Chinese Americans honored at annual business gala

Updated: 2014-06-22 00:29

By AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA)

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Asian-American entrepreneurs and business executives were honored at the 13th annual Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Gala in New York, with half the honorees being of Chinese descent.

The Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC) annually honors 50 individuals who contribute to and develop the Asian-American business community, as well as for their work advancing diversity in the workplace for Asian Americans. Honorees are business owners and professionals who "represent a microcosm of the best of Asian American entrepreneurship and professionalism, with a pool of diverse and multi-talented individuals engaged in a wide range of business interests," the AABDC said.

There were 51 honorees at the gala in New York on Thursday evening, 25 of which were Chinese or Chinese American, the rest of the recipients were of various East and South Asian ethnicities. Norman Liu, president and CEO of GE Capital Aviation Services, was given the top honor — the Pinnacle Award — alongside Vikrant Sawhney, senior managing director and COO at private-equity firm Blackstone Group.

"I'm really honored. It's always great to get an award from your community and your peers. John's trying to build bridges to Asia with a focus on New York and also he's trying to recognize the Asian American business contributions here in the US, which is probably not a well-known story, but people are starting to notice it more and more," Liu told China Daily. "Given how many people are technical innovators and legal experts among Asian Americans, and given what's been going on in Asia, I think more and more will happen. More and more leadership will consist of Asian Americans."

Among the Chinese and Chinese American recipients are Li Chung Pei, architect and son of architect I.M. Pei, Michael Yang, senior vice-president at AIG Property Casualty, Valerie Wong, managing director of the office of the chairman at Morgan Stanley, and Stanley Chiu, vice-president of the investment management division at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Yang said that receiving recognition for his work after working in the United State for nearly three decades felt gratifying. AIG Property Casualty works with many Chinese companies to expand or bring their businesses to the US, he said.

Ning Yuan, chairman and president of China Construction America, nominated Yang for the award this year, having himself receive the Asian Entrepreneur Excellent Award in 2009 from AABDC.

"John is really active within the Asian American business community, and he's helped a lot of businesses get their starts," he said. "Asian business is becoming so important in the US, so an organization like AABDC is helping a lot of people within this field. I'm also doing my part by nominating one person for the award every year."

Wang said during opening remarks at the gala that Asian Americans are standing at the forefront of an "unprecedented" period in US-Asia business, with more and more Americans recognizing the importance of diversity in leadership.

"Corporations are now paying closer attention to the value that their Asian-Pacific Americans employees bring to their businesses. They are seeing the importance of having Asian-American employees participating in company life, not only through their fields of expertise, but also in corporate strategy and marketing," he said.

This year is AABDC's 20th anniversary, and Wang told China Daily previously that the organization will spend more effort to promote Asian-American involvement in corporations beyond mere integration, that Asian Americans should be included in leadership and decision-making opportunities on the boardroom level as well.

"Our next phase is really focusing on how to develop the leadership of Asian Americans, because I think 20 years ago, you're moving people into the mainstream, you're helping them to establish. Now, people are fairly well established," he said. "We wanted to move to assert Asian Americans to really form a group that can maybe speak for Asian Americans on issues, policies, and to have a more assertive role in what Asian Americans can play in terms of national economic life."

Chinese Americans honored at annual business gala

John Wang (left), president and founder of the Asian American Business Development Center, with Norman Liu, president and CEO at GE Capital Aviation Services, at the 13th annual Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Gala in New York on Thursday. The gala honors 50 Asian-American business entrepreneurs and executives every year for their contributions to the Asian-American business community. [Photo by AMY HE / CHINA DAILY]