Friday, April 21, 2023
11:00 am – 12:30 pm (PDT)
DEI initiatives are at a crossroads. While businesses have recognized the importance and value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, they have struggled to maintain momentum and live up to their DEI pledges. The calendar is rich with “Awareness Months” and other such calls to action, but what has been the net effect and what can companies learn from their successes and shortcomings? On the eve of the next Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month—celebrating its 45th year of recognition—our panel will discuss their lived experience, observations, and recommendations for AAPI awareness that translates into productive action the other eleven months of the year.
- Rajeev Majumdar, Managing Partner – Whatcom Law Group, PS; (prev) President – Washington State Bar Association
- Makalika Naholowa’a, Executive Director – Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.; President-Elect – National Native American Bar Assoc.; (prev.) Assistant General Counsel – Microsoft Corp.
- Michael Itti, Executive Director – CISC; (prev.) Executive Director – Washington State Commission on Asian-Pacific American Affairs
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Rajeev D. Majumdar – Rajeev D. Majumdar serves as the Managing Partner for the Whatcom Law Group, P.S, and is a past President of the 41,000 strong Washington State Bar Association. In 2015, he received the WSBA Local Hero Award for his work in improving public access to civil legal aid and advocating for homeless youth. He focuses his practice on real estate, civil litigation, and business-oriented law in Whatcom County. Rajeev also serves as the Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Blaine, and Bellingham’s Special Prosecutor for Mental Health Diversion Court, as well as an adjunct professor at Western Washington University teaching Rights, Liberties, and Justice in America. He holds masters degrees in public administration and international studies, and previously worked for the NNSA in Washington, D.C., helping to establish protocols of cooperation between nations to ensure the containment of weapons of mass destruction technology. His focus in serving the profession to make it a more inclusive and equitable one, as well as calling attention to the need for civil legal aid
Makalika Naholowaʻa – Makalika Naholowaʻa is the Executive Director at the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. NHLC is the only law firm in the world dedicated to Native Hawaiian rights. The firm is proud to serve as a legal and policy advocate for indigenous Hawaiians; a contributor to scholarship and educational programs regarding Hawaiian rights; and a rare institution where students and professionals can train and develop an indigenous rights practice in the US. Makalika is also the President-Elect of the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), Vice-Chair of the Board for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), and a member of the Hawai’i Access to Justice (ATJ) Commission.
Before joining NHLC in December 2021, Makalika worked for eight years at Microsoft Corporation, including as the leader of the company’s global trademark intellectual property team and Chief of Staff to the General Counsel. Over time Makalika managed multiple teams, including the Legal Operations, Law Firm Procurement, Pro Bono, and Trademark groups. Before Microsoft, Makalika practiced law handling IP and unfair competition matters at Perkins Coie LLP in Seattle.
Makalika holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School. As a student, she was a clerk for Tonya Gonella Frichener, while Ms. Frichener was North American Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Makalika also holds a B.S. in Mathematics with a Concentration in Computer Science from Arizona State University, where she received support from NIH and NSF-funded programs for research and study.
Michael Itti – Michael Itti (he/him) is the Executive Director of the Chinese Information & Service Center (CISC), a non-profit organization in King County, Washington that supports immigrants and their families by creating opportunities for them to succeed while honoring their heritage. He has a broad range of experience working in community, non-profit organizations, and government where he focused on advocacy, public policy, and civic engagement. Prior to joining CISC in 2018, Michael was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in 2013 as executive director of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) where he advised decision-makers on changes in program and law and served on numerous state task forces including the Governor’s Business Diversity Subcabinet. He previously supported Asian and Pacific Islander leaders in implementing strategies to promote student and family engagement in improving the quality of public education and served as a staff member in the Washington State House. During his tenure at CAPAA, the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health awarded the commission a Community Organization Recognition Award. Recently, he was named a “Top Contributor” to the Asian Community by the Northwest Asian Weekly and received a Community Voice Award for excellence in community leadership by the International Examiner.
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