Written by: Toni Kayumi
President & CEO – Ann Arbor YMCA
Chair – Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Network Steering Committee
The Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Network (APILN) is a nationwide YMCA employee resource group (ERG) composed of Y staff who self-identify as Asian or Pacific Islander and their allies. The ERG shares information and resources through in-person social experiences, as well as during online opportunities. APILN’s goal is to advance the professional development and enhance the leadership skills of Asian and Pacific Islander staff by empowering their rise in the Movement through the sharing of best practices, advocacy, networking and mentoring. APILN also awards Fred Hoshiyama Scholarships to Y staff of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry to support their learning and training opportunities.
America’s demographics are changing rapidly and by 2050 the country’s Asian population is projected to increase by 300%. As Ys seek to extend their reach and mission impact into communities, the recruitment and career progression of Asian and Pacific Islander staff grows increasingly important. To remain relevant, viable and sustainable the Movement needs culturally competent and inclusive leaders at all levels to understand the circumstances, needs and wants of diverse populations.
By fully integrating diversity, inclusion and global (DIG) work into operations, Ys can drive program innovation and social equity, so that everyone regardless of their country of origin can reach their full potential. Currently 24% of children in the United States live in immigrant families. If the Movement is going to serve all now and in the future, newcomer populations must feel welcomed and supported by the Movement, for Ys to be able to attract and retain them as members and program participants.
As part of its global leadership development strategy, APILN in collaboration with YMCA of the USA will be leading a 10-day bridge building trip to Asia in April 2018 to form partnerships and coalitions with international YMCAs in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Cambodia. Establishing relationships between American and Asian Ys will build each association’s capacity to serve all segments of society, by creating DIG community engagement strategies and program activities that foster capacity building and cross-cultural sharing.
To learn more about APILN, please visit the ERG’s webpage on YExchange.org.