2015 Member Spotlight

 

January – Vi Huynh

February – Stephen Ong

March – Debbie Yue

April – Andrew MooJin Park

May – Cheng-Han Yu

June – Joyce Pan Huang

October – Marissa Noydara

November – Maemie Chan

December – Salomon (Salo) Rodezno


January

Vi Huynh

Current occupation
Director of Operations, APT Center

Employer
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
13 years

When did you join MotivAsians?
Since 2001

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
I was fortunate to have found MotivAsians right after I moved to Cleveland. Through MotivAsians, I’ve been able to discover and learn about this wonderful city. I’ve met many passionate Clevelanders who share a similar vision for our community and have had the opportunity to work with many of them to make an impact on this city. I am most proud of the fact that MotivAsians was a founding organization of the Cleveland Asian Festival. Six years ago, this Festival did not exist. It took collaboration and commitment amongst multiple organizations to make it happen. It is also great to see new and returning MotivAsians members volunteering every year. Finally, the biggest positive impact MotivAsians has made on me is that I met my wife at a MotivAsians event!

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
MotivAsians will always play an important role in our community. It is a great organization for Asian professionals to connect and learn about the city and region. Most importantly, Cleveland needs more leaders, especially young leaders from the Asian community to engage and represent our community. I believe these leaders are in MotivAsians and I challenge them to step up and make a difference!

February

Stephen Ong

Stephen Ong - FebruaryCurrent occupation
Central Banker

Employer
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
I’ve lived in Northeastern Ohio most of my life, primarily in the Akron area. However, with the exception of traveling quite a bit early in my career and being in Cincinnati for about 5 years, I’ve worked in downtown Cleveland for the last 17 years.

When did you join MotivAsians?
I joined MotivAsians before we were even MotivAsians. I was part of the group of Asian professionals who got together about 14 years ago and believed we had both something to offer our community, as well as an obligation to give back to our community. We met on a weekly basis for several months, discussing our objectives and envisioning how we wanted to see our Asian population engaged in and contributing to our community, and making a positive difference. It was based on those discussions that MotivAsians was born.

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
From a professional standpoint, MotivAsians provided me with an opportunity to help start something at the grassroots level. I like to believe that I’ve learned how to contribute to developing a vision, and then to motivate others to help achieve that vision, purely on a volunteer basis – which is so much more difficult than having the managerial authority to direct people in a formal work environment. Of course, these things translate to much more effective leadership in a formal work environment.

From a personal standpoint, I feel so enriched by the personal relationships I’ve developed with other members of MotivAsians, particularly from those early days when we were establishing the organization and working so closely together. It was heartening to find others who shared similar backgrounds and upbringing as I had, and who also shared the same vision of the future for us. I still feel that they are family (you know who you are!) and can talk with them as if we were together just yesterday.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
It is so inspiring that MotivAsians is still so active and strong after so many years. I think that is a testament to the strong leadership we have in our Asian community here in Cleveland. It tells me that we care about both our community and about each other, and that is what encourages everyone to remain involved and active in MotivAsians.

My hope is that MotivAsians continues to provide opportunities to learn about Cleveland and become engaged in Cleveland so that our organization and members continue to make a positive difference in our community. The three strategies of providing professional development, community involvement, and networking opportunities are as relevant today as they were 14 years ago, and that is the value that MotivAsian offers – and I hope will continue to offer – to our members and to the Greater Cleveland community.

March

Debbie Yue

Current occupationDebbie Yue - March
Partner

Employer
Gallagher Sharp

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
I have lived in Cleveland for about 20 years.

When did you join MotivAsians?
Although I have been a MotivAsians member for years, I became involved with MotivAsians as a volunteer about 7-8 years ago.

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
Since I am not originally from the Cleveland area, MotivAsians has introduced me to the city through programs like Discover Cleveland!, which tours many of Cleveland’s businesses. MotivAsians has also given me the opportunity to get involved with the Asian community and to help with a number of professional development and community events. Through MotivAsians, I have also had the privilege of working with and becoming friends with a tremendous group of leaders within the Asian community. I am proud of the fact that MotivAsians was one of the founding organizations of the Cleveland Asian Festival, which brings the community together to celebrate the diverse Asian culture in our region and supports economic development within AsiaTown.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
I am looking forward to seeing MotivAsians thrive and continue to bring the Asian community together through fun and unique programs and events. I am also looking forward to seeing MotivAsians continue to develop community and civic leaders.

