Female Insights and Wisdom at Asian Pacific American Leadership Summit

The summit, sponsored in part by SCE, brought CEOs, businesswomen and entrepreneurs together to mentor the next generation of leaders

September 26, 2013 | By Caroline Aoyagi-Stom

For Tami Bui, the Center for Asian Pacific American Women is like family. Three years ago she took part in one of the Center’s leadership training programs. This year, she returned as a plenary speaker.

“The Center is really special because it looks at what they call ‘whole person leadership,’” said Bui, who is a principal advisor at Edison International. “For me, that means being a leader from the inside out —  from your heart to your mind. It also means embracing your true self and passions so that you are authentic.” 

Bui spoke at the recent Center for Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Summit sponsored in part by Southern California Edison (SCE) in Manhattan Beach. APA women from around the country took part in the well-attended gathering that featured CEOs, businesswomen and entrepreneurs.

For these women, knowledge and lessons learned from a successful career are things you pass on to the next generation.

“The connections that happen at this summit are truly amazing because that's what everyone's trying to do,” said Bui. “That's what makes the event such a blast, but what makes the relationships and the work that continues so meaningful.”

She noted that Edison’s sponsorship of the event shows how important it is for the company to develop a diverse pipeline of leaders.

“Programs like this remind Asian Pacific Islander women that we have great role models — whether it was hearing from the head women's basketball coach from Chapman or Mayor Polly Low of Rosemead — and that we have a critical voice in our communities,” said Bui.

Founded in 1996, the Center for Asian Pacific American Women is a national non-profit dedicated to enhancing and enriching leadership skills for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island leaders.

In addition to the various speakers, summit participants attended several workshops on a variety of topics that included: speaking powerfully, building a beloved community, financial strategies, the C Suite and multiracial identity.

For Anne Shen Smith, chairman and CEO of Southern California Gas Company and keynote speaker at the recent summit, the mantra “It’s not how much you know. It’s how fast you can learn new things” has served her well.

In a career spanning 36 years, Smith has taken on several positions in The Gas Company, including public affairs, regulatory affairs and operations. She recently announced her retirement from the utility.

As a longtime leader in the community and manager of several hundred employees, Smith noted the importance of surrounding yourself with a great team. She also emphasized the importance of authentic leadership.

“You have to lead with integrity,” she said. “You have to inspire those you are leading by being genuine and showing vulnerability.”

Topics: People