Q&A Series – Next Generation Leaders: Jay Kuo

Over the past two years, the rise in anti-Asian hate and xenophobia, combined with a global pandemic have made normal, everyday life difficult for the Chinese American community. By sharing stories and insights from those in the Chinese American community, Committee of 100 hopes to shed more light on the issue and help celebrate the amazing accomplishments from within the Chinese American community to the world at large.

The staff of Committee of 100 sat down with some of our Next Generation Leaders and asked them about their careers, what the past year has been like as a Chinese American and their hopes for the future. Committee of 100’s Next Generation Leaders program focuses on young leaders who are passionate about the organization’s mission to promote the full inclusion of Chinese Americans across society and advance the betterment of U.S.-China relations. The program was first established in 2017.

This month, we spoke with Jay Kuo, the CEO and Founder of The Social Edge, and a Producer for Sing Out! a Louise Productions. Jay currently manages a team of content creators and social media experts overseeing some of the largest and most popular accounts on the Internet. He is also a Broadway producer and composer for a NYC theatre production company. Before his current role, Jay was an appellate litigator licensed to practice before the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court. Jay can be connected with on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Committee of 100: As a Chinese American, what are some of the challenges you have encountered to become a leader in your respective field?

Jay: In the world of theatre and Broadway, Asian American and Chinese American stories are seldom told, and there are very few minority producers let alone Chinese or AAPI producers. This has made networking more challenging, and I have had to work harder to help lift up AAPI stories, performers, and creatives.

Committee of 100: There are more than 5 million Chinese Americans in the United States today and it is one of the fastest-growing populations in the U.S. Do you feel that Chinese Americans are well represented in government, business, and other parts of society?

Jay: Chinese Americans remain underrepresented in key fields that have a direct impact on our community, including the arts and government. We need more seats at these tables.

Committee of 100: What do you believe needs to be done so that more Chinese Americans feel empowered to follow their dreams and push forward to create the programs/businesses/position they want?

Jay: Younger Chinese Americans need to see that the doors are open to them in fields beyond the professional, technical and educational tracks. This will require a bit of a cultural shift, as traditionally Chinese families are not encouraging of their children to pursue high profile careers in the arts or politics.

Committee of 100: What moment or learning experience inspired you to work in your professional field?

Jay: Watching my first Broadway show when I was 14. It was an amazing experience that I carry with me to this day.

Committee of 100: For those Chinese Americans and AAPIs who just recently graduated college, what advice would you give to them?

Jay: The path to the life and career that you want does not have to follow a predictable pattern. Take chances while you are younger, explore your true passions and interests.

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