April

Andrew MooJin Park

Current occupation
Technology and Management Consultant

Employer
AXIA Consulting, Inc. / Weatherhead School of Management – Case Western Reserve University (MBA 2008)

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
I was born in Cleveland in 1974, but raised near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for most of my childhood. Although my parents moved back to Cleveland during my freshman year in college in 1992, I really didn’t start to live in Cleveland as an adult until January 1998. So as an adult, I have lived in Cleveland for 17 years.

When did you join MotivAsians?
I joined MotivAsians during its inaugural year. I don’t remember when that was, but probably close to 2001. I worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at the time and Stephen Ong, one of the founders of MotivAsians, worked at the Bank as a Vice President. He was the one who invited me to my first MotivAsians event and it may have been the first, official, kickoff event for MotivAsians at Sushi Rocks, formerly located on West 6th Street in downtown Cleveland.

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
MotivAsians created opportunities to interact with other young, driven, Asian-American professionals. These members provided great examples of the direction I should follow. Sometimes it is difficult to set expectations for yourself, until you see the lives that others live. I also was able to work with other non-profit groups through MotivAsians and this enabled me to collaborate with other young professionals in Cleveland.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
I would like to see MotivAsians grow to the point (if it hasn’t already) where the members are able to leverage the MotivAsians network for business and career benefit. I would also like to see some of the older members / alumni assist the younger members by mentoring or providing career advice.

If any of the members are considering an MBA program, I’d be happy to talk with them about choosing a program. If they chose Weatherhead, my MBA alma mater, I’d be thrilled, but in the end, I want them to select the MBA program that is the best fit for them. One last plug, Weatherhead is offering up to $30,000 for their evening / part-time MBA program. This creates a fantastic opportunity for a motivated and successful person to start a great MBA program and great value.

 

May

Cheng-Han Yu

Current occupation
Foreign Investment Consultant

Employer
Extro LLC/ Cleveland State University (MUPDD13)

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
I’m originally from Taiwan and came to Cleveland in 2010 for pursuing my master degree in urban planning, design and development. So, I’ve lived in Cleveland for almost 5 years, experiencing the downtown population growth, new construction/historical rehab pop up during these years. Also feel very lucky to see King James back to Cleveland for this NBA season.

When did you join MotivAsians?
I joined MotivAsians in 2013 through another active member, Sibley Strader’s invitation. We were all working for the City of Cleveland at that time.

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
MotivAsians organized many great events periodically to get people together and propagate the Asian culture. I have made a lot of friends through MotivAsians and got inspired from other members’ leadership and their achievements.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
I would like to see more and more people obtain happiness because of MotivAsians; have a lot of fun through MotivAsians, find your job through MotivAsians, establish your business through MotivAsians and maybe find your husband/wife through MotivAsians etc.!!!

 

June

Joyce Pan Huang

Current occupation
Urban Planning Masters Candidate – Cleveland State University
Graduate Research Assistant – Cleveland State University’s Center for Community Planning and Development
Asian American Liaison – Night Market CLE, St Clair Superior Development Corporation/Campus District/Small Organization Solutions
Cleveland Foundation Summer Intern – Cuyahoga Land Bank

Employer
Cleveland State University, Night Market CLE (St Clair Superior Development Corporation/Campus District/Small Organization Solutions), Cuyahoga Land Bank

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
8 years already! I grew up in Rochester, NY, attended college at the University of Michigan, then moved to Cleveland after graduating to work at Case Western Reserve University with InterVarsity  Christian Fellowship. At first, I had a hard time adjusting to life here in Cleveland, but I found an amazing community that helped me discover the hidden gems in the city. I also had to go through my  own personal transformation and attitude changes. Now, I’m looking forward to being a part of the strong movement for the city to grow, thanks to the excitement and collaboration of many  organizations!

When did you join MotivAsians?
I started attending events when I first arrived in Cleveland, but I officially joined the MotivAsians group in 2010!

