The Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation (APALF) hosted the first statewide convening of California’s Asian Pacific American (APA) elected and appointed officials in Half Moon Bay, CA, on July 31-August 1, 2014. This retreat served as a launch event for a new statewide network of APA public officials called CALNET (California Asian Leadership Network of Electeds).
More than 75 of the state’s leading APA elected leaders, including State Treasurer John Chiang, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, State Controller Betty Yee, Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, Al Muratsuchi, David Chiu, Phil Ting, and Mariko Yamada, Mayors, City Councilmembers, School Boardmembers, and State appointed officials, participated in the CALNET Leadership Retreat. Attendees came together from across the state to learn, share ideas, and discuss their vision for California and the APA community. There are currently over 220 APA elected officials in California.
The theme of the CALNET Leadership Retreat was “Our Seat at the Table – From Representation to Leadership.” The program included workshops and training sessions on how to become more effective and successful public officials. Presentation topics included changing APA demographics and implications, media & messaging, legal/ethics issues, serving in high-level appointed positions, speech training, and fundraising. Presenters included leaders in their respective fields, including elected officials, the state’s top political strategists, campaign/election lawyers, senior staff to Governor Jerry Brown, and fundraisers for the Speaker of the California State Assembly.
Retreat participants discussed the need for infrastructure to support the growing number of APA public officials serving in elected and appointed office throughout the state, much like what the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) has done for more than three decades in the Latino community.
State Controller John Chiang, the state’s highest ranking APA elected
official, challenged participants to come together and support qualified APA candidates. He highlighted the possibility that State Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee could succeed him as State Controller. Later that year, Betty was elected State Controller after running a tough but successful campaign. For the first time in California’s history, there are three statewide Constitutional officers of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.
The retreat also featured BlackBerry Chairman and CEO John Chen, a high profile business executive and recognized turn-around specialist, who discussed parallels between APA leadership and the glass ceiling in the public and private sectors. Other keynote speakers included San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and State Treasurer John Chiang.
APALF partnered with the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus, the League of California Cities API Caucus, Chinese-American Elected Officials, and the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce to host and convene the retreat.
The goal of CALNET is to serve as a network of APA elected and appointed
officials—a resource for APA public servants to help them succeed and lead. CALNET is a project of APALF, a 501c3 non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to helping prepare and better equip APA leaders for public service and civic involvement.
The 2015 CALNET Leadership Retreat will take place December 3-4 in Half Moon Bay, CA.