New adventurous places)

Key: Chee's picks (Chee's Values)

I admit, I struggled a bit as some of my values got in the way. Knowing his values, it was a bit easier for me to pick the pictures that would he would pick.

Chee then dialogued about meetings he attended for his group and watched the decision making process. In the earlier part of his career as he grew into management roles, he admitted that he was more hands on yet the bigger his team got, this management style didn't work for his worklife balance as he spent a lot of time fixing issues and he had to be in the room to make decisions.  He realized that this process didn't scale as his team globally grew. He had to state his values to his team so that they could speak to what Chee would decide if he wasn't there.  (The exercise above demonstrates this.)

The lesson to be learned with Chee is to be open about your values and to be self aware of your management style meaning are you hands on or are you consistently sharing your values to help your team make decisions?


Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Additional Links:

○ Google, Inc.:

○ Executive Development Institute:

○ Asian Counseling and Referral Service:

Authentic Leadership by Bill George: