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Civic Leadership USA President Andy Li, Elk Grove City Vice Mayor Darren Suen, City of Fremont Vice Mayor Teresa Keng, CalAsian Foundation Executive Director Lauren Oto, AAPI LIFT Program Director Rob Fong, Sacramento City Unified School Board Trustee Darrel Woo, SMUD Board of Director Gregg Fishman, and California State Assemblymember Mike Fong at the AAPI LIFT launch event.

Be part of our first cohort.

Overview

AAPI LIFT is a new leadership program that supports Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the private sector who are curious about entering public service as an elected official or serving on a local board or commission. This six-month training and mentorship program, delivered by AAPI political professionals, offers practical insights about setting policy, building coalitions, communicating your agenda, running winning campaigns, and then governing effectively. No matter if you are called to public service right now or in years to come, every participant will receive individualized support and advice to help them succeed, a peer network to lean upon, and a powerful set of skills they can use every day.

 

Key Benefits for Participants

  • Learn how you can help your business, family, and community thrive by getting involved in the political process
  • Get the inside track on how to get your voice heard and increase your influence
  • Demystify what it takes to run for elected office today, or how to land a position on a local board or commission
  • Learn directly from AAPI political pros and elected officials who have come from the private sector about their journey and lessons learned
  • Get 1:1 coaching and mentorship to help you achieve your goals
 


Applications are now open for our summer 2023 program.

The deadline to apply is Friday, June 2, 2023. 

Space is limited. Apply today!

 

Advisory Board

Howard Chan

City Manager, City of Sacramento

Thien Ho

District Attorney, County of Sacramento

Paul Lau

Chief Executive Officer & General Manager, SMUD

Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen Headshot

Stephanie Nguyen

Assemblymember, District 10, State of California

Bobbie Singh-Allen

Mayor, City of Elk Grove

Darren Suen

Councilmember, District 1, City of Elk Grove

Dave Tamayo

Board Director, Ward 6, SMUD

Mai Vang

Mayor Pro Tem, District 8, City of Sacramento

Program Information

Program Details

The AAPI LIFT program will take place in 3 regions within California: Northern California, Bay Area, and Southern California.

The 2023 program will take place in Sacramento, California.

  • Phase 1: Hold a series of Virtual Speaker Tours with special remarks from statewide elected leaders for applicants to learn more about this premier program
  • Phase 2: Host a 2-Day weekend conference with exploratory and informational workshops on pursing public service, running a winning campaign, building and promoting your brand among others led by experienced guest speakers
  • Phase 3: Evaluate participants’ public service goals and identify needs;  Match participants with the right mentor to achieve their individual goals; Mentors will meet 1:1 with participants providing guidance and resources (individual goals will impact the length of program commitment)

Program Fee

The cost to participate in this premier program is $299

All expenses for travel and lodging will be covered by the participant.

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for AAPI LIFT are self-starters, have strong fundamental core values, and have an interest improving in the community. They have a commitment to the greater good and a passion for working with stakeholders to address and find solutions to concerns and issues.

2-Day Weekend Conference

Conference Details

Dates: July 15 – 16, 2023

Location: The Westin Sacramento
4800 Riverside Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95822

Sample Workshop Topics

  • The Call to Public Service
  • The Best Way for You to Serve
  • Parallels of Running for Office/Serving in Office and Building a Business
  • Building a Personal Brand
  • Telling Your Story/Promoting Your Brand
  • Winning Votes and Winnings Customers
  • Fundraising

Overview of Conference Schedule

DAY 1

  • 9:00 am Registration
  • 9:30 am Welcoming Remarks
  • 9:45 am Workshops 1 & 2
  • 12:45pm Lunch + Workshop 3
  • 2:00 pm Workshops 4, 5 & 6
  • 6:00 pm Dinner Reception

DAY 2

  • 9:00 am Check-In
  • 9:30 am Workshop 5 & 6
  • 12:00 pm Wrap-Up

Conference Speakers

Rob Fong

Principal, RKF Consulting LLC

Former Councilmember, District 4, City of Sacramento

Lauren Oto

Executive Director, CalAsian Foundation

Ron Wong

President & CEO, Imprenta Communications Group

Former Chief Deputy Appointments Secretary, Office of the Governor, State of California

