Asian American Career Ceilings: What can the AAPI community learn from other ethnic communities – career ceilings, political clout, and the fight against discrimination?

Peter Young
Maeley Tom
John Chiang

The Committee of 100 Asian American Career Ceilings Initiative webcast featured a fireside chat on the topic of “What can the AAPI community learn from other ethnic communities – career ceilings, political clout, and the fight against discrimination?” with panelists John Chiang, Former California State Treasurer and Committee of 100 Member; David Chiu, San Francisco City Attorney and Former California API Legislative Caucus Chair; Madalene Mielke, President and CEO, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS); and Maeley Tom, Former Chief Administrative Officer, California State Assembly and Committee of 100 Member. Peter Young, Chair of the Initiative and a Committee of 100 Member, moderated the webinar.



The webinar was held on September 22, 2022 from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm Eastern Time / 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Central Time / 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Pacific Time.


Asian American Career Ceilings examine the challenges facing Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans with regard to barriers to advancement in a wide variety of professions in the U.S. The goal of this initiative is to contribute to the already significant efforts of organizations and individuals who have been tackling this issue.


John Chiang
Former California State Treasurer
Committee of 100 Member

John Chiang serves as a member a member of the Board of Directors of Apollo Medical Holdings (Nasdaq: AMEH). In addition, he serves on the corporate advisory board of Pasadena Private Finance, Adept and Calyx Peak as well as an advisor to the Redwood Collective.

John Chiang is the only individual to be elected to all three financial offices in California’s executive branch of government.

From 2015-2018, John Chiang served as California’s 33rd State Treasurer. As the state’s banker, he oversaw trillions of dollars in annual transactions, managed a $75 billion investment portfolio and was the nation’s largest issuer of municipal bonds. He spearheaded efforts to increase financing of housing, stand up the CalSavers program and further advance green bonds.

Prior to being elected Treasurer, Chiang served as State Controller from 2007-2014. During the Great Recession, he took steps to meet obligations to education and bond holders. His cash management decisions – which included delaying payments and issuing IOUs – were instrumental in keeping the State’s credit rating from plunging into junk status, and his actions saved taxpayers millions of dollars. Additionally, Chiang aggressively used his audit programs to identify more than $9.5 billion of fraud, waste and abuse in government programs, the most by any Controller in California’s history.

As a CalPERS and CalSTRS Trustee in 2008, Chiang led the movement to have the nation’s two largest public defined benefit plans advocate for greater diversity of corporate boards.

In 1998, he was elected to California’s Board of Equalization and served two terms, including three years as chair. During his service, Chiang originated tax and financial education programs for nonprofits, small businesses, women and religious organizations. During his service, he introduced more legislative proposals that became law than any other Equalization member in California history.

John Chiang serves as Co-Chair of California Forward, Treasurer of the California State Guard Foundation, member of the Board of Councilors of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and an advisory board member of the Robert T. Matsui Center at the University of California Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

John Chiang served as an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow, Hunt-Kean Fellow and University of Southern California Center for the Political Future Fellow. He has appeared in articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle and spoken on CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg and numerous state and local media outlets.

Chiang graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in finance and received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.

David Chiu
San Francisco City Attorney
Former California API Legislative Caucus Chair

David Chiu is San Francisco’s first Asian American City Attorney, leading one of the country’s top public law offices with 300 legal professionals who provide advice to the over 100 elected officials, departments and commissions that comprise San Francisco’s government. A past chair of the California API Legislative Caucus, David was the first Asian to represent eastern San Francisco in the California State Assembly and serve as President of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. Before elected office, David was Chief Operating Officer of a public affairs technology company, a criminal prosecutor at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, a civil rights attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and Democratic Counsel to the U.S. Senate Constitution Subcommittee. The son of immigrants, David received his undergraduate, law, and master’s in public policy degrees from Harvard University.

