LEAP’s fearless duo fight against inequity. / by Greg Monaco

Pictured from L: LEAP President & CEO Linda Akutagawa, your humble coffee hound, and LEAP Development Director Nancy Yap. Linda likes her coffee with a more than a splash of cream. Nancy takes hers black and painfully caffeinated.

Pictured from L: LEAP President & CEO Linda Akutagawa, your humble coffee hound, and LEAP Development Director Nancy Yap. Linda likes her coffee with a more than a splash of cream. Nancy takes hers black and painfully caffeinated.

A bold vision. A clear mission.

LEAP stands for Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, but what it truly means is advocating for and developing Asian and Pacific Islanders who are dramatically underrepresented in leadership roles. For example, only 3.7% of board seats in the Fortune 500 are filled by Asians and Pacific Islanders—that’s 209 out of 5,670 seats. Unacceptable numbers! As you can see, LEAP still has plenty of work to do. This is a mission worth supporting. Learn more or contribute here.

How LEAP helps leaders break through.

Since its inception back in 1982, LEAP has been unwilling to let inequity remain the norm. Linda and Nancy have been leading the charge on perfecting an array of programs designed to help Asians and Pacific Islanders not only embrace their heritage but lead with new power and purpose.

This part of the LEAP story has been one of constant innovation and evolution. LEAP are masters inside the classroom with magnetic instructors and a vibrant alumni community. But, amid all the groundbreaking work, one part of LEAP stayed absolutely put—their brand was stuck in a rut. LEAP looked dated. Which gave the impression that time passed them by—unfortunate when the opposite is true.

Linda reached out to my talented designer friend Chez Bryan Ong, who in turn facilitated a meeting between Linda, Nancy, and I. “Overdue for a rebrand” is what Linda said when we first spoke. And when I saw LEAP’s tribute to 1987, I thought “overdue” was an understatement. Linda and Nancy liked our path for LEAP’s rebrand, and Bryan and I were brought on board shortly thereafter.

After a battery of exploratory interviews, we facilitated group discussions for two full days in Los Angeles with LEAP’s board and leadership. And here’s where it gets interesting.

As Bryan and I looked around the room, we saw that many of the leaders and board members were LEAP alumni. Most had taken part in LEAP’s programs and were so inspired, they signed on in the form of volunteering nights and weekends to further LEAP’s mission.

That’s what I call passion in action!

Bryan and I saw an opening in the LEAP story. We thought, why don’t we capture the love and enthusiasm that LEAP participants feel for the organization?

And this seed of an idea grew into a colorful story about LEAP’s impact, which you can see in this brand video, and on their new website. We have no doubt that LEAP’s impact on the individual will eventually work its way up and into more top-level leadership roles such as C-suite positions and Fortune 500 board seats. If you feel the same, and would like to contribute to an organization on the forefront for Asians and Pacific Islanders, donate here.