More speakers to be confirmed

Check back soon

Andrew Acosta

Founder & President, Acosta Consulting

Nancy Bui-Thompson

Board Director, Ward 2, SMUD

Howard Chan

City Manager, City of Sacramento

Rob Fong

Principal, RKF Consulting LLC

Former Councilmember, District 4, City of Sacramento

Thien Ho

District Attorney, County of Sacramento

Dave Tamayo

Board Director, Ward 6, SMUD

Paul Lau

Chief Executive Officer & General Manager, SMUD

Evan Low

Assemblymember, District 26, State of California

Fiona Ma

Treasurer, State of California

Doris Matsui

Congresswoman, District 7, United States

Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen Headshot

Stephanie Nguyen

Assemblymember, District 10, State of California

Lauren Oto

Executive Director, CalAsian Foundation

Mona Pasquil-Rogers

Director, California Public Policy, Meta

Former Lieutenant Governor, State of California

Richard Pan

Senior Public Advisor, AAPI Data

Former Senator, District 6, State of California

David Ryu

President & Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Leadership Forum

Former Councilmember, District 4, City of Los Angeles

Bobbie Singh-Allen

Mayor, City of Elk Grove

Derrell Steinberg

Mayor, City of Sacramento

Darren Suen

Councilmember, District 1, City of Elk Grove

Mai Vang

Mayor Pro Tem, District 8, City of Sacramento

Ron Wong

President & CEO, Imprenta Communications Group

Former Chief Deputy Appointments Secretary, Office of the Governor, State of California

AAPI LIFT Launch Event Recap

Program Details

The CalAsian Foundation hosted a launch event for their APPI LIFT program on December 5, 2022 at the Leland Stanford Mansion.

 

AAPI LIFT is a new civic leadership program targeting AAPIs in the private sector, including small business owners and entrepreneurs, who are interested in pursuing public service through boards, commissions or elected office.

 

The launch event was well attended by statewide elected representatives, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. Event host, Senator Dave Min, expressed the need for civic participation on all levels of government which was echoed by other speakers including California Assemblymember Mike Fong, Elk Grove City Vice Mayor Darren Suen, City of Fremont Vice Mayor Teresa Keng, Sacramento City Mayor Pro Tem Mai Vang, former Sacramento City Unified School District Trustee Darrel Woo, and program presenting sponsor Civic Leadership USA President Andy Li.

 

AAPI LIFT Launch Event Recap

The CalAsian Foundation hosted a launch event for their APPI LIFT program on December 5, 2022 at the Leland Stanford Mansion.

 

AAPI Lift is a new civic leadership program targeting AAPIs in the private sector, including small business owners and entrepreneurs, who are interested in pursuing public service through boards, commissions or elected office.

 

The launch event was well attended by statewide elected representatives, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. Event host, Senator Dave Min, expressed the need for civic participation on all levels of government which was echoed by other speakers including California Assemblymember Mike Fong, Elk Grove City Vice Mayor Darren Suen, City of Fremont Vice Mayor Teresa Keng, Sacramento City Mayor Pro Tem Mai Vang, former Sacramento City Unified School District Trustee Darrel Woo, and program presenting sponsor Civic Leadership USA President Andy Li.

 

In partnership with

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Sponsors

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Sacramento Grow Green:
Cannabis Social Equity Incubator Program

The CalAsian Foundation has created a business incubator program for those facing tremendous hurdles to entering the cannabis industry due to cultural and language barriers, arrest records, and limited resources. We work with local jurisdictions to provide training, mentorship, business plan development, and support needed to ensure that the emerging cannabis market is accessible to all, regardless of economic status, gender, race, or criminal history.

We currently operate programs in Sacramento and Los Angeles and are actively seeking more partner jurisdictions.

Program Details

Since March 2019, we have worked with the City of Sacramento’s Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program to provide business and job training to individuals in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Our Sacramento Grow Green program helps business owners and entrepreneurs start and expand operations through a five-phase approach.

