Asian Corporate Directors Summit
April 6–8, 2018 | Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco, CA

Asian Corporate Directors Summit


Welcome


Following a very successful inaugural Summit in 2017, Ascend Pinnacle, Ascend's corporate board initiative, is hosting the second Asian Corporate Directors Summit on April 6–8, 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, CA. This Summit is slated to be the largest national gathering of Asian American corporate board directors from across the country.

Various Fortune 500 board directors are scheduled to attend along with members of our sponsors and partners. Sponsored by Deloitte, the goal of this event is to establish and nurture the network of experienced Asian American corporate board members who have a common interest of increasing Asian Americans in boardrooms, increase the qualified Asian American senior executive pipeline, and elevate awareness of Asian American contributions and opportunities to major decision makers.

We will discuss how to drive change in the boardroom, what makes a high-performing board, emerging board issues and more. Speakers will include all genders, ethnicities, and age groups.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. If your company is interested, please contact summit@ascendleadership.org


News


Asian Director Group Kicks Off Board Mission

Article published on May 19, 2017
By Tony Chapelle, The Financial Times


An organization that helps Asians join U.S. corporate boards held its first national conference for Asian American directors.

The group, Ascend Pinnacle, convened the event last month in Palo Alto, which pulled in 82 sitting Asian directors from public companies. That was twice the number that organizers expected, according to co-founder and managing director S. K. Gupta. Hispanic, white and African American directors attended as well. “There was $1.3 trillion worth of board company market cap represented,” Gupta adds.

The Aspiring Directors Workshop is a one-day workshop for Asian American senior executives aspiring to join a public company or large private company board in the near future.

The two-day affair featured keynote speakers Meg Whitman, chairman of HP Inc.; Raj Gupta, chairman of Delphi Automotive; and John Rogers, director at McDonald’s. Rogers has put on an annual conference for black directors for more than a decade.

In addition, Wade Loo, a director at Guidance Software and a retired senior audit partner for KPMG’s Northern California region, hosted a workshop for 19 board aspirants. Their companies nominated all of them for potential board service.

The group discussed some cultural traits that can keep Asian executives from climbing the career ladder into the boardroom in the U.S.

“Pan-Asians have a tendency to defer to superiors, whereas when you move up the chain in corporate America they want you to speak your mind and they don’t mind conflict,” Loo says. “Ascend is trying to help Pan-Asians be successful in corporate America by understanding differences between their culture and American corporate culture.”

Ascend Pinnacle started in 2015 as an offshoot of Ascend, a 12-year-old membership group for Asian executives. Gupta and his colleagues use the term “Pan-Asian” since they reach out to U.S.- and foreign-born persons whose heritage ranges from all of Asia and the Pacific Rim.

The group is aiming to see the same proportion of Asians on boards as in the U.S. population. Rather than changing the total 5,600-member pool of Fortune 500 board directors by moving individuals of other backgrounds off boards, Ascend Pinnacle’s objective is to increase the number of Asians within the 400 directors that normally turn over every year.

“We pull and push,” explains Gupta, who is a former vice president of operations at Lockheed Martin. “Those who are already on boards pull and help get in persons. And we push to get those who want to get on there.”

Pan-Asians have a tendency to defer to superiors, whereas when you move up the chain in corporate America they want you to speak your mind and they don’t mind conflict.
Wade Loo Executive Advisor, Guidance Software