Breaking Career Ceilings and Feeling Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Brian Wong
Gary Locke

About the Webinar


Cultural differences, a history of stereotyping and even unconscious bias can all be foundational elements for the challenges that Asians face when advancing in the workplace. Being comfortable in one’s own skin is a challenge that faces the Asian population on a daily basis.

On Wednesday, March 6, Committee of 100’s Next Generation Leaders program spearheaded a virtual discussion on the critical questions of both the visible and invisible barriers that prevent Asians from advancing in their careers and being comfortable as a minority population in a divided America.

This event is part of the Next Generation Leaders’ Service Project.


Jackson G. Lu
Sloan School Career Development Associate Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management; Senior Editor, Organization Science 

Jackson G. Lu is the Sloan School Career Development Associate Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. One of the youngest tenured professors at MIT, he is among the first to systematically research the “Bamboo Ceiling” experienced by Asians. His research has been published in top scientific journals like Nature Human Behaviour and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been featured in over 300 media outlets like The Economist, The Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, NPR, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. 

He has received prestigious awards and honors, including the World’s “40 Best Business School Professors Under 40”, NLS Rising Star Award from the Academy of Management, Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science, SAGE Early Career Trajectory Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and 30 Thinkers to Watch. He received his PhD from Columbia Business School. Lu is a member of Committee of 100’s Next Generation Leaders Program. 


Jennifer Lee
Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences, Columbia University; Chair of the Board of Trustees, Russell Sage Foundation

Jennifer Lee is the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University and Past President of the Eastern Sociological Society. She is author or co-author of four-award winning books, including The Asian American Achievement ParadoxThe Diversity ParadoxCivility in the City, and Asian American Youth, and more than three dozen journal articles published in the discipline’s leading journals including American Sociological ReviewSocial ForcesAnnual Review of SociologyThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social SciencePNAS, and Daedalus. Her wide-ranging research addresses morally urgent questions about the implications of contemporary U.S. immigration—particularly Asian immigration—on the native-born population. She has studied this from a variety of analytical lenses, including immigrant entrepreneurship and ethnic conflict, intermarriage and multiracial identification, educational opportunities and outcomes, affirmative action, and the surge in anti-Asian violence since the onset of COVID-19. 

Jennifer Lee’s most recent book, Asian American Achievement Paradox, garnered five national book awards, including the Pierre Bourdieu Book Award and Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award. Drawing on national surveys of the U.S. Asian population, Lee adopts a “subject-centered approach” that places Asian Americans’ experiences and attitudes at the center of her analyses. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. 

Yinuo Li
Co-founder of ETU Education; Former Partner, McKinsey; Former Director, Gates Foundation’s China Program

Yinuo Li (Chinese: 李一诺), co-founder of Etu Education, a best-selling author, founder of China’s influential self-media account “Nuli Society”, and leader of the online Nuo Community. 

After completing her undergraduate studies at Tsinghua University, she studied for her PhD at UCLA. She then became a Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company before becoming the Chief Representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s China Office. During this time, she participated in the 2016 World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. She is a member of the Academic Committee of the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University, and a reviewer for finalists of the Oxford University Rhodes Scholarship application program in China from 2015-2019. She was named as one of the “40 People in 40 Years of China’s Reform and Opening-up Returnees” by The Center for China and Globalization in 2018, and in 2021, she was selected by Fortune (China) as part of their “China’s Most Influential Business Women in 2020 (Future List).” 


Gary Locke
First Chinese-American U.S. Ambassador to China; former U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Committee of 100 Chair

As Governor, Gary Locke oversaw the creation of 280,000 new private sector jobs. He also had the most diverse cabinet in state history and over half his judicial appointees were women.  His management skills and innovations won him acclaim by nationally recognized organizations, including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. During his tenure, Washington was ranked one of America’s four best-managed states. 

As Commerce Secretary, he led President Obama’s National Export Initiative to double American exports; assumed a troubled 2010 Census but which under his supervision ended on time and $2 billion under budget; and achieved the most significant reduction in patent application processing in the agency’s history. 

As U.S. Ambassador to China, he opened markets for made-in-USA goods and services; reduced wait times for visa interviews of Chinese applicants from 100 days to 3; and through the Embassy’s air quality monitoring program, exposed the severity of China’s air pollution.  


Brian A. Wong
Chinese American entrepreneur and investor; founder of RADII Media; author of the book The Tao of Alibaba

Brian A. Wong is a Chinese American entrepreneur and investor. He was the first American and only the 52nd employee to join Alibaba Group, where he contributed to the company’s early globalization efforts and served as Jack Ma’s special assistant for international affairs. During his 16-year tenure, Wong established the Alibaba Global Initiatives (AGI) division and was the founder and executive director of the Alibaba Global Leadership Academy. Wong remains an adviser to the AGI team and regularly teaches courses on China’s digital economy and the Tao of Alibaba management principles. Wong founded RADII, a digital media platform dedicated to bridging understanding between East and West.

Wong earned his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, a master’s certificate from the Johns Hopkins University (SAIS)–Nanjing University Center for US and China Studies, and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015, is a China Fellow with the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and is a member of the Committee of 100. He is based in Shanghai, China. 



Mari Yoshihara
Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Author of Musicians from a Different Shore: Asians and Asian Americans in Classical Music and Dearest Lenny: Letters from Japan and the Making of the World Maestro

Mari Yoshihara is Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the editor of American Quarterly, the journal of American Studies Association. Her publications include Embracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism (Oxford, 2003), Musicians from a Different Shore: Asians and Asian Americans in Classical Music (Temple, 2007), Dearest Lenny: Letters from Japan and the Making of the American Maestro (Oxford, 2019), and numerous books and articles in Japanese. She is currently conducting research for a book that will be a sequel to Musicians from a Different Shore.  


Wednesday, March 6, 2024 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Eastern Time

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