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Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 485-1422
FAX: (213) 485-0050
Email: leap@leap.org

Since its founding in 1982, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) has been intent on "growing leaders" within Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities across the world. When LEAP opened its doors 31 years ago, it had a simple yet powerful idea: that in order for API communities to realize their full potential and to foster robust participation in this increasingly globalized world, these communities would have to begin producing leaders who could advocate and speak on their behalf.

A national, nonprofit organization, LEAP works to meet its mission of achieving full participation and equality for APIs through leadership, empowerment, and policy by: Developing people, because leaders are made, not born; Informing society, because leaders know the issues; and Empowering communities, because leaders are grounded in strong, vibrant communities.

Guided by its leadership development philosophy that APIs can retain their unique cultures, identities and values while developing new and vital skills that will make them effective leaders within their own organizations, their communities and the broader society, LEAP recognizes that the need for API leadership has two separate but inextricably linked components: quantity and quality. Not only is there a need for greater numbers of API leaders, but these leaders also must be more effective if API communities are to thrive and become full participating members of our global society.

Through the creation of culturally relevant workshops and programs, more than 115,000 people from colleges and universities, community and student organizations, government agencies and Fortune 1000 companies across North America and Asia have participated in over 2,500 LEAP leadership development programs, organizational development workshops, skills building and diversity trainings.

Board of Directors of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) announces election of new President and Chief Executive Officer

July 22, 2011, Los Angeles – The Board of Directors of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) today announced the unanimous election of Linda Akutagawa as LEAP's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective November 1, 2011. LEAP is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to achieving full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) through leadership, empowerment and policy.
Akutagawa will succeed J.D. Hokoyama, who is retiring and will remain as President and CEO of LEAP through the transition.

"We are proud to announce the appointment of Linda Akutagawa as our next CEO as LEAP approaches its 30th anniversary," remarked Margaret Ashida, Chair of the LEAP Board. "Linda personifies LEAP's philosophy that leaders can retain their unique cultures, identities and values while developing new and vital skills that will make them effective leaders within their own organizations, their communities, and the broader society. She brings a unique combination of next generation vision, deep knowledge of API communities, and proven track record. We also thank J.D. for the powerful legacy of his timeless vision in founding LEAP, tireless leadership for the API community, and selfless commitment to a successful executive transition."

The selection process was based on a national search coordinated by LEAP's Executive Transition Committee, chaired by Ashida.

"It has been my privilege to be a founder and leader of LEAP and to work with so many dedicated people," Hokoyama said. "I am delighted that Linda will be the next president and CEO. She will bring passion, enthusiasm, and energy to her new position. Her first hand knowledge and involvement in all of LEAP's programs and events over the past 19 years is an invaluable asset. I am excited about LEAP's future and look forward to the direction the organization will take under her leadership."

Currently LEAP's Senior Vice President, Resource & Business Development, Akutagawa led the strategic planning, development and launch of the new e-Learning Series announced in May, 2011. Her experience ranges from innovative community programs to the corporate sector to higher education.

"I am deeply appreciative of the LEAP Board's faith and trust, J.D.'s continued encouragement and the LEAP staff's strong support in me to lead this organization to a new level and a new chapter in LEAP's history," said Akutagawa. "I'm honored and excited to be elected President and CEO, and I look forward to working with LEAP's passionate and dedicated Board, staff and supporters to implement a clear strategy of growth and continue growing Asian & Pacific Islanders for decades to come. It's a great privilege for me to follow in the footsteps of J.D. Hokoyama, one of the visionary founders of LEAP and someone who has given back so much to the Asian & Pacific Islander community for more than 30 years."

Akutagawa serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Boat People SOS California; Vice President for Professional Development & Events of the Asian Women Leadership Network; a Director of Japanese American Community Services; a founding member of the Corporate Asian American Employee Network; a Steering Committee member of the Asian Jewish Initiative; and an Advisory Board member for the National Association of Asian American Professionals, Orange County Chapter. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science, International Business with a minor in Economics from California State University Los Angeles.

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