AAGEN

Asian American Government Executive Network

June 1, 2024

An Interview with our Chair

Dr. Jiashen You joined the government after he had earned his PhD degree in Statistics at UCLA, California. He worked for a few government agencies over the past few years. Now he serves as the Chief Data Officer and Director of Enterprise Data and Analytics at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He often characterizes his office as the “data brain” of the EEOC, as it is responsible for nearly all evidence-building and reporting activities to support an agency of about 2,300 FTEs dedicated to protecting Americans’ employment rights.

How long have you been a member of AAGEN?

I joined AAGEN in October 2016, shortly after starting as a GS-14 statistician at the Department of Homeland Security. At the 2019 AAGEN Leadership Workshop, I met several Board members, including the charismatic Ellen and AAGEN’s co-founder, Bel. They convinced me that it was never too early or late to get involved and contribute to AAGEN's growth and continued success.

Dr. Jaishen You

Dr. Jiashen You

Why did you join AAGEN?

AAGEN’s mission resonates deeply with me. It is exceedingly heartening to know that over 30 years ago, a small group of Asian American government executives, despite their diverse cultural, educational, and occupational backgrounds, recognized the critical need for a unified voice for all Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander senior leaders in the highest echelons of the federal government. Fun fact: AAGEN has the longest history among its peer affinity groups.

Fast forward to today, we have graduated 13 cohorts of the AAGEN Senior Executive Service Development Program, and hundreds of AAGEN champions and SES DP alumni amplify the message of diversity, equity, and inclusion, making the federal government a little bit better everyday. To me, the best way to honor our founding members’ legacy is to continue building on and expanding AAGEN’s success, adapting to the evolving leadership needs of a mid-21st century modern federal workforce.

What is your leadership focus as AAGEN Chair?

I value the leadership opportunity and strive to support as many committees as possible. For the past five months, I have focused on the Program and SES Development Program Committees. We successfully completed the annual leadership workshop with a theme of “Identity, Integrity, and Influence - How to Lead in Uncertain Times”, and graduated 2023-2024 SES DP cohort in May. In the next 5-6 months, I plan to shift my attention to the Membership, Outreach, and Communication Committees. We just finished the one-day strategic retreat discussingAAGEN missions and strategic goals. Stay tuned for a series of coming membership events.

If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose and why?

If I could choose anyone as a mentor, I would choose Norman Mineta. He was the first person of Asian descent to achieve the title of Secretary, serving as both the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce. Remarkably, he served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, showcasing his ability to transcend partisan divides. Mineta's distinguished career in public service, resilience, and visionary thinking are incredibly inspiring. His pioneering efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion, along with his profound impact on policy and community, make him an ideal mentor. I would particularly value his tips on bringing people together and fostering bipartisan collaboration, as these skills are essential for making a meaningful and lasting impact in one’s career and society.


What advice would you give to someone if you were their mentor?

This has always been a reliable piece of advice: regardless of your grade level, I advocate for having a personal Board of Directors.

  1. Mentor: A person one grade level above you who can advise on navigating the agency's culture and career advancement in general.
  2. Sponsor: Someone 2-3 levels above who knows about your professional achievements and is willing to use their influence to advocate for you.
  3. Coach: A peer, family member, or friend who is a good reflexive listener, willing to spend time with you and help identify solutions to career and life issues.
  4. Advocates: Peers and champions who speak highly of you in places outside your immediate office.
  5. Lastly, I believe it's valuable to include a therapist in the mix. Leading people at work (while balancing everything else in life) can be challenging, especially when facing resistance to change. An outside voice can help you filter out the noise and focus on what truly matters to you.

We wish AAGEN success in achieving its mission under Dr. You’s leadership, and are looking forward to another great new year!

Overview of the 2023-2024 AAGEN Senior Executive Service Development Program (SESDP)

The 2023-2024 AAGEN SES DP cohort consisted of 19 members coming from a variety of backgrounds and government agencies.It had four sessions of 2 or 3 day programs over the past year. Some of the many highlights of the training include:

◦ Human Capital Management and The Future of Work

◦ The Art of Negotiation

◦ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

◦ Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and SES Requirements

◦ Leadership Training Course by Arbiter Organization

◦ ECQ/Resume/Cover Letter Training

◦ Mock interviews with feedback sessions

◦ Strategic communication training

◦ AAGEN Leadership Workshop


Each cohort worked on their individual project which links to one of their ECQs. In addition, they participated in 2-3 committee projects

(Technical Team, Communication and Outreach Committee, Shadowing Mentoring Program, Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

Certification, and Event Planning Committee). The planning and reviewing of individual and committee projects ran throughout the program and accumulated into the final presentations in the last day of the program. The cohort practiced a variety of skills and had great bonding experience over the course of the program.


