Orange County, California, affectionately known as the O.C., has the third-largest Asian American population in the United States. This statistic recently got some attention (in LA Times, NPR, Cal State Fullerton, press release) from the publication of a report titled “A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Orange County, 2014” produced by Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
“With over a half million Asian Americans, Orange County is home to the nation’s third-largest Asian American population. Asian Americans make up 20% of the county’s total population, the largest concentration of Asian Americans in California outside of the Bay Area.”
… “Yet Asian Americans and NHPI have not realized their full potential as participants in the political process.”
This is not new news per se; in May 2011, OC Register had already reported 2010 U.S. Census numbers that O.C. has third highest Asian population in U.S. : Orange County has one of the highest concentrations of Asian residents in the nation, according to new census figures. And, to round out the ranking, the top 2 largest Asian American populations by county are Los Angeles and Santa Clara.
Demographics are destiny. With any group of people, and especially large concentrations of a group of people, will have need for more leaders. Not just more Asian American leaders reaching their potential, but also Asian American leaders who can serve beyond an Asian American demographics. Excerpted from an article, Asian-American Leadership Programs Tackle The ‘Bamboo Ceiling’ (NPR, July 2014)::
It’s not that Asian-Americans aren’t a part of the companies at all, in fact, they’re usually the biggest non-white demographic outside the tech division (at Yahoo, they’re 57% of the tech sector). But when it comes to leadership roles, their numbers shrink, along with those of other minorities; about 70-80% of the top management across the board is white.
There are many kinds of leadership roles, in the corporate management world, in the immediate community, and in the broader national and international communities. Each leadership opportunity and context requires unique gifting, skills, and perspectives. One experienced leader cannot lead equally effectively in every context.
As I age into my late 40s, I’m exploring how I can do more of my part to raise up a next generation of Asian American leaders. For other 15+ years, I’ve heard the recurring theme, the top need, from young Asian American leaders wanting to find a mentor and role model. I’m incubating on how I can do that more intentionally and virtually as well as locally. If you are an Asian American in your 20s or 30s, I’d love to hear from you.