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Phoenix Asian-American professionals seek recognition

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As other minority groups, Asian-Americans have been the subject of stereotyping throughout US history. Cultural traditions of humbleness and teamwork, which should be valued, have been thought to be obstacles to business success in America. But, a local group—The Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders (ACEL)—seeks to dispel stereotypes, by nurturing and recognizing business leadership skills in Asian-Americans. ACEL will celebrate its rebranding on April 11, 2014, 5:30-7:30 PM at Henkel of America.

ACEL replaced the previous name: National Association of Asian American Professionals—Phoenix (NAAAP). The new name will extend a more inclusive invitation to entrepreneurs throughout the Valley, and eliminate some of the confusion surrounding the previous acronym.

“The current leadership team of ACEL is poised to garner and build upon the accomplishments from the past eight years under the NAAAP identity,” said Chairman of the Board Jason Wong. “As ACEL, the organization will continue to be the proving ground for Greater Phoenix Asian-American professionals, forging leaders of tomorrow through professional development, cultural awareness, community service and mentorship.”

The last Census showed that Asian-Americans comprise less than 4% of the Arizona population, and own 3.3% of Arizona businesses. Asian-American businesspeople have not received much visibility or recognition in the Valley. Wong, a dynamic young leader, founded the 501(c)(3) chapter in 2006. In 2012, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the 20-year-old national NAAAP, which has 34 US chapters. His goal has been to develop and support Asian-American leaders.

ACEL is one of the most active business associations in Phoenix. It offers professional development programs. These include a series of panels, workshops and seminars, e.g., monthly Toastmasters sessions, and the Women’s Business Etiquette on April 30.

ACEL is an important asset to Phoenix communities, engaging its membership in community activities, a mentorship program, cultural awareness and professional networking events. The Arizona Dragon Boat Festival at Tempe Town Lake on March 22-23, 2014, is a popular cultural awareness event.

ACEL is a diverse organization (20% of its membership is non-Asian), and all Valley entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend the Open House and Rebranding Party to meet ACEL members, and learn about its professional development opportunities, its 2014, and how to join. It is important to acknowledge, not just the contributions of Asian-American businesses to the history of Arizona, but to recognize and develop the potential of its entrepreneurs to help lead Phoenix in the future.