The Southern California region of the Committee of 100 graduated its first class of mentees on July 9, successfully concluding a six-month mentorship by Committee of 100 members for 15 young professionals. This new program to cultivate leadership and dedication to community service was designed to help foster a new generation of Asian American leaders.
Mentees are under 40, come from a variety of professions and businesses, and are seeking to further their career as well as give back to the community. During the mentorship, they meet together with mentors both in group sessions and individually and volunteer for a Committee of 100 project.
Speaking at the July 9 session at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles were mentors Charlie Woo, John Chiang, Julie Fong, and Stewart Kwoh (pictured at left), with mentors Brian Sun, Herman Li, and Teddy Zee joining the discussion. California State Controller Chiang spoke about his pride as the son of immigrants from Taiwan and suggested to the mentees that the best work improves the lives of others.
Tony Lam, an independent filmmaker, freelance producer, and screenwriter, who directed, shot, and edited "VINCENT WHO?,” a documentary about the legacy of Vincent Chin, said that the mentorship provided a “remarkable level of access and personal connection. As an aspiring filmmaker, I know that one is incredibly lucky to get 5 minutes with a successful producer in Hollywood. What great fortune that I should have for my mentor, Julie Fong, a Grammy Award-winning producer, who has generously given hours of her time to communicate with me and help me directly with my career. In addition, I’ve also received advice and assistance from Teddy Zee, the producer of such mega-movie hits as “Hitch” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
Jeff Chao, Director of Finance, Participant Media, described his volunteer experience with the Committee : “I was quickly immersed in a C-100 project called Jointhewall.org with other mentees and continue to this day helping where I can with this project. In the future, I do hope to stay involved in growing the alumni base of the mentees and plan to devote more time in ensuring that this mentorship program succeeds by inspiring young APA professionals.”
Associate attorney Cyndie Chang of Duane Morris, LLC, was similarly motivated by the mentorship to become more involved: “I feel indebted to C-100, and I feel obligated to give back. I also feel that I have better idea on how to identify a plan for success in my career, my community, and my life. I also hope and expect to maintain consistent communication and contact with all of those who I have met. Not only do I feel privileged to have a “rockstar” mentor, but I also feel excited that I have developed a network of colleagues through this program. In fact, my mentee class has already started meeting together to network and just hang out.”
Prospective mentees for the next mentoring round, which begins in October, also attended this meeting, but applications are open to all who qualify until September 12. The Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) is managing the application process, with Committee members making the final selections. An important criterion is “a significant interest in C-100’s mission of fostering better U.S. and China relations, and involving Chinese Americans in various aspects of American society.” For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
APEX President Tuan Do and Director of Web Development Belle Hsu and C-100 Executive Director Angie Tang were also present at the July 9 forum.
Both the New York and Bay Area Regions will be organizing similar C-100 mentorship programs for young professionals in the coming months. On October 6, the New York region launches a new professional exchange program to bring emerging Asian American women leaders together with Committee of 100 members. The participants also will be invited to join in selected C-100 events such as conferences and regional activities.