Class XVI Graduates from the Catalyst Leadership Program Class


Media Contact: Nikki Saechao

The CalAsian Foundation’s Catalyst Leadership Program held its prestigious graduation ceremony on Friday, May 12, 2023, at The Sutter Club. The event marked the culmination of a transformative nine-month journey for the 19 program participants, who met once a month for three hours under the guidance of Program Director Cassandra Pye and renowned guest speakers from various industries.

The ceremony was graced by the presence of esteemed guests, including CalAsian Foundation board members Rob Fong, Rosie Dauz, and Carol Zhang. Their attendance exemplified the foundation’s commitment to fostering the growth and development of emerging leaders within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Representatives from several sponsoring organizations, such as Siemens Mobility Inc., University of Phoenix, and SMUD, were in attendance to support their sponsored participants. Their presence reflected the collaborative effort between the foundation and its sponsors in empowering and nurturing the participants’ leadership journeys.

Mayra Valdivia, the Assistant Deputy Director of Highlands Community Charter and Technical Schools, delivered sponsor remarks, expressing gratitude for the community’s support and acknowledging the pivotal role that organizations like CalAsian Foundation play in cultivating future leaders. Valdivia’s words highlighted the dedication and hard work of the participants, as well as the significant contributions of the sponsors in shaping their growth and success.

Former California State Controller Betty Yee served as the distinguished guest speaker for the evening. Yee’s notable experience and wisdom resonated with the graduates as she shared valuable insights, inspiring them to embark on their future endeavors with confidence and determination.

During the ceremony, Program Director Cassandra Pye shared highlights from each session, underscoring the program’s commitment to providing a comprehensive learning experience. Pye’s reflections demonstrated the diversity of perspectives offered by guest speakers from various industries, fostering a well-rounded understanding of leadership.

As the presentation of certificates began, each graduate had the opportunity to share a few words, adding a personal touch to the ceremony. Their expressions of gratitude and reflections on their transformative journey exemplified the profound impact of the Catalyst Leadership Program on their personal and professional growth.

The CalAsian Foundation’s Catalyst Leadership Program graduation ceremony celebrated not only the achievements of the graduates but also the power of collaboration, mentorship, and community support. The event recognized the unwavering commitment of the foundation’s sponsors, including the Title Sponsor Highlands Community Charter and Technical Schools, Industry Sponsors Kaiser Permanente, Siemens Mobility Inc., and SMUD, and Scholar Sponsors Clutch, Golden 1 Credit Union, Intel Corporation, PG&E, Pride Industries, Sacramento State, SAFE Credit Union, UC Davis/UC Davis Health, University of Phoenix, and Girl Scouts Heart of Central California. Their support played a vital role in empowering the participants and fostering a diverse and inclusive leadership landscape within the AAPI community.

The graduation ceremony marked both an end and a new beginning for the participants, as they now join the ranks of Catalyst Leadership Program alumni, equipped with the skills and confidence to make a positive impact in their respective industries and communities.