Monday, April 26, 2010


Listening is that part of communication where the message is received and understood.  Many people would say that they listen, but do they really?  It's really different than hearing. Hearing is just when the sounds enter the ear canal and make vibrations.

I've been asked a few times about the best way to listen and I've come up with really one that answers the question. It's a simple test.

You're on a plane sitting comfortably on your way to someplace adventurous and then all of a sudden the pilot comes up on the intercom system to say, "Hello, everyone. I'm sorry to inform you that the we've lost both of our engines and that we'll be making an emergency landing in the next city."  You sit at alert anticipating the next few seconds and what's to come - Yes, instructions to save your life! 

Can you see the difference this would make on your professional life? Listening to every conversation like your life depended on it?

Here are a couple more examples. You're now at a sales meeting and your client states the conditions you and your company could stand to gain their business tripling your commissions.... Or your CIO states that your company has decided to reduce headcount and that you will be impacted ... Or your CFO states that your company has exceeded their financial goals and will be handing out bonuses.

In all of these situations and others, you're required to listen. I won't go into the details of the techniques of listening, but if your life depended on it, you'd be listening.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Friday, April 23, 2010

NAAAP Natl Webinar Series: NING

If you missed my webinar on social media, yesterday, I presented a walkthrough of NING, a new-age social networking tool, and showed how it helps businesses and associations set up a community for collaboration and to nurture relationships. I illustrated two examples, one of my clients (Vibrant Teams) and another for our own Women in NAAAP (WIN) program.

It was very exciting.  In preparing for the webinar, I had the opportunity of working with great people: Seattle Chapter members as well as the International Board Committee for the Women In NAAAP Program, most importantly with Judi Rhee Alloway, the National Chairwoman of WIN. Their support and their creative ideas led us to creating a NING network for the program as what’s evident to make the WIN program successful was to create a supportive network and moreso, using social media.

This network is in BETA though so we can gather feedback to make improvements to the network. Throughout this year, Women In NAAAP will continue to build this network for local and National participants in WIN to discuss topics related to women in the workforce, re-entering the workforce, community and family matters and much, much more.

To sum up, I'm super energized about the NING platform and the Women In NAAAP Program.  If you would like to help us test and grow this network, you're invited to sign up on NING and check it out.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle


 Join these social networks to join the conversation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NAAAP-ing amid the cherry blossoms

This past weekend (April 16-18), twenty NAAAP members swilled unlimited supplies of Seattle's Best Coffee, listened to Taeko drums and watched kites fly, and learned about the intricacies of Japanese culture and history as they volunteered at the Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival at the Seattle Center.

"I worked at the Information booth and helped with the stage and the kite games," said Cody Li. “This event sent a message to people who don't know a lot of Japanese culture: Learn & explore Japanese culture. We should do this more often."

Mayor Mike McGinn and Consul General of Japan Kiyokazu Ota spoke at the Opening ceremony. Bob Hasegawa, Harold Taniguchi, and Sharon Tomika Santos were also in attendance.

The Festival was manned by a corps of dedicated volunteers who brought homemade meals to keep each other energized throughout the three-day affair.

Community Service Chair David Eam said, “Everyone on the committee was so kind, helpful, and very humble. It was great working with them.”

On the last day of the Festival, many NAAAP members came out to visit their friends in volunteer-i-tude.

Tazue Sasaki, the chair of the Festival, acknowledged NAAAP’s service to the event.

"I would like to thank the volunteers, especially NAAAP,” said Sasaki. “You all came through, not just doing what you were asked to do, but going beyond the call of duty. We really appreciate that.”

To find out about NAAAP-Seattle volunteer opportunities and/or become a part of the community service committee, please email

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Where are they now? Li Tan, NAAAP Seattle President 2005 - 2006

Hello, my name is Li Tan. I served on the NAAAP Seattle Board of Directors for four years: two as treasurer and two as President. During my term as President, we hosted the NAAAP National Convention. The time and effort that we put into planning and fundraising for the convention was equivalent to a full time job, but it was worth it in the end. Our co-chairs, Joneil Custodio, Janet Ung and Charles Wu did a great job of taking charge and ensuring that the convention was a huge success. By now, most of us have currently moved on to other boards. This year, I became the President of the Asian Counseling and Referral Services board (ACRS) and am serving my second term on it, and Charles (full disclosure: he is my husband) is currently the President of the International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation. Without the experience and relationships that I had developed while being involved with NAAAP, I don’t think that I would have the opportunities that I have today.

One of the great challenges of being involved in NAAAP is working with people from many cultural backgrounds. When I refer to culture, I am not limiting myself to ethnicity but am including work experiences, types of jobs people hold, and where we grow up. I think that all of these things contribute to who we are and how we behave. In my profession, I work with many like-minded individuals, so it was nice to be in an environment with many different types of thinkers which is what NAAAP provided. This type of environment allowed me to further develop my leadership skills and appreciate how hard work and collaboration can significantly pay off. The best example that I can use for this is the convention. We had 3 co-chairs, while Asian on the outside, came with differing perspectives. I brought these three individuals together and discussed with them their interests and strengths and used this discussion to determine what types of responsibilities and subcommittees they would lead. With this structure, we were able to meet our fundraising goals and offer two days of relevant programming to our participants and sponsors. The feedback that I received from one of the co-chairs was that she appreciated that I did not micromanage and allowed her to take the lead for her subcommittee.

