The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) began in 1982 in New York City out of a need for unity and a greater platform for Asian Americans, specifically fostered through professional development. The Kansas City chapter has been present in the community since 2010 and is currently under the leadership of President Junann Lopez. The goals of NAAAP are to cultivate and empower leaders, connect professionals in the community and encourage support of one another, engage in the Kansas City community, and to inspire leaders to make a meaningful difference. NAAAP is intentional about their members being lifelong learners and cultivating that spirit of curiosity, especially when it comes to learning about one’s own culture and heritage.
Another focus for the organization is in the area of diversity and inclusion. Within the past year, the board members of NAAAP Kansas City agreed to be the first-ever pilot chapter for NAAAP Pride. Junann Lopez and other leaders of the organization are excited about being a safe and welcoming place for members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially among those with an Asian heritage.
The organization has a chapter in China and they have recently reached out to other NAAAP chapters, including Kansas City’s, concerning their exchange students. The Kansas City chapter agreed to help any potential students coming from NAAAP chapter China to get them acclimated to the city and being overseas. This has not occurred yet, but NAAAP Kansas City is open to any opportunities that come their way in this area and looks forward to the doors that will be open for their chapter in the future.
One of the most anticipated accomplishments of NAAAP Kansas City will take place August 22-24, 2019 when the chapter hosts the National Leadership Convention right here in Kansas City. When discussing this event, Junann Lopez stated, “We’re focusing on the unconventional leader. We feel like not everyone is a CEO. We all have leadership roles; whether we’re aware of it or not, there’s someone watching what we’re doing. [You] can be a better leader in your circle of influence. That’s key to what we’re trying to accomplish with the convention: to inspire people to be that leader, to be the one that makes a difference…” This vision is not only true for the upcoming convention but also in regard to the mission and goals of the NAAAP Kansas City chapter as a whole.
NAAAP Kansas City is a completely inclusive organizations and welcomes and encourages diversity among its members, including all races, ethnicities, genders, and professional experiences. The organization has professional development opportunities throughout the year as well as social gatherings and community service events. They are thrilled to be hosting the National Leadership Convention and are still looking for willing volunteers for the event. We invite you to view NAAAP Kansas City’s website to learn more about upcoming events, contact the organization, and learn more about the organization.
The IRC spotlights our members and their diverse work and interests in the international space. To learn more or to indicate interest in being spotlighted in an upcoming post, please visit: http://www.irckc.org/page/MemberSpotlight.