  • Phase 1: 5-week training
  • Phase 2: One-on-one business assistance and consulting
  • Phase 3: Source property and begin business application process
  • Phase 4: Submit City and State applications and prepare for business launch

The job training program was piloted in 2020 with two cohorts that participated in a four-day “cannabis specialist” job training series. Participants were connected to job fairs with strategic partners and received job placement assistance. For program information, qualifications or to apply, visit SacramentoGrowGreen.com

Cannabis Talks

AAPIs are increasingly starting cannabis businesses and moving up the ranks in cannabis corporations. In addition to the stereotypes, perceptions, and culture barriers, many AAPIs must combat the cannabis stigma that is prominent within their own families and communities, and recently have had to address an increase in anti-AAPI discrimination.

​​Join the CalAsian Foundation and other leaders for a wide-reaching conversation on the AAPI experience in the cannabis industry. Hear stories from successful AAPI leaders and entrepreneurs, discuss the growing opportunities within the sector, the ongoing industry challenges, and how we can normalize cannabis within our own communities.

Past Topics

  • The Future of Fundraising, Investment, and Banking
  • The Impact of the Pandemic on California’s Cannabis Industry
  • Cannabis 2.0: Adapting to the New Normal
  • AAPIs in the Cannabis Industry

Check back for updates on upcoming Cannabis Talks.

Cannabis Talk Sponsors

Series & Technology

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Event

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Program

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Partner

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Class II | 2021 Program Roster

Brian Aguilar

Adam Allen

Position

Company Name Here

Monica Coleman

Giovanni Davis

Alexis Dumonchelle

Adriana Jones

Judah Joslyn

Carter Noguchi

Seth Patterson

Jayda Preyer

David Rangel

Rudy Rises Regalado

Christopher Reynaga-Brown

Trayzell White

The CalAsian Chamber Foundation has done a great job over the years in supporting and engaging the diverse cannabis stakeholders of California. Meadow and CalAsian have enjoyed a strong partnership in educating and assisting the diverse entrepreneurs through their roundtable series, Cannabis Talks. Cannabis Talks brings together operators, legislators, and regulators for important and educational conversations. The diversity in speakers provides a unique shared perspective helping everyone navigate the industry more effectively.
David Hua
Co-Founder/CEO, Meadow

City of Los Angeles’s Cannabis Opportunity
Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) Program

In 2021, we were part of a group selected to help the City of Los Angeles build and manage their Business Licensing and Compliance (BLC) Program. BLC is the educational and training arm of the City’s Department of Cannabis Regulation Social Equity Program, which aims to “decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities, and to address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs in those communities.”

Working with the city and our partners, we are building a program that will help aspiring cannabis businesses navigate the licensing process, understand cannabis business operations and compliance, acquire business savvy to discern predatory practices, and increase workforce development and job placement knowledge.

For more information on this program, contact Frank Louie, COO/Business Development, at flouie@calasiancc.org.

Cannabis External Study Missions

Each year, we lead a delegation of California leaders on a multi-day study mission to engage with and learn best practices from a city leading the industry. The trip is packed with tours, panel discussions, and meetings with key stakeholders.

CalAsian Foundation are staunch advocates for social equity and minority communities within California’s cannabis industry. It was an absolute pleasure working with them and engaging with their network on cannabis issues. I will always remember our trip to Canada with fond memories. It was such a valuable and informative experience. It was one of the highlights of my tenure with the Bureau.
Lori Ajax
Former Chief California Bureau of Cannabis Control

Additional Resources

Cannabis in AAPI History

Cannabis has an extensive history in AAPI cultures. Despite this, the cannabis industry is often stigmatized in AAPI communities, and misconceptions are spread. Our partners at Weedmaps shared information about the history of cannabis in AAPI cultures and what AAPI representation in the industry means.

AAPI Cannabis Collective

The AAPI Cannabis Collective is an AAPI-led education movement that strives for a more inclusive and accessible cannabis community among AAPI. 

While global acceptance of cannabis is growing globally, there is still a need to destigmatize, educate, and guide AAPI, especially older generations and non-English speakers, about the wellness benefits of cannabis. 

This initiative is just the start of a massive movement to mobilize and have our own community support a plant with boundless potential. Learn more below.

Cannabis Programs and Activities

For updates on our work in the cannabis industry, our programs and upcoming events, sign up for our Cannabis mailing list.