Paddling in the Desert

2007 Dragon BoatHow often do you get the opportunity in the desert of Arizona, to experience an ancient Chinese ritual that dates back to 2,400 years ago? The Dragon Boat Festival is a symbol of Chinese culture and spirit. Having taken place at Tempe Town Lake for its fourth year, the Arizona Dragon Boat Festival is an annual event that draws participation from enthusiastic teams from around the world.

At this year's festival, on March 24th and 25th, a few members from NAAAP joined the "Chinese United" team and paddled against some tough teams. Although our team didn't place at the top of the charts, we had two full days of sun, fun, and bonding. Those who weren't paddlers came to cheer us on. There were plenty of laughs as we mingled and met new faces.

Since this is my second year taking part in the Arizona Dragon Boat Festival and since I am still a fairly new transplant to the area from Los Angeles, I was excited to have met new friends. The group from NAAAP was especially friendly, and I can't wait to join them in the next event as a new member. Thank you for making me feel welcome.


Janene Wong is a Graphic Designer/Art Director who is fascinated with the Chinese culture and is seeking to find her niche in the Asian community. She can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Networking Mixer at Furio

Networking Mixer at FurioThe evening at NAAAP mixer went smoothly, highlighted by the terrific location, the networking format and the friendliness shown by those who attended. It was well-run and effective, very much like the other Evening Networking Events I’ve attended so far. I will make small suggestions if I spot areas that could be changed to make these get-togethers even more useful and memorable. The executive board and the leaders of NAAAP are doing an outstanding job; it is why I joined the group, even without any lobbying from members I have met over the summer.

I have been looking for a professional organization to join and I am very honored to be asked by NAAAP – a professional organization composed of active, energized professionals from around the Valley. It is empowering to share ideas, challenges, resources and referrals with fellow Asian Americans, all of whom are looking to build relationships and assist each other with products and services.

At the meetings and monthly activities I’ve gone to, I’ve been encouraged and inspired by the professional speakers and what they said in their presentation as well as they way they delivered it. I love the fact that this board and its members are open to activities outside of the normal business topics. The personal-growth activities and community-service events this year are refreshing to take part in.

I foresee NAAAP having a positive impact on how we Asian American professionals are perceived and received by the community. The regular meetings, out-of-the-box activities, community-related programs, fund-raising events and consistent exposure to the media in town will help raise the stature and relevance of NAAAP. Again, my sincere thanks to Jason and the board for inviting me and allowing me to be a part of this terrific organization.


Mike Hayashi is a member of NAAAP – Phoenix and an instructor for Take Control Self Defense. For more information, please call (480) 221-0044 or visit

Cultural Potluck & Election 2007

2007 Cultural Potluck and ElectionI moved to the valley about two years ago from Maryland as an account executive. Because of the nature of my industry, I have spent the last few months searching for a dynamic networking group to join.

I have attended many local networking functions but found that there was always something lacking. Not until I met a NAAAP member at a local Chamber event was I introduced to NAAAP. My first experience with this group was at the Cultural Potluck & Elections. The potluck had a great turn out and so many different selections of delicious homemade dishes! Adding to my positive experience at the event, I was very pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie I felt at the meeting. Every member of NAAAP has a voice in the election! Not only was the board formed by members who wanted to participate but they were also an experienced professional group who are committed to using the roles they chose to make a difference.

In my search for an organization that would expand my business network, I have found an organization that encourages business relationships, personal friendships and community involvement. Members were so open to helping me grow both professionally and socially, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of NAAAP. I love that NAAAP has made a commitment to give back to our community through various events and programs and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group.

I believe organizations like NAAAP will help members to articulate a better understanding of our own values and ethics. With the commitment of goals and objectives through community involvement, NAAAP can create value…the more people who join and participate, the more value NAAAP can create. I am looking forward to participating in NAAAP activities that will expand our network and share our culture with the community.


Samantha Terry is a member of NAAAP-Phoenix & an account executive with Total Merchant Services. She helps establish services for businesses to handle the acceptance of all forms of non-cash payments. For more information, visit or call (480)220-2413.