National Association of Asian American Professionals


The National Association of Asian American Professionals is a non-profit organization that cultivates and empowers Asian & Pacific Islander leaders through leadership development, professional networking, and community service.

WE BUILD LEADERS

As the largest and fastest growing API professionals association, NAAAP continues to provide its members with the tools and resources to further career advancement and to empower Asians and Pacific Islanders to become great leaders as well as valuable employees.

In order to achieve our goals, NAAAP offers a diverse range of professional development programs on the local and national level, engages its membership in community service and organizes professional networking events. These may range from a series of panels, workshops and seminars, and web-based sessions and networking.

OUR VISION

NAAAP is the premiere leadership organization for Asian professionals.

OUR MISSION 

NAAAP inspires, cultivates, and empowers Asian and Pacific Islander leaders  for professional excellence to make meaningful impact in our workplace and community.

OUR VALUES

Leadership: Develop, inspire, and connect leaders

Education: Excel at life-long learning

Accountability: Honor commitments to deliver value

Diversity: Embrace a culture of inclusion and innovation

OUR LOGO

OUR TEAM

NAAAP’s greatest asset is our members, volunteers, and leaders. Through our own leadership opportunities and programs, informal and formal mentoring, NAAAP has developed a family of leaders who support and challenge one another.

OUR LOGO

NAAAP’s logo represents the connectedness and inclusiveness of our members, chapters, and stakeholder levels.  The Red A in the center of the abbreviation of the organization’s name, for “Asian” in our association’s name, is both a focal point visually and figuratively.  Chapters adhere to this logo and select a central color to their liking.

The History of NAAAP

What we now know as NAAAP, the National Association of Asian American Professionals, was founded 38 years ago, in 1982, in New York City. At first, the organization was called the National Association of Young Asian Professionals, the name was soon changed to embrace a broader range of Asian Pacific American (APA) professionals and to better reflect the rapidly changing demographic.

The brutal murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 had acutely raised awareness of the importance of activism, not only in the Chinese American community, but amongst all Asian Pacific Americans. Just as we needed civil rights activism, we also need to take our own professional destinies in our hands to overcome discrimination in the workplace and break the glass ceiling. 

To make NAAAP available to a wider audience, beginning in 1997, NAAAP National encouraged the development of chapter start-ups. While some ventures grew slowly, other chapters expanded to 500 members. Today, there are more than 30 chapters across the United States, Canada, and China.

In 2012, NAAAP turned 30 years old. We celebrated our 30th anniversary with the NAAAP National Convention and Diversity Career Fair presented by Macy’s in the city of both organizations’ birthplace, New York City. 

In 2017, NAAAP hired its first full time staff to organize administrative and standards for the national NAAAP programs and work with chapter leaders to do the same in respective 30 chapters that are proficient or refining their operations.

NAAAP’s ongoing commitment to professional and leadership development will help NAAAP and its partners continue to succeed in years to come. These successes do not happen without the enthusiasm, innovation and hard work of NAAAP’s members, stalwart volunteer leaders, and sponsors.

Be a part of NAAAP’s future as an active member, sponsor or officer, and help write the next chapter of NAAAP’s history!

39 YEARS OF NAAAP

The History of NAAAP: Approaching our 40th anniversary

1983

Founded in New York City as “The National Association of Young Asian Professionals” – subsequently renamed as NAAAP, “National Association of Asian American Professionals”

1986

NAAAP Boston founded

1987

NAAAP-Chicago founded

NAAAP National created to facilitate cooperation amongst the chapters

First National Convention – primarily for chapter officers

1991

National Convention held in Cape Cod, MA

First convention opened to both officers and members

First NAAAP National Chair (now called President) and Officers elected

1992

National Convention held in Chicago, IL

Asian Management Business Association (founded 1979) joined as NAAAP-Seattle

First large scale convention with speakers and gala events

1995

National Convention held in Los Angeles, CA

NAAAP-Houston became the fifth NAAAP chapter

1996

National Convention held in Boston, MA

Club Asean (founded 1984) and M Society West joined as the San Francisco affiliates of NAAAP

1997

National Convention held in Houston, TX

NAAAP startup groups designated as “Ventures”

1998

National Convention held in Houston, TX

NAAAP startup groups designated as “Ventures”

1999

National Convention held in Chicago, IL

Club Asean became the official San Francisco chapter of NAAAP

NAAAP Logo created in a national logo contest

2000

National Convention held in Los Angeles, CA

First NAAAP Chapter and Venture Awards given

2001

National Convention held in New York, NY

First NAAAP Leadership Retreat held in Dallas, TX

NAAAP-Toronto (founded 2000) became our first Canadian chapter

Corporate sponsorship exceeded the $100,000 mark

Vision statement created

2002

National Convention held in Boston, MA

National Leadership Retreat held in Houston, TX

NAAAP-Atlanta (founded 1997) became a chapter

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN venture formed

NAAAP National Technology Platform (Backoffice) launched

2003

National Convention held in Toronto, Ontario Canada

National Leadership Retreat held in Los Angeles, CA

NAAAP National Advisory Board created

2004

National Convention held in San Francisco, CA

National Leadership Retreat in Atlanta, GA

Venture formed in Cleveland, OH

2005

National Convention held in Chicago, IL

National Leadership Retreat held in Raleigh/Durham, NC

Connecticut venture was formed

2006

National Convention held in Seattle, WA

National Leadership Retreat held in Atlanta, GA

NAAAP-North Carolina (founded 1998) and NAAAP-Philadelphia (founded 2004) became chapters
Ventures formed in Colorado, Columbus, OH, Phoenix, AZ and Tucson, AZ

Pittsburgh Asian American Young Professional Association (founded 1999) joined as NAAAP Pittsburgh venture

2007

National Convention held in Atlanta, GA – 25 Years of NAAAP!

