Professionals Are Challenged to
Embrace the Unconventional and “Lead Boldly”

The Leadership Convention, presented Aug. 22-24 in Kansas City by NAAAP,
explores pushing the boundaries of what it means to lead.

[KANSAS CITY, Mo. June 7, 2019] – Leadership, once the sole province of the C-Suite, now takes many forms, titles and disciplines in today’s world of business. Kansas City will be the epicenter for a national discussion about ways to promote creative, diverse and effective leadership at the Leadership Convention, presented by the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP).

“The Leadership Convention welcomes those who aspire to push the boundaries of what it means to lead,” said Junann Lopez, NAAAP Kansas City president. “People from all professional and cultural backgrounds are welcome to connect with and be inspired by our event, which features unconventional leaders, creative visionaries, and bold disruptors from across the nation.”

“We view this convention as an opportunity for aspiring leaders to learn from people who lead in many ways and disciplines–from entertainers to CEOs to designers. People can be effective leaders from many paths, and we want to help people become the leader that others want to follow,” said John Ong, NAAAP KC Board Member. “Attendees will see we have so many things for them to experience here at the event in Kansas City. We are working to make them feel inspired, empowered and fired up.”

The NAAAP Kansas City chapter will co-host the 2019 Convention, ERG Summit, and Diversity Career Fair at the   located in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri.

The three-day event begins with an Employee Resource Groups (ERG) Summit on Thursday, Aug. 22, continuing with a Diversity Career Fair on Aug. 23rd and a stunning line-up of inspiring speakers and thought-provoking workshops Aug. 23rd and 24th. The Convention concludes with a spectacular Gala featuring the NAAAP 100 and Inspire Awards, presented by United Airlines, recognizing the most exemplary leaders in the Asian community on the evening of the   The event will also feature the inaugural presentation of the NAAAP Pride award.

The Diversity Career Fair is on Aug. 23rd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public regardless of NAAAP membership or cultural background. The Diversity Career Fair convenes more than 25 recruiters for diversity-minded Fortune 500 companies, federal and state agencies, and local organizations in one place to meet diverse talent with grand ambitions.

The Leadership Convention boasts an eclectic lineup of unconventional leaders, disruptors, and creative thinkers across a variety of industries, sharing their experiences and philosophy of leadership.

Fans of the hit Fox comedy-drama series Glee will thrill to a musical performance by actor, singer and songwriter Telly Leung. Leung is known for his work in musical theatre on Broadway and for his role as Wes, a member of the Dalton Academy Warblers on Glee. In 2015, Leung returned to Broadway in the musical Allegiance alongside co-stars George Takei and Lea Salonga. He recently played the titular character in the Broadway production of Aladdin.

There will also be an opportunity for a special meet and greet with Leung at the event.

The Convention keynote speaker is Simon Tam. Tam is the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world’s first and only all Asian-American dance rock band. Tam has been a keynote speaker, performer, and presenter at more than 1,200 events across four continents, including TEDx, SXSW, and Comic-Con. His work has been highlighted in more than 3,000 media features across 150 countries including The Daily Show with Trevor NoahNPRBBC, New York Times, and Rolling Stone. He was named a champion of diverse issues by the White House, and has received many accolades for his notable work. Simon is also the author of the upcoming memoir, “Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took On The Supreme Court.”

Other speakers include:

  • Jon Cook, Global CEO of VML&YR
  • Sabrina Wiewel, Senior VP & Chief Customer Officer of Hallmark Greetings
  • Katerina Jing, co-founder and CEO of Slant’d
  • Stella Guan, Award-winning visual designer and founder of Path Unbound
  • Suba Nadarajah, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Designer, World Traveler, and Photographer at VMLY&R
  • Candi Castleberry Singleton, VP of Diversity Partnership Strategy & Engagement at Twitter and Founder of the award-winning Dignity & Respect Campaign
  • Ginny Cheng, Recruiting Director, Zillow Group & Career Coach, Career Contessa

Numerous other speakers will present throughout the three-day event. For a complete listing, please visit

Organizers invite Kansas City area professionals of all cultural backgrounds to register now to attend, network and contribute.

“The Leadership Convention is a fantastic opportunity for Kansas City. We’re excited to welcome hundreds of individuals from across the country and quite possibly outside the United States who will come together for three days with their attention focused on the Convention, its sponsors, and of course, our dynamic Kansas City,” said Michael Gonzales of the NAAAP Board of Directors. “This group of conventioneers will represent large and small corporations from a wide array of occupations and industries at all levels of the professional spectrum.”

The Leadership Convention appreciates the generous support of numerous sponsors. Diamond Sponsor is Hallmark. UPS is the Platinum Sponsor. Gold Sponsors are Bank of America, United Airlines, VMLY&R, Boeing, and Walmart. Silver Sponsors are ADP, CBRE, the Central Intelligence Agency, The Coca Cola Company, BNSF, Lilly, Mutual of Omaha, Nielsen, and Spectrum.

Diversity Career Fair Sponsors are Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City, Garmin, JE Dunn, Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences and UMB.   LinkedIn and Social Media Outreach Sponsor is Gin Consulting Group.

For more information, including schedule and registration, visit

Employers interested in showcasing their diversity and inclusion recruitment efforts should contact the DCF Director for registration form and sponsorship opportunities (Email: CareerFair (at)



About NAAAP 
The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) is the premier leadership organization for Asian professionals in North America, with 30 chapters, several thousand active members, and a reach of more than 20,000 professionals.  Since 1982, NAAAP has operated as a nonprofit to inspire, develop, and connect leaders in all major industries and countless communities through professional development and community service.  For more information, please visit

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