The Board of Directors of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics Inc. (LEAP) has announced the unanimous election of Linda Akutagawa as president and chief executive officer, effective Nov. 1.
LEAP is a national non-profit organization dedicated to achieving full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders through leadership empowerment and policy.
Akutagawa will succeed J.D. Hokoyama, who is retiring and will remain as president and CEO through the transition.
“We are proud to announce the appointment of Linda Akutagawa as our next CEO as LEAP approaches its 30th anniversary,” remarked Margaret Ashida, board chair of LEAP. “Linda personifies LEAP’s philosophy that leaders can retain their unique cultures, identities and values while developing new and vital skills that will make them effective leaders within their own organizations, their communities, and the broader society. She brings a unique combination of next generation vision, deep knowledge of API communities, and proven track record.
“We also thank J.D. for the powerful legacy of his timeless vision in founding LEAP, tireless leadership for the API community, and selfless commitment to a successful executive transition.”
The selection process was based on a national search coordinated by LEAP’s Executive Transition Committee, chaired by Ashida.
“It has been my privilege to be a founder and leader of LEAP and to work with so many dedicated people,” Hokoyama said. “I am delighted that Linda will be the next president and CEO. She will bring passion, enthusiasm, and energy to her new position. Her first-hand knowledge and involvement in all of LEAP’s programs and events over the past 19 years is an invaluable asset. I am excited about LEAP’s future and look forward to the direction the organization will take under her leadership.”
Currently LEAP’s senior vice president for resource and business development, Akutagawa led the strategic planning, development and launch of the new e-Learning Series announced last May. Her experience ranges from innovative community programs to the corporate sector to higher education.
“I am deeply appreciative of the LEAP Board’s faith and trust, J.D’s continued encouragement and the LEAP staff’s strong support in me to lead this organization to a new level and a new chapter in LEAP’s history,” said Akutagawa. “I’m honored and excited to be elected president and CEO, and I look forward to working with LEAP’s passionate and dedicated board, staff and supporters to implement a clear strategy of growth and continue growing Asian and Pacific Islanders for decades to come.
“It’s a privilege for me to follow in the footsteps of J.D. Hokoyama, one of the visionary founders of LEAP and someone who has given back so much to the Asian and Pacific Islander community for more than 30 years.”
Akutagawa serves as vice chair of the Board of Directors of Boat People SOS California; vice president for professional development and events of the Asian Women Leadership Network; a director of Japanese American Community Services; a founding member of the Corporate Asian American Employee Network; a Steering Committee member of the Asian Jewish Initiative; and an Advisory Board member for the National Association of Asian American Professionals, Orange County Chapter.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international business with a minor in economics from California State University Los Angeles.
On the Web: www.leap.org