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APEX Board Experience: Q & A

Jennifer Du img October 12, 2015 img Categories: Featured, News, Professional

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How did you get involved with APEX?

I first heard about APEX a week after I moved to the LA area and was eager to be more involved with the community and meet like-minded people. I saw that APEX was looking for committee members to help plan their annual Youth Olympics event and was excited to join the planning committee. At the time, I wasn’t sure how I could help or even if I’d be of any help but I decided to dive in anyways. In my first meeting, they paid for my boba tea and I’ve been coming back ever since! - Anonymous Board Member 

A few years ago, I attend an APEX professional development speaker panel.  I was really inspired by the message of the speakers that I wanted to get more involved.  I started by attending more events, and eventually joined the board, and became one of the organizers. - Phil Chang, Director of Mentorship

I started out as a committee member for YO and then Gala. Joining a committee is a great way to get exposed to APEX before fully committing. I encourage APEX members to join a committee if they're interested in becoming board members. - Christian Tiu, Director of Development

As a young professional, I felt a little lost and happened to stumble upon APEX's Mentorship Program right when they were looking for mentees. The mentorship program pairs experienced professionals with entry-level, young professionals by industries. Through this program, my involvement in APEX steadily grew and I eventually joined the board. - Jennifer Du, Director of Marketing

First event I attended was the Youth Olympics back in 2007. It wasn't until 2009 did I become more involved as a volunteer photographer and after a few years when I felt ready officially joined the board in 2013 and have been on since. - Dave Ong, VP of Programs


How has APEX helped you (personally, professionally)?

I thought it would be a good opportunity to give back to the community and try something new. APEX has certainly expanded my network in meeting new people and allowed me to see a different side of Los Angeles I wouldn't have otherwise. - Jessica Ng, VP of Finance

​​I joined APEX to grow as a professional.  I've known about APEX for a few years but wanted to become more active and reach out to those that are in the same career position that I once was.  ​When I first graduated, ​I struggled search​ing​ for mentors​ to provide me​​ professional guidance​.  Now that I have workforce experience, I want to be the anchor for others. - Vivian Tran, Chair of Professional Development

The people are absolutely awesome. As with any organization, the assets are really the people, and while I don’t plan on continuing on as part of the APEX board, I value all the relationships that I’ve built through this experience. - Darrell Arthur Li, Chair of Youth Olympics

I definitely have improved upon a lot of my personal and professional skills.  One of them is public speaking.  I used to be horrible at it, and through the different opportunities that APEX presented, and through practice, have vastly improved since.  In addition, it is a great way to practice leadership skills in a trusted and safe environment that can translate over to the workplace. - Phil Chang, Director of Mentorship

Personally, I've met many great people through APEX -- people I consider friends and hang out with outside the organization. Professionally, I've gotten to know many different professionals across different industries who can help me if I ever decide to switch careers. In addition my role as Director of Development has allowed me to get to know and network with top level managers/executives of many different companies. - Christian Tiu, Director of Development

It's true that you get what you put in with APEX and the more I volunteered the more I learned not just professional skills but also interpersonal skills. An example would be my photography as there is a huge difference between my old pictures and my newer ones. I definitely learned a lot more when I became Vice President of Programs because of the responsibilities attached with it but also by interacting with the board members and learning something from each of them. - Dave Ong, VP of Programs


What did you learn? 

​​What I did not expect was to build relationships beyond professional networks.  In the short time with APEX, I met a group of what I am proud to call lifetime friends who have done nothing more than altruistically support each other.  Th​ey​ are not simply professional networks, but a genuine connect​ion​ that reaches beyond the surface. - Vivian Tran, Chair of Professional Development

I have learned many new skills, especially how to plan, coordinate and execute an event.  By being involved with all the steps along the process, and with collaborating within a team environment, I have definitely learned some key success factors for leadership in APEX. - Phil Chang, Director of Mentorship

As current VP of Finance, I gained valuable leadership skills working on nonprofit finances and event planning. It felt like running a business with people and relationships as our product or service. While I learned a lot through the experience, I still have a lot to learn and develop. - Jessica Ng, VP of Finance

Say yes, and learn how. My involvement with APEX challenged me to constantly step out of my comfort zone. I've learned so much about digital media marketing, advertising and even stepped into the world of graphic design. I'm so proud of what the organization has accomplished this year and happy to have been able to craft APEX's tone and personality! As an introvert, the idea of networking did not excite me but through APEX, my networking skills have improved tremendously! With practice, I've met new friends and connections and changed this negative association to a positive one! - Jennifer Du, Director of Marketing

Share some personal memories of APEX

One of my favorite memories of APEX was at an APEX Cares event at Kids Reading to Succeed (KRS) in Altadena. At KRS events, volunteers get divided into a grade level of their choice and go into the designated classroom with the appropriate reading level books. I chose grade level 2 and walked into the classroom unsure of the enthusiasm or energy level of the children that morning. But to my delightful surprise, right as I and a couple other volunteers walked into the door, a tiny bright-eyed student runs up to me and excitedly exclaims that she wants me to be her reading partner. Regardless of anything else that could have happened that day, I knew that the rest of the day was going to be a good one. - Anonymous Board Member

​​My most memorable time with APEX would be the Board retreats and the material building for the Youth Olympics event.  In these events, bonds were strengthened, goals were aligned and the ​organization's ​vision became clear.  I was very impressed because it's very rare to see an organization that has such strong team dynamics and are highly in sync. - Vivian Tran, Chair of Professional Development

One time after an outing we went to get ice cream and with such a big group, I got to try all the ice cream flavors of the store. Then I met someone in our group who ate 3 scoops of ice cream in one sitting. Through APEX, I've met a magician, a dentist, a tax attorney, some one who used to draw pandas for a living, among others. Our organization is unique in that it isn't preferential to any industry and welcomes all aspirations and backgrounds. At our Youth Olympics, we work with at-risk high school students for a day of fun team-building and leadership exercises. Working with these children, hearing their stories and aspirations and being able to share our experiences and recommendations made me feel like I could help them in someway in getting to where they need to be and to not be afraid to take risks. - Jessica Ng, VP of Finance

I love how our board came together and pulled off our 2015 Awards Gala. It was challenging without a Gala Director this year but I thought we collectively did an amazing job putting together a well-received event. - Christian Tiu, Director of Development

I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so I was beyond excited when our Youth Olympics had a Harry Potter theme (The Quad Wizard Tournament)! I tried to adapt a lot of the magical world into the day, so the kids could experience their own kind of magic. I had so much fun creating a game to test the kids spell casting ability. My best memory though, was assisting a Quaffle score, during my very own Quiddith training! - Jennifer Du, Director of Marketing   

I have a lot of fun memories with APEX. One of my favorite ones was during Youth Olympics when I was a Team Leader, my team went from last place to 5th I think. When they called out our name one of the kids yelled out "YES! We're not last place!". I could go on and on so I'm going to stop myself with that story; if you ever run into me ask about the time Larry applied to be on the board. - Dave Ong, VP of Programs


Why should I join the board?

​​As you join APEX, you step up to the role of a leader.  APEX has a President leading the team towards the mission and vision, but we are all leaders in advancing the organization.  You will be taking the initiative to host, organize, and manage professional events that will foster others.  Not only are you developing skills as an innovative leader, but you will experience a sense of self-accomplishment knowing that you've created a positive impact on others. - Vivian Tran, Chair of Professional Development

It's a great way for those who have little to no experience being part of a functioning board to learn how to work with and for your peers making important decisions along the way. - Larry Quach, VP of Strategy & HR

From learning in a hands-on environment that directly improves upon your professional skill set, to building a camaraderie with great teammates I can also call my friends, it is a truly memorable and valuable experience, that I can say helped make some of the best years of my life thus far. - Phil Chang, Director of Mentorship

APEX strives for quality. Throughout this year, I've worked with an amazing team who committed their time to do something for others and pushed me to do better in the process. As I plan to continue to be on board next year, I only want others on the board to do the same. Un-awesome people who don't want to be part of a awesome team need not apply. - Jessica Ng, VP of Finance

You should join the board because you'll get to work with a group of dedicated and passionate individuals. In addition, the stuff that you'll be doing for APEX will look really good on your resume! - Christian Tiu, Director of Development

We see each other almost every single week - and during our busy months, multiple times a week. With events every single month of the year, communication is constant and we spend so much time together that I know who has specific eating habits, food allergies and who lives off caffeine. We sacrifice a lot of our nights and weekends to make sure that the APEX mission moves forward. But through this, amazing relationships are built and strong friendships are made :] - Jennifer Du, Director of Marketing

If you plan on joining the board be prepared, its not all fun and games but I assure you its rewarding. It is one of the fastest ways to learn about the community we serve, to develop professionally, to learn new skills, to meet like minded people (who I count as among my closest friends) and most importantly defining who you are. - Dave Ong, VP of Programs


What is APEX?

The Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan community based organization with multifaceted goals and purposes that are charitable, cultural and educational in nature. Established in 1993, APEX currently boasts an e-community membership of 10,000 members. Contact us