National Leadership Retreat held in Philadelphia, PA

NAAAP National Career Center launched at https://www.naaap.org/careers

Venture formed in Cincinnati, OH

2008

National Convention held in Los Angeles, CA

National Leadership Retreat held in Toronto, Ontario

New National Technology Platform launched

2009

National Convention held in Denver, CO

National Leadership Retreat held in Nashville, TN

National Leadership Retreat to be held in Toronto, Ontario

New National Technology Platform launched

2010

National Convention held in San Francisco, CA

National Leadership Retreat held in Uncasville, CT hosted by NAAAP Connecticut venture

Kansas City and Charlotte Ventures were formed

Orange County became a chapter

2011

National Leadership Academy (formerly named Retreat) was held in San Diego, CA

National Convention held in Boston, MA

Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles became ventures.

Women in NAAAP (WIN) regional conferences were held in Chicago, Atlanta, and Seattle.

2012

30th Anniversary of NAAAP

National Leadership Academy was held in Phoenix, AZ hosted by the NAAAP-Phoenix Venture on Feb. 24-26

National Convention was held in New York, NY on Aug. 23-25

Women in NAAAP (WIN) regional conferences were held in Dallas-Forth Worth

Hawaii became an Associate Chapter (formerly named Venture)

2013

National Leadership Academy was held in Washington, D.C. hosted by the NAAAP-DC Chapter on Mar. 1-3.

National Convention was held in Toronto, Canada on Aug. 8-11

Successful Parents in NAAAP (SPIN) initiative is embraced by chapters

The only female NAAAP National President, Rose Olea, became Chair of the National Board

2014

National Leadership Academy was held in Dallas/Ft. Worth hosted by NAAAP’s new DFW chapter.

National Convention was held in Anaheim and hosted by NAAAP’s Orange County Chapter, Sep 4-6

NAAAP organized its inaugural Employee Resource Group Summit.

Washington State Governor and Ambassador to China Gary Locke served as keynote speaker at the Gala.

2015

National Leadership Academy was held in Cincinnati during a winter storm event.

National Convention was hosted by NAAAP’s Dallas/Ft. Worth Aug. 6-8, 2015 in the Hilton Anatole, theme was Resilient Leadership

NAAAP organized its second Employee Resource Group Summit.

2016

National Leadership Academy was held in Denver to celebrate NAAAP Colorado’s tenth anniversary.

NAAAP selected Las Vegas as a venue for its National Convention Aug. 16-18, 2016 in order to be a partner with APIA Vote and AAJA in the first Presidential Town Hall.

NAAAP Convention participants were addressed by White House hopefuls or their designees including Sean Reyes (R-then candidate for Utah Attorney General campaigning for Donald Trump,) Bill Clinton (D-former president campaigning for Hillary Rodham Clinton), Jill Stein (Green Party candidate), and Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party candidate).

NAAAP’s Employee Resource Group Summit grew in popularity while the Diversity Career Fair continued.

2017

National Leadership Academy and ERG Symposium were well executed with host, NAAAP Boston chapter.

National Convention was rebranded as Leadership Convention and held in Chicago in 2017.

NAAAP’s Employee Resource Group Summit was honored to host Chief Diversity Officers from Twitter, Nielsen, CNA Insurance, Hallmark, BNSF Railway, and U.S. Tennis Association.

2018

National Leadership Academy and ERG Symposium were held at the The Dolce Mansion and hosted by the San Jose Chapter. Theme was InnovAsian.

Leadership Convention, ERG Summit, and Diversity Career Fair will be held at the InterContinental Hotel Buckhead in Atlanta on Aug. 23-25, 2018. Call letters ATL matches the Convention theme “Arise To Lead | ATL”

The Gala (NAAAP 100 and Inspire Awards dinner) will be joined by Atlanta Chapter’s community fundraiser “Chopstix for Charity” on Aug. 25, as the finale event for the Convention.

NAAAP Pride is a national program to engage, empower, educate, and celebrate Asian professionals who are also LGBTQ+.  The program is open persons who self identify as LGBTQ+ and their partners and allies.

The Employee Resource Program launched a Virtual Training Program called “Advancing ERG Leadership” with the intention of enrolling 3 cohorts of 20-25 people each year.  Training is self-paced, on demand and involves up to 4 live discussions and a capstone project.

2019

The ERG Symposium and National Leadership Academy were held at the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Training Campus in Orlando. 

Bank of America supported NAAAP for its 10th year of Asian Leadership Network-NAAAP chapter collaboration for local community service.

The Unconventional Leader: Lead Boldy! was the theme of the 2019 Leadership Convention at the Westin, Kansas City, held August 22-24. Keynotes included  Simon Tam (musician/leader of the Slants rock band, Supreme Court defendant, and author), Sabrina Wiewel from sponsor Hallmark, Jon Cook from PR agency VMYL&R, and Victor Hwang from sponsor Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  The finale, the Gala, was held at the Arvest Theater with an unprecedented performance by Telly Leung, Broadway performer and gay rights advocate, who was presented with the first ever NAAAP Pride award.

2020

NAAAP held an ERG Symposium sponsored by Nielsen  as well as National Leadership Academy at the USTA national training campus on Feb. 21-23

Due to the COVID pandemic, NAAAP national and chapters shifted all of its leadership development programs online.  NAAAP’s Self-Care and Wellness program delivered up to 7 programs to a dozen chapters and multiple national webinars.

The 2020 summer was a tragic and volatile season filled with COVID hospitalizations and deaths, AAPI hate crimes, race-charged relations, complications with the decentennial Census, and touchless election campaigning.  NAAAP pivoted its in-person convention to its first national Virtual Leadership Convention called “SHIFT: Navigating the New Normal” in August.