Civic Leadership Retreat 2018 – “FLY TOGETHER”
Civic Leadership Retreat 2018
Over 65 Asian American Leaders from all over the US gathered at the Ding Ding TV facilities in Santa Clara for a day and a half of a very intensive retreat.
The attendees included leaders and representatives from CLUSA, APAPA, 80-20 United, AAUC, UCA, FAPAC, NCAPA, CAYCLI, Ding Ding TV and many other AAPI organizations.
The participants arrived on Sunday December 2, 2018 at around noon for registration and a welcome lunch. The sessions officially began at 1:00 PM, led by Facilitators Ana-Marie Jones and Porcia Chen Sillverberg.
The CLUSA Founder and Chairman Sandy Chau declared that the “Theme” of this retreat is “FLY TOGETHER”. He explained that “People have always observed that migrating birds fly in a V formation and now scientists understand why”. An article in Science (1-15-2014) explained that these big-winged birds carefully position theirwingtips and sync their flapping to catch the updraft from the bird in front—thus saving energy during flight. It makes the flying more efficient as they follow their leaders to their common destination. Furthermore, when one leader gets tired, other leaders take turns to lead the group effort in a coordinated manner.
Sandy urged all present at the retreat to learn from the migrating birds. “If you want to fly fast for a short distance, fly alone; but if you want to reach your common destiny, you must learn to fly together”.
Each leader was given 3-5 minutes to introduce themselves and their organizations, explaining why and how they may fit into the theme of flying together. As there were many leaders, this process took all afternoon and well into the next morning.
After a pretty strenuous first day, the team gathered at the conference hotel Mariani’s Inn & Restaurant for some socializing, net-working and a feast of good wine, Surf and Turf (Alaska King Crab legs and Filet Magnon) and desert. The banquet was enjoyed by all and the group energy filled up to the rafters.
The participants re-gathered at the Ding Ding facilities on Monday morning and took on the tasks of “morning reflection and thoughts” and discussion of “best practice and common grounds”.
At noon, CLUSA introduced Andrew Yang – the Conference Key Note Speaker. Andrew is an entrepreneur and author running for POTUS as a Democrat in 2020. He founded Venture for America in 2011, a national entrepreneurship fellowship, and spent the last 6 years creating jobs in cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. When Andrew realized that new technology like artificial intelligence threatened to eliminate one-third of American jobs, he knew he had to do something. In The War on Normal People(2018), he explains the mounting crisis and makes the case for implementing a universal basic income: $1,000 a month for every American adult, no strings attached.
Andrew’s vision for the future, his ability to articulate that vision and to galvanize support drew much enthusiasm from the attendees. Most of all, they admire his “chutzpah” and his courage to stand up to lead and dream the impossible dream.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on planning for the next steps. On a massive calendar spanning 2019 and leading up to the 2020 Presidential Elections, each leader wrote down the next steps and plans for their own organizations. The facilitators will compile the information and send it to all the attendees. Thus, everyone will have the opportunity to work and coordinate with each other.
After a scrumptious dinner of Salmon and Beef Bourguignon, the farewell party began in earnest. Prize drawing and the inevitable Karaoke session took over the festivities. The retreat came to a crescendo with maestro Sandy Chau leading a resounding chorus of “Do You Hear the People Sing” from “Les Misérables”.
The retreat was a huge success and we want to thank the Facilitators Ana-Marie Jones and Porcia Chen Sillverberg, Diana Ding and the entire staff ofDing Ding TV and Anthony Ng, the CLUSA Executive Director for bringing the event together!