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
I enjoy the opportunity to meet other Asian Americans here in Northeast Ohio. I also like that MotivAsians is interested in helping us develop our networking (DiscoverCLE) and leadership skills (public speaking series). Being bi-cultural–Asian and American–means that this community has unique leadership strengths to offer the city, and it’s important to connect with and empower those with a similar experience and background.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
I would love to see more people in the AAPI community take leadership not only in their own careers and organizations, but in civic leadership opportunities. It’s important to show Cleveland the beauty of Asian American culture as well as the strength of our voice. My hope is that at the end of our time with MotivAsians, whenever that may be, that each member can say that they’ve contributed something positive to the growth of our city–big or small.
In addition, my hope is that we won’t stay silent when it comes to issues of equity and justice. One thing that would move Cleveland backwards is if we don’t address the inequalities here and continue the cycle of history.

… …. ..SUMMER BREAK… … …

October

Marissa Noydara

Current occupation
Senior Administrative Assistant to the VP

Employer
Oswald Companies

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
I have lived in Cleveland my entire life, born and raised right here in our great city.

When did you join MotivAsians?
I joined MotivAsians in February 2015.

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
MotivAsians has impacted my life in so many ways! Not only have I met so many people that have now become my personal friends, MotivAsians has given me a great sense of confidence in my professional and personal life. I carry a proud heart for the city of Cleveland, its people, the diverse community and everything else the city has to offer. All thanks to MotivAsians and the outreach this organization does.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
What I hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future is to do more networking events, also more social events that are more active base. I always thought it would be a neat idea to gather members/friends and do a weekend, white water rafting trip or even something artistic such as Paint Nite. Activities that will not only give you a once in a life time experience, but gives you the chance to create lasting relationships and friendships you can take away from it all.

November

Maemie Chan

Current occupation
Dentist/Business owner

Current Employer
Maemie Chan & Paul Priesand General Dentistry

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
I was born and raised in Chicago and I moved to Cleveland in 2005 to attend Case Western Reserve for dental school—and I am happy to say I’m now celebrating my 10th year here!

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
Since I’ve been here, the city has really grown on me. Most of all, I love the incredible food scene and living in the vibrant and booming warehouse district. Not that I get to enjoy either as much as I’d like, now that I am creating my own dental practice! One of my favorite parts about MotivAsians is that I have a group of friends who are not only young professionals, but are also transplants like me, and understand what it’s like to be in a new home.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
I look forward to meeting more people in the MotivAsians community and getting more tips on the best Cleveland restaurants!

Anything else you would like to add?
Yes. I will be offering MotivAsian members a complimentary Colgate spinbrush and10% off services not covered by dental insurance.
Come visit me at my office or at the next MotivAsian event!

December

Salomon (Salo) Rodezno

Current occupation
Assistant Director of the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion

Current Employer
John Carroll University

How long have you lived in Cleveland?
I have lived in Cleveland since 2011. I am originally from Los Angeles, CA and have lived in San Diego, CA and Burlington, VT.

When did you join MotivAsians?
I joined MotivAsians during the summer of 2012. I signed up for the organization at the Annual Asian Festival, I was particularly interested in participating in the dragon boat team.

How has MotivAsians impacted your life in a positive way?
There has been several positive impacts from participating in the MotivAsians organization, specifically dragon boat. I met so many wonderful people during weekly practices. Attending practice also helped me stay in shape and motivated me to be more health conscious. I do yoga twice a week to help with my paddling reaches, endurance, strength, and especially breathing. Dragon boat competitions are about endurance and team work; however, you can really hurt yourself or negatively impact the team if you are not being mindful of your breathing. I have been part of the dragon boat team for three years. I was taught how to pace for our team from two wonderful pacers in 2012 and 2013 and this year I was one of the pacers for our team. Earlier this year, I was trained for becoming a steerer, working on my confidence and ability to call commands to keep the team safe and positively motivated. Seeing this growth in me has been wonderful and unexpected…I’m still growing so thank you for the opportunity.

What do you hope to see for the MotivAsians community in the future?
I hope to see more paddlers in the water with us! I want us to be a premier team in Cleveland and bring more attention to the hard work we engage in weekly. Come check out one of our practices on Sundays at 2pm. Rain or shine!

Read more … Member Spotlight
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