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Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month: Honoring Diversity, Empowering Communities

Spring is officially here, bringing with it a vibrant celebration of culture, history, and contributions from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. At The Council, we embrace the richness of diversity in all its forms, recognizing the role AAPI individuals and businesses play in shaping our society and economy.

Celebrating Achievements

This month is a great time to celebrate and recognize the remarkable achievements of AAPI individuals. From groundbreaking advancements in science and technology to unparalleled success in business entrepreneurship and leadership, AAPI professionals continue to inspire and drive progress and prosperity in our communities.

Bill Imada is the chairman and chief connectivity officer for IW Group. He has worked with many well-known brands including American Airlines, Coca-Cola, General Motors, and McDonalds. His work supporting the AAPI community has been recognized by the White House earning him an appointment to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders by President Barack Obama. 

Ajay Bhatt was a computer architect who defined and developed many widely used technologies like the Universal Serial Bus (USB Devices), Platform Power Management architecture, and various chipset improvements and has pioneered the way a lot of our technology runs today. 

Larry Itliong emigrated from the Philippines to California when he was 15 and had dreams of becoming a lawyer. He later found his passion as a labor leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers. He convinced thousands of workers to go on strike against local vineyards to demand better pay and the right to form a union. 

Patsy Mink was the first Asian American woman elected to Congress and represented the state of Hawaii for 24 years. Through each of her many political campaigns, she stayed true to her morals on behalf of Asian Americans, women, and children—even when it put her career at risk. 

Empowering Communities

At The Council, we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where all businesses can thrive. We recognize the unique challenges faced by AAPI entrepreneurs and suppliers and remain dedicated to providing them with the support, resources, and opportunities they need to succeed.

Through our certification program, networking events, and educational initiatives, we aim to empower AAPI-owned businesses, helping them access new markets, forge valuable partnerships, and achieve sustainable growth.

If you are looking to get more involved with The Council this month, check out our news and events page and see what we have coming up. 

Rounded T. Clark Headshot


Terrence Clark

2023 AAPI Heritage Month

“Advancing Leaders Through Opportunities”

As May approaches, we reflect on the significance of the upcoming month, which marks the 45th anniversary of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Over the years, this month-long celebration has provided people across the country with valuable opportunities to learn about the rich history and diverse cultures of AAPI communities. It is also a time to honor and recognize the significant contributions that AAPI individuals have made to our country.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, AAPI businesses have continued to thrive and expand in the United States. In fact, they are currently the fastest-growing segment of small businesses in the country. As we see promising increases in their growth, we are proud to have a large number of AAPI businesses certified with us at The Council. With New York boasting the second-largest number of AAPI-owned businesses, we are committed to providing opportunities that foster even more growth and success for these businesses in the future.

This year’s theme for AAPI Heritage Month is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunities“, highlighting the importance of providing equal access and opportunities for AAPI leaders to succeed and make a positive impact in their communities. At The Council, we strive everyday to bring new opportunities to minority businesses and to invent new and different ways for our MBEs and corporate members to find success. Coming up this month, we have our first signature event of 2023, the Business Opportunity Exchange, which is an excellent opportunity to network and advance yourself—or your business—professionally. If you want to see what else we have coming up, visit our calendar to see what we have to offer!

Each year we at The Council become more committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Moreover, we recognize the important role that AAPI individuals and communities play in our society and are proud to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with our partners and stakeholders.

We encourage everyone to take part in the celebrations and learn more about the rich history and culture of the AAPI community. And remember to stay connected with us on social media to learn more about their culture and accomplishments. 

Happy AAPI Heritage Month 2023! Let us all work together to build a more inclusive and equitable society for all. 


Terrence Clark

AAPI Spotlight: Chih-Chin Sun


Chih-Chin Sun has extensive branding, marketing, and communications experience, having worked with a large roster of global brands. She has focused her career on positioning and promoting products and services for companies that are expanding internationally. Ms. Sun founded EMMA Worldwide in 1998 as a marketing and promotions house in New York City. She expanded the company based on client demand and is now at the helm of a full-service agency that offers an array of services including public relations and media buying.

Born in Taiwan and raised in the Netherlands, Chih-Chin brings a unique marketing perspective and insight to the companies she works with. Having spent significant amounts of time in major cities she brings to the table a cultural understanding necessary to successfully enter and thrive in any world market. Her career began in public relations at the Office of Government Information in Taiwan and continued in marketing and business development in the Netherlands.

Her knowledge of the North American market has proven an asset for Asian companies such as China Southern Airlines, whom Ms. Sun helped position in the United States.

What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to Chih-Chin?

She is an advocate for Asian businesses crossing borders, improving international relations, and growing economies. Chih-Chin honors Asian Americans and Pacific Islander history that dates back to the 1850s. She knows the contributions the AAPI community has made since and continues to make in this country. But, she also knows how much work still needs to be done to halt racial violence and irradicate hate.

Ms. Sun lends her expertise to organizations in her community. Wherever there’s a need, she contributes. She’s a known friend of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Hope Gala and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, among others. During the pandemic, Chih-Chin tapped into personal resources in China to help import almost one million pieces of PPE, bringing in needed supplies while helping lift the stigma related to China and Covid.

Ms. Sun holds Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations from the International College of Tunon in the Netherlands and studied International and Global Affairs at NYU.

AAPI Heritage Month Spotlight: Navin Persaud

As the Procurement Outreach Partner at  the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY) for over four years Navin Persaud has been responsible for procurement, supplier diversity and facilities management in the Corporate Real Estate department.

Navin’s primary role is to support the procurement function, which includes supplier diversity initiatives under the pillars of governance, internal and external outreach, and education. In this role, Navin serves as a trusted adviser to the various business areas to ensure that policy requirements are met and procurement opportunities are provided to diverse suppliers whenever possible. Navin also partners with external organizations to promote the FHLBNY Supplier Diversity Program. 

In addition to Navin’s role at FHLBNY, he has served as the President of the Institute for Supply Management in New York and as the Director of Supplier Diversity. Navin was awarded the “Champion for Industry” award by Thomas Net in 2020 for his work in Supplier Diversity.

Previously, Navin worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, also in the procurement department,  where he developed his passion for promoting Supplier Diversity. 

What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to Navin?

It is commendable to be able to celebrate AAPI Heritage month as part of the larger Supplier Diversity initiative. It is also equally important to be able to recognize the contributions of AAPI businesses and the positive impact on organizations and the American economy as a whole. 

AAPI businesses have been making great strides in bringing diverse perspectives, different cultures and business practices to organizations to enhance efficiency, promote cultural tolerance and acceptance, and to drive overall progress in advancing Supplier Diversity.

It is in this spirit that I would like to encourage AAPI businesses to continue to deliver on commitments, be innovative and to prove to organizations that Supplier Diversity is a true success, as Lamar Alexander puts it: “We are the only country in the world that has taken people from so many different backgrounds, which is a great achievement by itself, but an even greater achievement is that we have turned all of that variety and diversity into unity.”