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Prominent Asian Americans Honored in Atlanta

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Atlanta, GA: Hundreds of people from across the country attended the 8th Annual WWAAC Awards (Who’s Who in Asian American Communities) Sept. 7 at the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

The day’s events began with three keynote luncheon speakers being presented with The WWAAC Alliance Foundation’s RICE Award (Respect, Inspiration, Commitment, Excellence).

The RICE honorees were John Duensing, Buick Field Manager; Geoff Bastow, UPS  President, International Customer Solutions; and His Excellency Ambassador Ajit Kumar of India, Consul General to the southeastern United States.

The WWAAC luncheon was sponsored by the new 2014 LaCrosse from Buick, Georgia Dental Implant Center & Gentle Dental Care, and UPS.

Following the luncheon, participants attended the 2013 WWAAC Conference, titled “Engage. Speak Up. Be Heard.

It featured a discussion titled Perspectives from Mid-Career Professionals, moderated by June Kao, Executive Director, East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU).  Panelists include Julie Xiong, Diversity Initiatives Manager, General Motors Company; Min Worley, Program Manager, Emory University Hospital Midtown; and Bonnie M. Youn, Partner / Attorney At Law, Youn Law Group.

The Conference also featured a conversation with two prominent Asian American leaders – Bill Imada, Chairman & Chief Collaboration Officer, IW Group, Inc., and JD Hokoyama, Former President and CEO, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP).

In between the other events, participants sampled food and viewed displays at the Asian Cultural Mini-Fest, Career Fair and Asian food sampling.

Throughout the day, a photographic exhibition dedicated to the “invisible minority” was on display.

The exhibition, “Capturing Culture,” offered a view of this country’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) populations. It chronicled the diversity of these groups as well as their common struggle for belonging, identity and visibility.

The evening events, complete with Hollywood-style glitz and glamour, included the presentation of the annual WWAAC Leaders & Legends Awards.

Here is information on the honorees:

Anthony (Tony) Quan has spent more than 30 years in leadership positions with the Coca-Cola Company in Asia and North America. He is currently the chief financial officer and director, business strategy, of the company’s Pacific group. Quan has a passion for helping to develop talent and promoting Asian-American business, and is active in several Asian American organizations. Of Chinese heritage, Quan was born in Trinidad and Tobago and immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 13. He lives in Atlanta.

Donna Fujimoto Cole is president and CEO of Cole Chemical. More than 30 years ago, at age 27, she invested $5,000 in savings to found that company. Last year, sales exceeded $78 million, with clients in all 50 states and many countries. Houston Woman Magazine named Cole one of that city’s 50 most influential women, and she has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Her company was listed in the Houston Business Journal as one of the city’s top 10 minority-owned businesses. Cole serves on many national and regional advisory boards and was a member of President George H. W. Bush’s Export Council.

Antonio M. Taguba is a retired major general who served 34 years in the U.S. Army in all parts of the world. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was responsible for the logistical and support services for more than 175,000 troops, with an operating budget of $19 billion.  Born in the Philippines and raised in Hawaii, Taguba began his military career immediately after his graduation from college.

Richard Lui has achieved success in journalism, business and in the Asian American community. He is currently a news anchor for MSNBC and a reporter for NBC’s weekend Today Show. Earlier, Lui was a news anchor at Channel NewsAsia and CNN Worldwide. In 2007, Lui became anchor of CNN’s “Morning Express,” making him the first Asian American male to anchor a daily national cable news show in the United States. Lui, born in California, initially pursued a business career. He patented the first bank-centric payment system, which enables consumers to pay for goods and services by connecting directly to their bank — bypassing credit card companies. Lui has also done a wide variety of volunteer work in Africa, Asia and the United States.

Yixuan (Matt) Ma, originally from Xinjiang, China, came to the United States when he was 8.  During his childhood, he was exposed to a wide range of cultures. His passion for the Asian/Pacific-Islander American community took off at the University of Michigan, where he is a student. He has served as the finance chair for the Generation APA culture show and performed in a dance troupe. Ma has also been involved with a mentorship program and has participated in workshops that focus on social justice issues.  After he graduates next year, Ma will pursue a master’s degree in accounting.

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