Asian American Business Development Center

Outstanding 50

Challenge

Asian American executives, employees and entrepreneurs struggle for recognition. Despite being known for hard-work, intelligence and commitment, the percentage of Asians who occupy C-suites or sit on boards remains disproportionally low and unheralded. Yet, there are a number of big brand names who are founded or led by Asian Americans. Without an awareness of any role models, the next generation of Asian Americans have little guidance or inspiration to aim high, depriving businesses of valuable leadership.

Actions

In June 2017, the AABDC hosted its 16th annual Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award Gala Dinner. Since 2001 the Outstanding 50 has been the most prestigious business award event to recognize the achievement and leadership of Asian American business executives, entrepreneurs and business owners in the United States. To date, over 700 Asian American individuals have been honored based on their outstanding accomplishments and leadership in their fields and contributions to the Asian American community.

In addition to the Outstanding 50 Awardees, the AABDC has also selected individuals to receive the highest honor, the Pinnacle Award. The Pinnacle Award recognizes those who have reached the top of their professional career and who are acknowledged as a leader in his or her field. Recipients of this award have included CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and business leaders from a wide range of industries who have truly stood out for their actions and accomplishments. In 2016, this included CEO Action member Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD.

What makes this event even more meaningful is that all of the senior executives who receive the award are nominated by their company, and that each year, this black-tie event provides an opportunity for the awardees to celebrate their success with their colleagues, peers and diversity and inclusion leaders. The dinner usually draws over 600 leading business, political and civic leaders, as well as media, family and friends. Hundreds of others hear of it through social media, media coverage, and word of mouth.

Outcomes

The Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Awards has resulted in a robust database of over 700 accomplished and influential business leaders from a variety of industries and from across the U.S. Because of their employer’s sponsorship and
support of the award, this has helped to raise the profile of these talented individuals within their workplaces and industries. The database has been a source for mentoring programs for other Asian Americans, as a resource of speakers for diversity events and as brand ambassadors for their own companies and careers. The award validates success and provides a boost to Asian Americans who are seeking senior leadership positions within their companies.

 

I think the Outstanding 50 fills a void that has been lingering for some time, it is hard to grow and be noticed without your accomplishments being brought to the attention of others, and the Outstanding 50 does just that. The Outstanding 50 honors awardees because of the hard work and resilience they have shown professionally and as individuals, and as a result serve to encourage the development of talent and leadership of future Asian American generations.

John Wang, Founder and President, AABDC

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