Challenges of Asian Global Leadership


Challenges of Asian Global Leadership



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The Center for Asian Business welcomed its first guest speaker of the fall semester on October 3rd as part of its Y.B. Min Lecture Series. Linda Akutagawa, president and CEO of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP), took the Hilton stage and presented on the topic "Challenges of Asian Global Leadership."

Akutagawa is responsible for LEAP’s strategic direction, operations, relationships and collaborations. A passionate social entrepreneur, she has dedicated herself, over her 19-year career, to inspiring Asian and Pacific Islanders to aspire to leadership roles in all sectors of society and serve as role models for diverse leadership.

In her lively presentation, Akutagawa discussed some of the communications challenges for Asian leaders, including language proficiency, remaining quiet during meetings, cultural differences and networking. She emphasized that behavior for one culture may not translate for another culture. For example, Americans assume that people are shy or uninterested if they don’t speak up during a meeting; however, it’s part of the Asian culture to wait for their turn to speak and not challenge authority.

Some of the “skills for success” Akutagawa identified in her presentation included 1) develop a global mindset, 2) build your expertise, 3) manage your visibility and 4) communicate. Above all, keep your values and continue to develop new skills.

A beneficiary of LEAP’s leadership training, Akutagawa first began as a volunteer at LEAP. She now speaks and presents globally on topics such as leadership, influence of Asian cultural values, employee resource groups, diversity, networking and branding to a range of audiences across multiple sectors. Prior to joining LEAP, she was the marketing manager for Japan & Orient Tours Inc., a travel operator specializing in Asia and the Pacific.

Akutagawa serves on the Board Directors of the Asian Women Leadership Network, Boat People SOS-California and Japanese American Community Services of Southern California Inc. (JACS), a provider of grants with a focus on community service, leadership development, cultural arts, and health and human services. Linda received her Bachelor of Science degree in international business with a minor in economics from California State University at Los Angeles.

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Challenges of Asian Global Leadership