In 1987, the United States Congress passed a proclamation declaring the month of March to be Women’s History Month. To celebrate this year, the staff at Committee of 100 sat down virtually with a few of our amazing female Committee of 100 Members for a blog series called Chinese American Women Shaping the World: A Special Q&A Series. In these interviews, Committee of 100 members will talk about their career paths, the challenges – and opportunities – in being a successful Chinese American woman in today’s society, as well as their hopes for the next generation of Chinese American women.
Committee of 100 recently spoke with Anna Mok, a Partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP; President & Co-Founder of Ascend; and Co-Founder of Ascend Pinnacle. During Anna’s distinguished career, she has served in various leadership roles including ones focused on clients, market growth, emerging services and DE&I. At Deloitte, Anna is a broad-based leader focused on leading prestigious companies headquartered across the globe in the advanced technology, healthcare, life sciences, fintech and consumer-oriented industries. She is currently the Asia Pacific Leader for the Risk and Financial Advisory business and a Global Lead Client Services Partner at Deloitte. She was the first Chinese American woman admitted to partnership at Deloitte, selected as a member of Deloitte’s Board Council and the CEO Advisory Partner Council.
Anna is the Co-Founder and current President and Board Chairman of Ascend, North America’s membership network of Pan-Asian business professionals, and the co-founder of Ascend Pinnacle, North America’s network of Pan-Asian corporate directors. Her impact extends beyond the AAPI community with other boards she currently serves on including the boards and advisory boards of the Commonwealth Club of California and the United Way Bay Area, both of which she served as past Board Chairman of and of the Asian Pacific Fund. In addition, she is the Co-chair of the Women CEOs in America Initiative, a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum, and a past board and executive committee member of the Committee of 100 and APIA Scholars.
Anna graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California and currently resides with her family in Northern California.
Committee of 100: What is one of your achievements that you are most proud of, which helped dictate the course of your career?
Anna: I think I am most proud of striving to build and grow businesses and community organizations that will have an impact well beyond my lifetime.
Committee of 100: What is a major lesson you learned from a failure or setback in your career, which also helped dictate the course of your career?
Anna: There is really no such thing as a failure. Some things may not have evolved as I had expected, but each time that has happened, I feel that I’ve become a stronger leader as a result of it. I’ve learned that I cannot and should not always try to control my career or outcomes. Part of the fun is being open to the journey and the different destinations that exploration leads me to.
Committee of 100: What topic/s do you feel are not being talked about enough when it comes to the advancement of women as leaders?
Anna: Women leaders always walk the tightrope of wanting to be accepted and treated as equals yet in many areas, especially as it relates to cultural and societal expectations, most of us know we aren’t treated as equals. I also think we need to do more work at an individual level and collective level on what equity and equality really means.
Committee of 100: What qualities do you see in the next generation of Chinese American women that brings you hope and joy for the future?
Anna: I have a daughter who is about to enter the professional workforce. She and the generations of women between her and I have certain privileges that I hope they will be able to leverage. There is much less debate about the power and contributions of women and there is much greater societal understanding about race and gender matters. The next generation of women have a much greater and stronger platform to build on where they can more fully express and share their views and perspectives. I hope they will use their voices for even greater good.
Committee of 100: If you could go back in time and give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would you say to the younger version of you?
Anna: I would worry less about what I don’t have and focus more on my strengths and advantages of being a Chinese American woman.
Committee of 100: Who is your inspiration and why?
Anna: My soon to be 90-year-old father. He was orphaned at a very young age and is “self-taught in all things life. Despite not having role models and parents, he was able to develop a set of principles and values for himself and our family. He has kept me grounded in who I am, what I stand for and what is most important to create a happiness and meaning in life.