By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
Nine honorees were recognized Oct. 18 for their great accomplishments in the community as well as their abilities to break the glass ceiling. Master of ceremonies was founding partner of Lee & Lee, Nelson Lee. To kick off the celebration, Rosa Leung gave a graceful performance of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” The evening was an opportunity to showcase the Asian American community and diversity in our region.
Founder of Golden Sun Investment and Finance, Cathy Niu was a pioneer because she was among the first group of Chinese students who arrived in the United States in 1979 to study at the University of Washington when China opened its doors to the West.
After college, she went back to China and realized that many of the Chinese had little or no knowledge about financial management. She was determined to help ordinary people become wealthier and live better lives by starting Golden Sun Financial Education with her partner Troy of 30 years. She also has a vision to build a new Chinese center in Bellevue to promote culture, art and lifestyles between two countries.
Andy Hwang has risen the ranks to become a police chief, and he is currently the only Asian American police chief in Washington state.
“I never set out to be a police chief, I simply followed my passion; I wanted to be a police officer, and I absolutely love what I do,” he said.
Hwang wished his late parents could have experienced this with him because they had huge influences on him and his siblings. They were hard-working immigrants from South Korea who taught them the value of hard work and the importance of education.
Mary Knell has been the Chief Executive Officer of Wells Fargo’s Washington and Western Canada Commercial Banking teams since 2011. She grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington. She was grateful for her Wells Fargo family for giving her the opportunity to work with great people.
“Thank you for recognizing the power of inclusion; it is a key driver of successful collaboration because it brings together each of our strengths that result in rich and innovative ideas that are created from our differences,” Knell said.
Born in Minnesota, Ketu Shah is Washington state’s first Indian American judge who has the perfect blend of balance and reason, as described by a longtime friend.
As a King County judge, Shah handles 215,000 civil and criminal cases a year. He has practiced both civil and criminal law for 20 years. He volunteers extensively with pro bono clients such as API Chaya and the Eastside League of Assistance program. Shah explained that he would not be where he is today without the support of the Asian American community.
Deputy Mayor of the city of Seattle, Hyeok Kim started her career in her early 20’s working for Sharon Tomiko Santos in the House of Representatives.
She wanted to share the honor with a group of women leaders in Seattle who were there with her that night. She referred to them as a significant powerhouse group of city leaders.
“We’re like mini crisis managers, and I am delighted to be able to troubleshoot with incredible leadership in the city of Seattle,” Kim said.
Aaron Levine’s mother is a diehard Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers fan. Needless to say, Levine grew up watching sports, and even learned to read by reading the sports page of the Los Angeles Times.
Before Levine’s successful career as the primary sports anchor for Q13’s evening broadcasts, he almost quit the profession nine years ago. He described a championship softball game that lasted 24 innings that was located two hours away from where he was. His boss ended up using only a snippet of his nearly 6-hour long film, and he almost walked out and never came back.
But Levine thanks his parents for giving him strength to persevere over the years, and his general manager at Q13 for taking a chance on an enthusiastic kid
Dr. Vikram Jandhyala
University of Washington Provost Ana Mari Cauce described Dr. Vikram Jandhyala as “someone that you will be hearing a lot about in the next 5, 10, 15 years.”
With the UW having a large imprint in the region, Dr. Jandhyala is most excited about building an inclusive innovation culture as well as working with inspiring leaders at UW.
He explained how his parents were pioneers in their own way. They both came to the U.S. to obtain their Ph.D. degrees in physics and biophysics. The only reason he wanted to become a professor was because of his parents’ influence.
Bellevue city manager Brad Miyake has had a tremendous impact on everyone’s lives.
Miyake’s best friend, Rudy Caluza, described him as one of the few that will be remembered in a special way. He is a person of integrity, trustworthiness, and credibility, and he is committed to always doing right and always willing to help others in need.
“The journey has been a long journey, one filled with challenges and opportunities, but my family has been with me every step of the way,” he said.
Mary Yu is the first Asian American, Latina American, and LGBTQ member of the Washington State Supreme Court.
Yu once said that all you need to be a judge lies in the Wizard of Oz; you need a brain, heart, and courage.
Yu was very grateful and wanted to thank her family, brother and nephew who are most dear to her. She also gave Governor Jay Inslee a shout out for taking a chance on her to diversifying the justice system.
“Inslee had the courage to broaden what diversity really meant,” she said. (end)
Nina Huang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.