DEARBORN, MI – On November 9, 2019, the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) Detroit Chapter held its annual Signature Event – Community Conversations, with two separate, thematically related sessions. With an emphasis on honing individual strengths and effectively articulating them to the world, NAAAP Detroit’s events featured the powerful personal testimony of Simon Tam. This was followed with interactive workshops led by an exemplary panel from GiANT Worldwide with three motivational speakers. They were Abraham Gin, CEO of Gin Consulting Group and Senior Consultant of GiANT Worldwide; Jim Lee, Senior Consultant of GiANT Worldwide; and Allison Choi, HR Consultant of Movember Foundation and Ambassador of GiANT Worldwide.

Simon Tam during his keynote speech

Tam’s session, “Discovering Your Voice”, was in the Anderson Theater at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.  Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, welcomed the participants. She also shared the missions and impact of the Community Foundation with the audience. Then, Nate Wallace, Detroit program director of the Knight Foundation, spoke about the significance of supporting movements around our freedom of expression and identity. He explained why the Knight Foundation is sponsoring   Tam’s national tour. Then, Taoqu Chen, President of NAAAP Detroit, shared the group’s missions and the purpose of the Community Conversations. 

Tam mesmerized and inspired the audience with his keynote presentation by sharing his story detailed in his memoir, “​Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court” (2019). Tam calls his book “the story of an indomitable spirit who so believes in the idea of justice that he’s willing to risk everything along the way for the dignity of self-identity.” 

After the presentation,  Tam answered questions in a moderated session.  NAAAP Detroit Member Peter Schreck Esq. moderated. During this time, Tam provided a raw look at our legal system with unflinching honesty, offered insight on freedom of speech, how to connect with others we disagree with, and, the power of music. Attendees were  moved by Simon Tam’s story and inspired by his spirit. Many stayed to talk to him and purchase autographed copies of his book. 

The second session of Community Conversations was, “Developing and Leveraging Your Signature Voice”, an evening gala reception and workshop at the Fairlane Ballroom in the historic Dearborn Inn. This session started with a delicious dinner and an interactive workshop presented by the GiANT Worldwide Panel: Gin, Lee, and Choi.

Gin shared the code for unlocking people’s capacity to have honest conversations to build deeper, more authentic relationships within teams, families, and friends. The 5 Leadership Voices framework was well received.  Many people were reminded for the first time to think about their leadership voices from their listeners’ perspectives. 

Attendees continued to develop the leadership insights they gained in session one. The 5 Voices Leadership framework demonstrated how to overcome limiting beliefs about leadership skills. Attendees learned how to identify their primary leadership voices and how to leverage those voices to become humble, secure, confident leaders. Networking followed dinner and the workshop. The discussion continued well past closing hours.  Participants’ responses were overwhelmingly positive with their comments reflecting the transformations they felt. 

NAAAP Detroit’s events provide excellent opportunities to sharpen professional and leadership skills and to meet professionals and employers in Southeast Michigan. Members are able to grow and contribute to others’ growth by participating in development programs and community service. Through NAAAP’s national leadership gatherings and 30 chapters, Detroit members can connect with the Asian American professional network throughout North America. NAAAP Detroit invites all professionals to join its roster to contribute to the dynamic energy, growth, and the future of Michigan.

NAAAP Detroit is a 501(c)(3) non-profit in Michigan that aims to cultivate and empower Asian leaders through professional development, community service, and networking. More information is available at ​​ and ​​.

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