Ascend’s gala was held at Seattle’s Pier 66 Maritime Events Center on Sept. 21. Photo credit: Justin Hebert.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, Ascend Seattle Annual Gala hosted an experienceabove and beyond past galas.

Ascend is premier nonprofit with the mission of empowering its members to achieve career ambitions through mentorship. This chapter gathered some of Seattle’s top Pan-Asian leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs to raise awareness and funds for its program.

This year, the Seattle chapter of Ascend held their gala at Seattle’s Pier 66 Maritime Events Center. Two entertainers graced guests: One World Taiko, a contemporary Japanese Drum Ensemble, and “The X Factor US”’s Phillip Lomax, who charmed guests singing Frank Sinatra. Lomax said after the show: “It was a great night! I feel Ascend is a great organization for future Asian American leaders. And I feel proud to be associate with it.”

Ascend also hosted a spectacular pannel featuring  Shirish Nadkarni, Megan Usui, Brian Ma and Michael Parham.

Shirish Nadkarni is co-founder and CEO of Zoomingo, a mobile shopping app. When asked how he measured success, Nadkarni replied, “You have to really feel that you’re building will impact people’s lives.”

Megan Usui, a fitness manager at the Washington Athletic Club explained her key to success: “Be comfortable with the uncomfortable! Change up the rules.”
Brian Ma is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of, which helps consumers shop online using price predicting data. He was asked when a person knows to take a risk with investors’ money. Ma boiled it down: “You really need to understand what is going to sell in the market.”

The panel closed with Michael Parham, vice president and general counsel of Real Networks, offered his words of wisdom, starting with how he measures success: “Professionally, am I adding value to to my company? Personally, am I using my platform to make an impact?” To the audience, he motioned: “Come up with your own definition of success.”

Ascend is looking for both mentors and mentees to offer career guidance and coaching.

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