As a result of my experience with NAAAP, how did I end up on the ACRS Board? One of our convention volunteers was a former Development Director for ACRS who nominated me to serve on their Board. Without the opportunities to use and further develop my leadership skills outside of my profession and the relationships that I developed, I wouldn’t have had the exposure to the Asian and Asian American community and the honor of serving on another board. I highly encourage Asians and Asian Americans to become fully engaged with NAAAP. Don’t expect that you will magically be presented with opportunities when you join. As my story shows, these opportunities were presented to me through hard work and dedication.

Li Tan
NAAAP Seattle
President 2005 -2006

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Learning to become better leaders from one another

Sometimes the best kind of leadership training comes from sitting around with our peers, sharing our personal trials and tribulations, and learning how to become better leaders from one another.

Last Thursday (4/8) at the architecture firm Mithun, Professional Development Chair Hang Chen lead a roundtable discussion on lessons learned from leading and working with volunteer-based organizations, such as the South Puget Sound Chapter of the Boeing Asian American Professional Association (BAAPA) and NAAAP-Seattle.

With the roundtable format, the 20 some participants shared ideas on effective communication, personal branding, authenticity, inspiring others, and mentoring.

Ki Kim, past NAAAP-Seattle president, stressed the value of consistency in leading others while delivering results.

Lora Lee, vice president of The Fearey Group, discussed the role of accountability and following through on one's commitments.

She also appreciated the format of this professional development event.

“It was a great way to connect with other professionals and share our experiences in an informal setting,” said Lee. “I’m looking forward to attending other NAAAP-Seattle events in the future.”

For questions about this and future NAAAP-Seattle Professional Development activities, please contact Hang Chen at Coming up is a special “Speak to Persuade” with renown speaking coach Vanna Novak on April 23, 6-9pm.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Learn how to become a Van-tastic speaker

In a first of a series spotlighting female movers and shakers in the Asian American community, is Vanna Novak. She presents a session to NAAAP on speaking to persuade April 23 at 6 p.m. at The Seattle Times.

Novak is a veteran in the inspiration business. For the past 20 years, she has been coaching professionals from such powerhouse companies as Nordstrom, ESPN, Nintendo, Boeing, Fisher Communications, KOMO News, Lockheed Martin and the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Her main goal? To teach the art of buy-in within the first ten seconds.

Vice President-External Affairs and Seattle Times reporter Marian Liu interviewed Novak for NAAAP-Seattle.

Q: What tips do you have – give us a taste of what you’ll teach.
A: Think of three adjectives of how you want or need to be perceived in order to be successful. Another tip is what energy, one to ten, do you throw out there? One would be taking a nap. The second you start a presentation, what number are you targeting? Are you projecting an 8? Or coming in at a 5? You better have decided what energy you want when you walk up to the room.

Q: You work with a lot of Asian Americans, including teaching for EDI, the Executive Development Institute, why this community?
A: For so long, our voices have not been heard, or if they are heard, have been taken as seriously. I’m not saying it’s anybody’s fault, but I do believe that with Asians in particular, we do not do a good enough job of using our voices to speak out effectively. So much of it has to do with cultural values of not wanting to stand up and have spotlight on us, much less want to speak up. … The work is cut out for us to present and project ourselves, to take us out and away from existing stereotypes.

Q: What are you going over in the session?
A: I’ll ask for 5 volunteers, and have them speak for no more than a minute a piece, about things they already know about themselves. … Then, we’ll watch each person…allow them to give themselves feedback, before anybody else says anything. Their eyes will be opened and they will quickly identify what’s working and what they need to work on. … It adds more value with self discovery rather than have somebody else tell you what you need to work on to improve. … The vast majority of people are very honest about themselves. … Also, asking for volunteers gives them the opportunity to be more aware of how good they are in seizing opportunity the moment that it comes their way, how often they sit back and allow other people to take advantage of opportunities. The question is – is this a pattern in your life? Is it working to your advantage? Or if not, make a commitment to change it.

For more on Vanna Novak, go to -

Vanna Novak. “Speak to Persuade - When Being Informative is Not Enough!” 6 p.m. Friday, April 23. @ The Seattle Times, 1120 John St, Seattle. $20 members; $40 nonmembers.

Monday, April 5, 2010

16 members stronger at 2AM

The eastward bound winds of last Friday's signature NAAAP-Seattle monthly mixer brought along with it Eastern cuisine, this time at the Korean fusion restaurant 2AM in Bellevue.

And some northern bound trends in NAAAP's membership numbers: 16 new members signed up at the event.

Vanessa Diego, an agent at New York Life (in photo, far left), said she signed up to become a member because she "wanted to support NAAAP-Seattle events."

Although Diego has gone to NAAAP-Seattle professional development seminars, this was her first time at the organization's signature monthly mixer.

"I liked it a lot," Diego said. "I don't think I've been to such a good mixer, socializing with quality professionals."

Veteran NAAAP-Seattle social mixer attendee, Yen La, noted that there were "many new faces this time."

Busy bee NAAAP-Seattle president Gil Gido also made his first appearance of the year at a NAAAP-Seattle monthly mixer.

“It was great meeting NAAAP members and to hear what they’re up to," said Gido.

Come join us at our next monthly mixer on May 7, 6-8pm, Del Ray, 2332 1st Avenue, Seattle. The weatherman is calling for some north-west bound winds.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

APLDC book list (Part 2)

This is the second part of the Microsoft Asian Pacific Leadership Development Conference's book list. It was prepared by the Microsoft Library. Happy Reading and Leading.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Related Post: APLDC book list (Part 1) -