Washington, D.C. (April 1, 2019)- The DC Chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP DC) held an essay contest asking it’s members, “What does NAAAP DC mean to you?”.
The winning essay went to Richard Gabrintin and Katie Apolinario Below are their essays.
NAAAP DC: A Path to Empowerment – Richard Gabrintin
According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Asian population grew 72% between 2000 and 2015—from 11.9 million to 20.4 million. Asian Americans are considered to be the fastest-growing population segment in America today, however, an apparent lag of representation in leadership persists. Former Silicon Valley executives Buck Gee and Denise Peck wrote in the Harvard Business Review about the professional gaps Asian Americans face. To me, The National Association for Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) DC is a viable solution to this crisis and an opportunity for me to develop the professional and personal skills I need to become the leader I envision myself becoming.
In the summer of 2018, I moved up to the Washington D.C. Metro Area after graduating from Old Dominion University. I interned in D.C. from June until August, when I accepted a full-time job offer for a Marketing position. A transplant from the Hampton Roads area, I felt comfortably surrounded by other Asian Americans. In the D.C. area, I’ve had to venture out and search for that sense of community. After months of establishing myself in my new environment and career, I embarked on this quest and stumbled upon NAAAP DC in a Google search for “Asian American Organizations in the DC Area.” On a whim, and without any prior connections to the organization, I made the decision to join.
In addition to the appeal of establishing a sense of community in my new home, NAAAP DC’s mission statement resonated with me. After many failures early on in my college career, I decided I would always challenge myself to reach my potential. Through hard work and determination, I’ve graduated magna cum laude and was able to study abroad in England. Asians and Pacific Islanders combined only comprise about 8.2% of study abroad students, according to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers. Now as a professional, I’m eager to see where I can go from here—to see what other odds I can defy and overcome. I believe with the invaluable learning, networking and mentoring opportunities NAAAP DC provides, I can go even further with a gained sense of empowerment and knowledge that I can also use to bring others along with me.
I officially joined NAAAP DC on February 18, 2019 and attended my first event at the Open Magic Mic Night on March 9. With only about a month into my membership, I’m excited to meet more people, gain more insight, and make positive contributions to the community. I’m excited to grow professionally and personally, as well as collaborate with other current and potential leaders in elevating and promoting a sense of cohesion within our community. With NAAAP DC, I believe I can accomplish my goals of dismantling the negative perceptions about Asian Americans in the discussion of leadership and in general discourse while empowering myself and others.
If I were to describe NAAAP DC in one word, it would be COMMUNITY. NAAAP DC is comprised of individuals who have come together to address the stereotypes that come from being of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage. NAAAP DC allows for a safe space, where we can discuss, explore, and break through the challenges that we face preventing us from being the best version of ourselves. Together, we go beyond these invisible boundaries that have limited our professional and personal growth in the past. NAAAP DC supports the local DC area by providing relevant workshops, fruitful networking events, and space to make genuine connections with each other.