Since its inception in 2019, Marine Corps Asian Pacific American Professionals has been committed to bringing together Marines and allies, from all backgrounds and cultures, to hear from Marine Corps and congressional leaders and industry professionals for a seminar on leadership and education.
The 2022 USMC APA Professional Leadership Summit took place April 27-28 through a virtual Zoom meeting and hosted more than three dozen key attendees and speakers. The theme for the fourth iteration was “Leverage” and offered attendees the opportunity to connect at the individual, community, and organizational level through discussions of mentorship, inclusion, professionalism, and Marine Corps talent management initiatives. .
To kick off the two-day summit, attendees were greeted with a video message from Congresswoman Young Kim, representing California’s 39th congressional district, who offered her proud participation in the summit and continued advocacy for health professionals. the USMC APA and the Asian American community.
Gen. Eric M. Smith, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps, then addressed the attendees and emphasized the importance of education and inclusion in the Marine Corps.
“I want a diversity of ideas,” Smith said while addressing attendees on fairness in reporting, mentoring, and how promoting and retaining Marines from all walks of life is paramount to the success of the institution.
Gen. Smith answered several questions from attendees and applauded the summit as a platform to foster diversity and inclusion for the Marine Corps saying “Continue your leadership efforts…drive toward a central goal of winning the game, and the game is national security.”
Following Gen. Smith, Tyler Zagurski, a representative of Marine Corps Workforce and Reserve Affairs, delivered a detailed and educational brief on Marine Corps Talent Management 2030 and Team talent management strategy team came together to aggressively address initiatives and enable the development of the new talent management system for the Marine Corps.
The APA is actively engaged with Marine Corps Headquarters and the Commandant Marine Corps to directly support CMC’s vision of Force Design 2030 and Talent Management 2030 and the importance of the Indo-Pacific area of operations . As the USMC APA Professionals website states, this area of operations is “…a place where Asian-Pacific Americans understand and have a deep understanding of the continuum of language, Regional and Cultural Expertise (LREC) while possessing the abilities to build relationships and build rapport with key partners and allies.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, Representative for Washington’s 10th Congressional District, then took to the virtual stage and offered advice to attendees using the summit theme “Leverage” and the importance of using the 5Ps framework – purpose, power, presence, politics and positioning – along with assets, you must fulfill its purpose and mission, whether for the organization or for yourself.
“The military is stronger when all who serve have the opportunity to feel represented and have the opportunity to move forward as they choose to…be intentional about what you want to do. Be flexible and nimble. And again, feel free to talk about what you want this trip to look like. Congressman Marilyn Strickland, Representative for Washington’s 10th Congressional District
Rep. Strickland was born in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and an African-American father who served in World War II and the Korean War. She is the first African-American to represent Washington State at the federal level and one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress in its 230-year history.
A panel discussion led by four Marine Corps leaders wrapped up the first day of the summit. Panel members included Col. Joon H. Um, 3D Marine Logistics Group Chief of Staff, Col. Ly T. Fecteau, Command Inspector General, Marine Corps Installations East, Col. Thomas D. Wood, Deputy Commandant , Marine Corps Installations Pacific , and MGySgt Marie White (ret.).
Each panelist had advice to offer attendees with a common tone of leadership and relationships. Col. Um shared his thoughts on being a leader who walks in and out with his Marines, while Col. Wood talked about engaging early and often with the Marines around you to build that trust and foster professional relationships.
To kick off the second day of keynote speakers, Mr. Clarence A. Johnson, Director of the Diversity Management Operations Center, was pleased to be invited to speak to attendees and expressed his gratitude to USMC professionals APA for their continued efforts and commitments.
“I must say that your association’s efforts to connect, share and educate military and civilian employees are part of a larger plan – to develop a diverse leadership force with the government and with the Department of Defense, promoting specifically the national security interests of our great Nation,” Mr. Clarence A. Johnson, Director of the Diversity Management Operations Center
Throughout the second day, participants participated in the “Leverage” program, learning to harness and deploy the professional framework of the 5 “Ps” in the workplace. The insightful curriculum was broken into sessions throughout the summit and introduced attendees to practical and effective tools to use for their own professional and organizational success.
A civilian industry roundtable brought together professionals; Bharat Amin, chief information officer and executive vice president of Huntington-Ingalls Industries, Roy Donelson, chief operating officer and vice president of Raytheon Missiles, and Gefferie Yee-Madera, vice president of Northrop Grumman Space Systems. Industry leaders answered questions from the group and discussed the importance of collaboration between the DoD and civilian industries, pushing for the continued advancement of diversity, equality, inclusion and accessibility.
Maj. Gen. William H. Seely III, Director of Marine Corps Intelligence, closed the summit as the final keynote speaker and provided an interactive platform for attendees to have candid conversations about his experiences, insights, success and leadership in the Marine Corps and military service. Major General Seely III spoke emphatically about the human factor, not just the equipment we have – it is the Navy that drives the success of the organization. He offered advice on “unlearning” – focusing not on how things have been, but on how things can be and our path forward as the Marine Corps.
Maj. Gen. Seely III is the first Vietnamese-American general in the Marine Corps and currently the highest-ranking general officer in the Marine Corps in service who is of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.
Additionally, the summit allowed attendees to join breakout rooms between educational briefs and speaker series. The rooms allowed participants to speak openly in small groups and share their experiences, challenges and offered more ways to connect.
The agenda throughout the summit was developed for Asia-Pacific Americans through a partnership and collaboration between the Marine Corps and Elevate, a multi-academic partnership, and Spectrum Knowledge, Inc. The Elevate program uses interactive learning and research to increase organizational performance and strategic effectiveness. .
Dr. Vu H. Pham, President of Elevate, was the instructor for the two-day event and echoed the importance of diversity in organizations and the educational benefits that this summit represents each year.
“APA is one of the key models that the entire DOD wants to do for every branch, not just for Asians, but for any gender, ethnicity, background…it’s important. It’s small, but it’s powerful,” said Vu.
To learn more about USMC APA professionals, visit: www.usmcapaprofessionals.com
To learn more about diversity and inclusion in the Marine Corps, visit: www.manpower.usmc.mil/webcenter/portal/MPE/
Learn more about Talent Management 2030: www.marines.mil/News/Press-Releases/Press-Release-Display/Article/2831808/commandant-of-the-marine-corps-issues-talent-management-2030- plan/