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Blog: Ascend Fall Conference 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Ascend Canada develops skills and networks for tomorrow’s leaders at annual Fall Conference

Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative across many industries, and Ascend Canada is set on making it much more than a “check the box” exercise.  

“To get the full benefit of diversity, you need to empower your people,” said Kelvin Tran, President and Chairman of Ascend Canada. “Otherwise, all you’ve done is check the box on diversity by having different people sitting at your table but you have not embraced true inclusion.”


Ascend Canada regularly offers programming throughout the year to develop leadership skills, and provide mentoring opportunities to over 3,000 members. Last month, more than 400 people attended the Fall Conference in Toronto, one of Ascend Canada's annual marquee events.

This year’s conference featured a full day of learning and professional development with a strong focus on innovation. Technology, competition and new models of thinking and working are some of the changes that workplaces face these days. Conference speakers covered topics such as entrepreneurship, the importance of customer-focused thinking, and recruiting talented employees.

Roy Gori, Manulife’s president and chief executive officer, was a featured speaker at the conference. He shared his career journey, leadership advice and also offered his views on the importance of diversity of thought in the workplace.  When people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge learn from each other, it can create a successful workplace as it results in better business decisions, he said.

"Diversity and inclusion are critically important to our culture at Manulife and John Hancock, and our long-term success as an enterprise. And to truly understand and best serve our customers, we need to be as diverse as they are. We owe it to them, to ourselves and to our shareholders alike." said Gori.

As Tran says, Ascend Canada aims to empower its members with knowledge and resources, such as networking opportunities, to be successful and to embrace Asian culture in a Western world.

“In the Asian culture, we often want to demonstrate that we are self-sufficient. That is a very admirable quality but in life, no one can succeed on their own,” said Tran.  “It is okay to reach out to your network for help and to use them as sounding board for critical ideas. And along the way, you will learn to think differently and expand your horizon which will drive innovation.”

about Ascend

Ascend Canada was founded in 2012 to enhance the presence, visibility and influence of current and future Pan-Asian business leaders. Today, with the support of our more than 3,000 members and numerous corporate partners, our objectives are to develop the full potential of our members by leveraging our networks and providing programs and events that inspire, as well as educate. 

Vision: To have a diverse and inclusive Canada where pan-Asian talent can achieve its full potential.

Mission: Partner and progress with Canadian Organizations to develop and advance pan-Asian talent.

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