“Many companies, like Coca-Cola, have commonly rebranded their image through the years,” said Kristi Lee, Vice Chair of Marketing of the organization formerly known as NAAAP, at an open house on April 11, 2014. Business leaders from throughout the Valley gathered at Henkel’s Consumer Products Headquarters in Scottsdale to hear what the newly-crowned Asian Corporate and Entrepreneur Leaders (ACEL) had planned for the future.
ACEL Founder and Chair of the Board Jason Wong welcomed the crowd and described the history of the organization, which he founded in 2005 to inspire Asian leaders to make a difference in government, non-profits, business and society. His organization is one of most active business associations in the Valley, hosting 50 events per year.
Lee described various reasons for selecting the new name: to avoid confusion with the similar acronym NAACP; to generate new interest and excitement, especially among younger members, to select something “hip and cool;” to demonstrate it is inclusive of all Asian groups; and to give the impression of “acceleration,” an organization that is quickly moving into the future.
ACEL Vice President Steve Erickson described an exciting array of programs, including community events involving high school students, a new ASU ACEL Collegiate Chapter; and the continuing Toastmasters and mentorship programs. Hannellie Mendoza, the Vice President for events and operations discussed some of the many events that focus on performance, culture, professional development and community service. On the agenda are Linsanity movie screening in May, the Women’s Business Etiquette Series April 30, and Asian American Pacesetters Awards Ceremony on July 11.
ACEL is very appealing to sponsoring businesses, like Henkel, Crescent Crown, APS and others, who are seeking new minority workers, managers, contractors and vendors. Wong’s nine-year-old vision of Asian Americans becoming more visible and influential in all aspects of business, politics and the community, continues to morph and grow, and will play an increasingly major role in the future prosperity of the Phoenix metropolitan area.