Madalene Mielke
President and CEO
Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS)

Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke is a nationally recognized civil rights leader and a member of USA Today’s Inaugural Leaders of Change. As President & CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) and Founder and Principal of Arum Group, LLC, she brings nearly 25 years of experience working in political campaigns and specializes in political/non-profit fundraising and political training.

After returning from the ’96 campaign, Ms. Mielke worked for the Co-Executive Director at the Presidential Inaugural Committee and later to Vice President Gore’s team. Ms. Mielke started fundraising while working at the New Democrat Network PAC and she returned to her roots as the Training Director for the Ron Brown-Paul Tully Institute (BTI), the training arm of the DNC. In 2002 Ms. Mielke started her political consulting firm, specializing in fundraising and political training. Madalene has collaborated with the NAACP National Voter Fund, John Kerry for President, Democratic National Committee Asian American Leadership Council, Mike Honda for Congress, Friends of Hillary, CHC BOLD PAC, Akaka for US Senate, Xavier Becerra for Congress, Mazie Hirono for Congress, Honda for Congress, America’s Opportunity Fund, Asian American Action (AAA) Fund and Young Democrats of America to raise millions of dollars to empower communities of color.

Throughout her career, Madalene has been a featured speaker or trainer at many conferences and trainings including the American Medical Association (AMA), the Center for Asian Pacific American Women, Virginia Leadership Institute, Netroots Nation, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), and numerous other organizations and non-profits.

She has spent her entire professional political career working to bring diversity to the political process and nurturing candidates and staff as they move forward in bringing political change. The Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce awarded Ms. Mielke with its National Community Service award for her work in mentoring and promoting Vietnamese American civic participation.

Madalene is a proud graduate of Tulane University, Newcomb College. She serves as a mentor through a variety of collegiate mentoring programs including the Newcomb College Institute Women to Women Mentoring Program and Georgetown University’s Politics Mentorship Program.

Maeley Tom
Former Chief Administrative Officer, California State Assembly
Committee of 100 Member

Maeley, a 20 year staff veteran at the State Capitol, has been recognized for holding the unique distinction of breaking the glass ceiling twice in both houses of the California State Legislature by being the first and only ethnic minority woman to serve in the two highest administrative staff positions of both houses of the State Legislature, Chief Administrative Officer of the Assembly and subsequently, Chief of Staff to the President of the Senate.

For decades Maeley has dedicated herself to giving voice to an under-represented community, leading by example, and her actions and accomplishments became inseparable from the rise of the Asian American political community during the 70’s to the 90’s.

A recipient of two presidential appointments, she was the first Asian American woman to serve as a Deputy Campaign Manager of a U.S. presidential campaign, the first Asian American to serve on the California State Personnel Board and the first non-elected Asian American to serve on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee. She served on the Board of Trustees of the CalPERS pension fund and co-founded the Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM). She is also a member of Committee of 100.

She is the author of a recently published memoir “I am not who you think I am.”

▦ Moderator and Chair of the Committee of 100 Asian American Career Ceiling Initiative:
Peter Young
CEO and President, Young & Partners
Committee of 100 Member

Peter Young is CEO and President of Young & Partners, a boutique investment banking firm focused on the life science and chemical industries. He manages the firm and is actively involved in client transactions and financings. Under his leadership, Young & Partners has established and maintained its position as a highly regarded firm serving the corporate strategy, M&A, restructuring and financing needs of clients worldwide. He was previously head of industry groups at Salomon Brothers, Schroders and Lehman Brothers, a senior private equity executive with J.H. Whitney & Co. and a senior member of Bain & Co., the corporate strategy firm.

Mr. Young received a BA in Economics from Yale, an MS in Accounting from NYU, and MBA from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a Baker Scholar. He is a CPA and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He serves on a number of boards of directors, both corporate and non-profit and is a board member of Société de Chimie Industrielle, a leading life science and chemical industry non-profit organization and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Pharmaceutical Executive.

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