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.

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.


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.


NAAAP’s Brand Guide and logos are available upon request.  Click here. 


30 Years of NAAAP


NAAAP is the
premier leadership organization
for Asian professionals


  • Cultivate and empower leaders for professional excellence
  • Connect accomplished professionals for mutual success
  • Engage and participate with the community-at-large
  • Inspire leaders to make a meaningful difference in government, education, business, and society


  • 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

The History of NAAAP: 30 Years And Growing

30 Years of NAAAP
What we now know as NAAAP, the National Association of Asian American Professionals, was founded 36 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 Asian Pacific Americans needed civil rights activism, so too did Asian Pacific Americans need to take their own professional destinies in their hands to overcome discrimination in the workplace and break the glass ceiling.

The organization at first was rather informal, providing networking and activity opportunities for the postcollegiate APA professionals and their families. Its commitment to being an organization for all Asian ethnicities, and for all professions, made it different from other groups in the city.

The organization’s concept was too good to stay bottled up for long, and new chapters sprung up in Boston in 1986 and Chicago in 1987. These three chapters formed the beginnings of NAAAP National. At first, NAAAP National merely consisted of informal networking and idea sharing amongst the local officers of the three chapters at an annual summer retreat, but the benefits of having a structured national entity became apparent.

NAAAP National’s 1991 retreat held in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was made more structured and accessible to the general membership. 1991 also saw the creation of the NAAAP National Board and election NAAAP’s first National President, Robert Tanzil. NAAAP National held its first “real” convention during the 1992 Labor Day weekend in Chicago with multiple tracks and programming, corporate sponsors and evening gala events. The Labor Day weekend timing of the convention was a tradition for several years. At the request of sponsors and career fair recruiters, the NAAAP National Convention finally changed to occur over a non-holiday weekend in 2000. The NAAAP National Convention site now rotates amongst the NAAAP chapters throughout North America.

The Houston chapter was founded in 1994. The Asian Management Business Association in Seattle joined NAAAP in 1992, and Club Asean in San Francisco joined in 1996. These chapters officially changed their names to NAAAP-Seattle and NAAAP San Francisco in 1999.

To make NAAAP available to a wider audience, beginning in 1997, NAAAP National encouraged the development of chapter start-ups (known as Ventures) throughout North America. A few recent successful ventures who have achieved chapter status include Atlanta (in 2002), North Carolina (in 2006) and Philadelphia (in 2006). Currently, there are more than 30 chapters across the United States, Canada, and China.

Particularly noteworthy is NAAAP-Toronto, founded in 1999, which became NAAAP’s first Canadian chapter in 2001, and was the site of the NAAAP National Convention in 2003. Both Americans and Canadians of Asian Pacific Islander heritage share similar professional needs and challenges, and the growth of NAAAP into Canada reflects this.

As NAAAP grew nationally, it needed to grow internally as well. The NAAAP National Administration team has grown from three positions in 1991 to 12 today with a National Board of more than 20 directors, who represent NAAAP chapters across North America. Realizing that greater collaboration and communication was needed, the National Board meets not only at the NAAAP National Convention, but also during the winter NAAAP National Leadership Academy (first held in Dallas in 2001), and keeps in touch via monthly conference calls.  During its 30 years of operation, NAAAP has remained an all volunteer organization, paying only for program-specific services and technology improvements.

NAAAP has had the foremost APA leaders pass through its halls over the years, including:

  • Jerry Yang, the current CEO of Yahoo
  • Indra Nooyi, current CEO of PepsiCo
  • Guy Kawasaki, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures and evangelist for Apple
  • U.S. Secretary of Labor, the Honorable Elaine L. Chao
  • U.S. Congressman, the Honorable Michael Honda
  • Jane Hyun, author of “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling”
  • Qui Duc Nguyen, host and producer of KQED Public Radio
  • Former Washington State Governor, Gary Locke
  • Maya Lin, architect of the U.S. Vietnam War Memorial

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. Aptly titled Leadership Never Sleeps, sponsors, speakers, and participants shared the round-the-clock, pioneering spirit of leadership. Agendas, photos, and other details of the Convention and Career Fair may be seen at

The 2013 NAAAP Convention was called the International Convention as we headed north to Toronto, where NAAAP has one of its largest chapters. The 2014 NAAAP Convention and Diversity Career Fair will be hosted by Southern California’s three chapters in Anaheim in August 2014.

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

Timeline of NAAAP


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


  • NAAAP Boston founded


  • NAAAP-Chicago founded
  • NAAAP National created to facilitate cooperation amongst the chapters
  • First National Convention – primarily for chapter officers


  • 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


  • 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


  • National Convention held in New York, NY


  • National Convention held in Seattle, WA


  • National Convention held in Los Angeles, CA
  • NAAAP-Houston became the fifth NAAAP chapter


  • National Convention held in Boston, MA
  • Club Asean (founded 1984) and M Society West joined as the San Francisco affiliates of NAAAP


  • National Convention held in Houston, TX
  • NAAAP startup groups designated as “Ventures”


  • National Convention held in Seattle, WA
  • Ventures formed in Washington, DC and Vancouver, BC


  • National Convention held in Chicago, IL
  • Club Asean became the official San Francisco chapter of NAAAP
  • na@aP Logo created in a national logo contest


  • National Convention held in Los Angeles, CA
  • First NAAAP Chapter and Venture Awards given


  • 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


  • 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


  • National Convention held in Toronto, Ontario Canada
  • National Leadership Retreat held in Los Angeles, CA
  • NAAAP National Advisory Board created


  • National Convention held in San Francisco, CA
  • National Leadership Retreat in Atlanta, GA
  • Venture formed in Cleveland, OH


  • National Convention held in Chicago, IL
  • National Leadership Retreat held in Raleigh/Durham, NC
  • Connecticut venture was formed


  • 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


  • National Convention held in Atlanta, GA – 25 Years of NAAAP!
  • National Leadership Retreat held in Philadelphia, PA
  • NAAAP National Career Center launched at
  • Venture formed in Cincinnati, OH


  • National Convention held in Los Angeles, CA
  • National Leadership Retreat held in Toronto, Ontario
  • New National Technology Platform launched


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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)


  • National Leadership Academy was held n 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.