My most recent blog posting was about one of my dreams coming through. Well, I’m extremely fortunate to have another dream come true. For the past 3 – 4 years, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to get the various Asian and Asian-American business communities working better together. Each individual group is doing well in their own right, but it’d be great to see how we can collectively work better together. A great working model is the Hispanic business community — which has collaborated well together — and shown the collective purchasing power and growing business opportunities within this powerful demographic.
Why is this important? Because of the changing demographics taking place in the US (notice all of the press about the current US Census Bureau). According to estimates, by 2040, the percentage of Hispanics in the US will grow from 15% to 30%, the percentage of African-Americans will grow from 9% to 12% and the percentage of Asians will grow from 6% to 9%. Thus, the importance of companies and brands to realize the increase need for multi-cultural marketing and business efforts.
Washington, DC is the most international city in the US and is the most powerful city in the US and in the world. But, yet, there hasn’t been an organization that has collectively woven the leaders from the various Asian business communities. So, in partnership with the Greater Washington DC Board of Trade – and their dynamic leader, Jim Dinegar – we just held our first-ever Asian Leadership Forum on Tuesday night at one of the premier hotels in DC, The Hay Adams.
There’s four of us that have been laying the groundwork — George Cabalu, Julian Ha, Wade Tetsuka and myself. This initial get-together this week was to invite 25 – 30 prominent Asian and Asian-American executives to see if this is a viable option to have the various Asian business groups interacting more with one another. There are dual benefits — to grown one’s own personal network as well as to create incremental business revenue for one’s respective firm.
I’m proud to say the evening’s event was a smashing success. A good number of DC’s most prominent Asian government officials, business executives and entrepreneurs were in attendance. We generated excellent discussion in the room and the flow of emails over the past day shows that we’re on to something good and right.
There is a lot of work ahead of us …. creating a brand and logo … growing the network … identifying the key issues to focus on. And, this will not just specifically for Asians. The intended membership base will be Asians, Asian-Americans and executives focused on developing and / or growing their business opportunities in Asia.
And, last but not least, we’re going to tie in a philanthropy angle so we can benefit a few of the terrific Asian community service organizations — such as Asian-American LEAD, Asian Pacific Islander American Scholar Fund, etc. If all goes well, we’ll create a signature black-tie gala event in 2011 – preferably in May which is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
More to come as we hold our next brainstorming session in the coming weeks.