The Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC), a New York-based organization that recognizes the economic contributions made by Asian American businesses, held its 18th annual gala of Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business on June 20. The event recognizes the best of Asian American entrepreneurship and professionalism from all industries. This year’s award recipients join a group of more than 800 high-achieving individuals who have been honored since 2001.
Out of the 50 award recipients this year, a quarter of them are women. Below are eight incredible female awardees and business leaders who share their wisdom and proudest accomplishments with us.
Current Title & Company: Intelligent Automation Leader and Private Equity Senior Advisory Partner, Ernst & Young (EY)
Industry: Professional Services
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: Earlier in my career, I had the opportunity to build and be the architect of EY’s first offshore shared service center in India in 2001 – an initiative near and dear to my heart, being a U.S. immigrant from India. That opportunity gave me the platform to build a unique and innovative culture, to create new ways of working and global teaming to leverage talent. Within two years of formation, EY was recognized on the Top 25 Great Places to Work in India – with about 60 percent of women in the organization in India – and continues to win many accolades and awards for its amazing culture.
What advice would you give to your younger self?: Don’t limit yourself by imagining boundaries or walls – don’t limit your true potential. Be persistent about pursuing your dreams and don’t fear the unknown – exploring the unknown is an opportunity to learn and experience success and failure. Failure can teach a person more than success.
Current Title & Company: Chief Brand Officer, Red Lion Hotels Corporation
Industry: Travel and Hospitality
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: Fondest memory and also my favorite accomplishment is building an interior design team in Bangkok, then having to bring four of them to Santa Monica where we worked closely for eight months on our Cabo Resort Hotel. As a result, we won Best Boutique Design Award at BLLA a year later for the project, and I learned some Thai.
Interests: Competitive sports
What advice would you give to your younger self?: Always surround yourself with people smarter, faster and more capable than yourself. And be less serious.
Current Title & Company: SVP, Integrated Operations Director, Craft NY & Craft Health NJ
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: Being one of the 50 Asian American honorees this year
Interests: Traveling and watching my kids in their activities
What advice would you give to your younger self?: Be brave and be bold.
Current Title & Company: President, Sukho Thai Massage and Spa Retreat
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: I came to the U.S. with two suitcases and not being able to understand English fluently. I became a successful businesswoman, known locally, within eight years.
Interests: Traveling, social media and cooking Thai cuisine
What advice would you give to your younger self?: Please stop to smell the roses and play with butterflies along a successful journey. No need to hurry to get there, as long as you keep walking. It’s more about the journey, not the destination of success.
Current Title & Company: Managing Director, UHY Advisors
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: Growing UHY’s tax practice for our China Group has been incredibly rewarding. I enjoy working with the variety of new clients we’ve engaged with as my career has grown while the firm grows.
Interests: Cooking, traveling and salsa dancing
What advice would you give to your younger self?: I would tell myself to have confidence and believe I can do anything if I try and work hard. I would also tell my younger self to pursue my passions and do what I love, but always stay grounded and be there for my family.
Current Title & Company: Quant and Systemic, Trading Specialist, Bloomberg LP
Industry: Financial Technology
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: Completed Ph.D. in Economics while working full time
Interests: Music, reading and family
What advice would you give to your younger self?: Stay focused on each task as well as try out new ideas. Impossible is often possible.
Current Title & Company: Senior Managing Director – U.S. Midwest, Accenture
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: Despite having an incredibly demanding career that required me to travel the majority of the time, raising a confident young adult – who is now out in the workforce living her dreams.
Interests: Reading, biking and traveling
What advice would you give to your younger self?: Ask for what you want – don’t expect that people will recognize your work and give you opportunities without you asking. In addition, it’s also okay to ask for stretch roles; you don’t need to have all the skills or feel 100% confident. Having “sweaty palms” is a good thing; it means you are continuing to grow and learn.
SOWMYA VISWANATHAN, MD, MBA, MHCM
Current Title & Company: Group Chief Medical Officer, Mid-South and Massachusetts markets, Tenet Healthcare
Industry: Health care/Hospitals
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: After completing health care training and while continuing to practice as a physician, I built a career in health system leadership. I am currently Chief Medical Officer at a national health system – Tenet Healthcare. I am also very proud of my role at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where I am an Instructor and Program Director. Some of my prior roles include Chief ACO Officer at Dartmouth Hitchcock, Regional Chief and Physician Quality Officer. Having worked in some of the largest health systems in the country, the trajectory of leadership roles has boosted up my skill set and confidence. Double Masters in Management (MBA and MHCM) has strengthened my non-health care perspective.
Interests: Teaching leadership, especially “Women in Leadership,” management, artificial intelligence, healthy lifestyle and value-based care
Extracurricular activities: Enjoy cooking/entertaining, traveling and gardening
What advice would you give to your younger self?: “Impossible” is a word to be eradicated from everyone’s dictionary. Making incremental improvements on a daily basis will bring the greatest satisfaction and boost self-confidence. Challenges thrown at us are just opportunities for us to learn and grow from. While all these are frequently known phrases, executing on them daily and optimizing self-growth will be the greatest blessing we can give ourselves.
Networking is another key to success. Navigating through the quagmire of people we meet, we need to be able to intuitively pick the people who would work best for and with us.
I have to say that none of this could be possible without the active and grounded support from my family and friends. All of us can move mountains when we have a steadfast family backing us up in our endeavors. Positive energy and strength rubs onto you when you have strong family and friends’ support. The sky is your limit! Go for it.