Come Celebrate AWLN's Fifth Anniversary!

A message to our members by Meow Yee, AWLN President

Dear AWLN Member,

July 21st marks five years to the day since the launch of Asian Women Leadership Network at the annual Working Mother Media's Best Companies for Multicultural Women National Conference in 2004.

In addition, that is the day this year that AWLN members, friends and WMM conference attendees can join Jane Hyun for a free interactive group session and open forum, "Managing Your Career in Turbulent Times: What Multicultural Women Need to Know," beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers (811 Seventh Avenue (at 53rd Street), New York, New York 10019-6002). Please remember that you may join us for AWLN's break-out session even though you are not attending the Working Mother Media conference. To follow will be a WMM networking opportunity at a complimentary cocktail reception.

Speaking of working women, I'd like to bring to your attention "Gender Discrimination Begins Much Earlier Than Exec Levels, Report Shows," a recent Workforce Week article by Jessica Marquez (http://www.workforce.com/section/00/article/26/42/17.php). The findings by Development Dimensions International underscore the importance of and need for accountability tied to companies' high-potential programs, for which there often is no standard procedure to identify candidates and for which many employers don't track female participation.

In light of AWLN's anniversary, I thought it fitting to highlight an interview of one of our founding sisters, Phoebe Eng, author of Warrior Lessons: An Asian American Woman's Journey Into Power, on visualizAsian.com, a Web site that showcases the accomplishments of Asian-American pioneers and leaders and to inspire and empower Asian Americans. Phoebe touches on her work in the early 1990s as A. Magazine's first publisher and her present role as director of Creative Counsel, which connects the arts and entertainment world to social-justice causes. You can listen to the entire (60 minutes and 44 seconds) event at http://visualizasian.com/media/20090623-phoebe-eng-replay.mp3.

Meow Yee
President, AWLN

Have you registered?  Don’t miss the 2009 Annual Working Mother Media Women of Color Conference & AWLN Break out session

July 21 & 22, 2009, in New York City

Logo for the 2009 Working Mother Media Conference

In the past six years we have highlighted the some of the most important issues in the workplace for multicultural women: the changing face of business, strategic alliances and unity, trust, authenticity. This year we are bringing together high-achieving, high potential Asian, African- American, Latina, Caucasian, and Native American women from across Corporate America.

While thought-provoking Keynotes, Interactive Workshops, Executive Panels and Roundtables reveal and discuss ways women take risks, and what strategic moves it takes to win big, the most powerful draw of this event is in the conversations between participants. Attendees get many opportunities to meet and discuss key issues around managing their careers with people like themselves. The focus is on how women and their companies can increase opportunities for growth.

Be there to explore the critical issues around taking risks and taking charge in the workplace and develop strategies to
> Compete and collaborate at senior levels in the organization
> Get noticed to get ahead
> Take calculated, intelligent risks
> Develop mentor and sponsor relationships
> Win critical assignments
> Be an influencer with or without authority
> Manage difficult people - up and down the organization
> Face conflict and gain courage

For more information about this event, visit the following link at Working Mother Media

Sheraton New York Hotel
811 Seventh Ave.
New York, New York

Empowerment and Leadership Lessons from Phoebe Eng

By Lily H. Li

Phoebe Eng, a founding sister and director of Asian Women Leadership Network, sat down on June 23rd for an interview on visualizAsian.com, a Web site founded by Erin Yoshimura and Gil Asakawa to showcase the accomplishments of Asian-American pioneers and leaders and to inspire and empower Asian-Americans. The hour-long conversation touched on Eng's work in the early 1990s as a corporate attorney, then as A. Magazine's first publisher and now in her present role as director of Creative Counsel, which connects the arts and entertainment world to social-justice causes.

Among the topics Eng addresses is how she came to conceptualize her acclaimed memoir, Warrior Lessons: An Asian American Woman's Journey Into Power. "I shared my personal stories of work and family so that other women might relate to them. It was a way to let Asian-American women know that they were not alone in their struggles, either personally and professionally. I believe that when we come together through our stories, it is potentially very empowering."

She explains the structure of Warrior Lessons, originally published in hardcover by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc., in 1999. "Each chapter focuses on a specific step to empowerment. It starts with the importance of exploring our histories and where we come from. Other chapters are about casting off expectations, and learning how to speak our minds effectively, and building personal and professional relationships that don't fall into or take advantage of stereotypes. Later chapters are about becoming a wise fighter, and of finding key mentors and taking risks. The last chapter is about how we work powerfully to create positive change in the world."

A Different Kind of Leader

The third guest and first author to appear on visualizAsian.com, Eng fields some questions posed by the listening audience. Annie, from Littleton, Colorado, asks, "What advice do you have for young Asian-American women who work in an environment of predominantly older male colleagues?"

Eng answers, "As women rise into middle and senior positions, they may often find themselves in the minority at the table. There are definitely personal dynamics at those 'power tables,' and stereotypes might work against you. They might hinder your ability to be heard or acknowledged adequately. Some of us may feel that we have to overcompensate for this. Maybe we force ourselves to speak more loudly or speak more than we feel is necessary. But I also feel that if we express our ideas with confidence, and in a way that moves the group conversation forward, that can be very powerful. Sometimes you can be soft-spoken yet firm and still command attention at the table. Soft-spoken doesn't mean weak. And loud people aren't always very effective leaders. Finding your own voice, and your volume level, is important."

"I'm finding more and more that I discount loudmouths now. There may be a lot of bluster, a lot of drama with such people. But I also find that there is room for the very focused, very thoughtful speaker at the table, especially when that leader shows that she's been listening and that she can synthesize what she hears in the room and come up with an idea that is originally her own. Different ways of leading are possible, and I'm witnessing a new generation of Asian-American women leaders who are showing us how it's done."

U.S. Supreme Court

Janice in Fremont, California, queries, "How can we as Asian-Americans get President [Barack] Obama's attention to see that an Asian-American jurist on the Supreme Court is an important issue now, not later? This world is not black and white, so how do you feel about this issue?"

Eng responds warmly, "I think fielding some names for High Court nominations is a wonderful idea. I love that President Obama has some Asian-Americans in his Cabinet and in his inner circle. It's great that Harold Koh [the dean of Yale Law School who is Obama's nominee for legal adviser at the U.S. Department of State] is in there. Many of my colleagues, Asian-American advocates who have spent their lives in the Beltway and in state legislatures, are also accepting invitations from President Obama's staff to give their input on important policy issues."

"The Obama administration did cast a very wide net to field nominations for senior positions. There are several national organizations, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Organization of Chinese Americans, APIAVote [Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote] and others that have the capacity to move Asian-American leaders into governmental and judicial pipelines. There are also now a number of South Asian organizations as well."

"In terms of Asian-American High Court judges, a couple of names do come to mind. But for me personally, I'm more interested in the ways that a judicial candidate interprets and applies the law, regardless of the candidate's cultural background. Now that Justice [Sonia Maria] Sotomayor [a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York] is being considered, I do think it would be quite amazing if an Asian-American justice could one day join her on the Supreme Court."

You can listen to the entire (60 minutes and 44 seconds) event at http://visualizasian.com/media/20090623-phoebe-eng-replay.mp3.