   
 

2023-2024 AAGEN SES Development Program Cohorts


Success Stories

 NEW SES   Pinky Bojeva

Supervisory Patent Examiner

US Parent and Trademark Office


Namrata (Pinky) Boveja is currently serving as an Acting Deputy Director in the Office of Petitions and as a Supervisory Patent Examiner for Art Unit 3682 in the Business Methods section of Technology Center 3600 at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). At the USPTO, Pinky has also served as an Appeals Specialist at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board assisting Administrative Patent Judges in drafting written opinions on appeals. She is a licensed attorney in Maryland and the District of Columbia, has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and received her MBA from the University of Maryland College Park. Additionally, Pinky received her JD from the University of District of Columbia.


From Ms. Bojeva:

As a participant in the AAGEN SES DP, I had the opportunity to take classes in negotiations and executive presence, grow my professional network, improve my executive core qualifications, and practice my interviewing skills. I received a lot of encouragement from my cohort and the program administrators as I advanced through the SES selection process. After being selected for the SES position of a Technology Center Group Director at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it was great to celebrate my success with my peers in the AAGEN SES DP.

 


SES Mentoring Program

The mentoring program is one of the most beneficial components of the AAGEN SESDP. The AAGEN SESDP Senior Executive mentors are selected from over 200 Senior Executives across federal agencies. Because of this unique feature, the quality and depth of the executive mentoring offered through AAGEN Senior Executives are unparalleled.

The 2023 - 2024 AAGEN SESDP Mentoring and Shadowing Committee conducted mid-point online surveys of

mentors and mentees in January 2024. The mid-point surveys aimed to help the AAGEN leadership (1) understand how the mentoring experience was progressing at the time and (2) gain valuable insights on improving the AAGEN SESDP. Overall, the mentors and mentees reported positive experiences in the AAGEN SESDP Mentoring Program.

Testimonials from Mentors and Mentees on the program

Thanks to AAGEN for offering this valuable mentoring program. I enjoy giving back to the community through mentoring others – AAGEN SESDP Senior Executive mentor

I have had great opportunities serving as a mentor to amazing AAGEN SES candidates. I have really enjoyed serving as a mentor; this gives me an opportunity to pay forward and help the AAGEN community where I can, while it also enables me to make connections and learn from these amazing mentees. – AAGEN SESDP Senior Executive mentor

My mentor is very helpful and intentional in providing useful information and tips to motivate me to keep pushing and applying for SES positions. – AAGEN SESDP cohort member

Being able to have my mentor available and such an involved mentor has been very helpful in preparing me for my SES interviews and bouncing ideas off of him. He even called to help me when he was on vacation in another country. – AAGEN SESDP cohort member

 

Based on the survey results, the Mentoring and Shadowing Committee made a few recommendations for future improvements of the AAGEN SESDP. Their recommendations included:

  • Organize regular virtual and in-person networking events during the AAGEN SESDP, including a kickoff event and a mid-program review, to build a sense of community among participants.
  • Host a holiday party to facilitate informal mentor-mentee interactions and encourage bonding within the cohort.
  • Promote use of the newly developed AAGEN SESDP Mentoring and Shadowing guide

Success Stories

Honored '24 SES DP Cohort  Judy Malana  Captain, USN NDW Chaplain 

USN Captain Judy Malana is the daughter of immigrants. Her father was a Navy Sailor who served as a Filipino-cabin boy in the 1950's. She is the first Asian-American female Navy Chaplain and has served on active duty in ashore, afloat, and forward deployed units with the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard for over 27 years.

She is an alumna of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts, Design; Bethel Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity; the National Graduate School with a Master of Science, Quality Systems Management; Marine Corps University with a Master of Military Studies; and the U.S. Naval War College with a Master of Arts, National Security and Strategic Studies.

As a Women’s Policy Advisor for the Navy, Captain Malana was instrumental in foundation of a new enterprise-wide program

called the “Navy-Women’s Initiatives Team.” Established with 56 members appointed by Admirals representing all

communities and domains in the Navy, the program seeks to streamline concerns from Sailors in the fleet for actionable

policy changes and build a more inclusive military culture.

2023-2024 AAGEN SES Development Program Cohort Journey


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