c sus .e du /s a c s t ate ma ga z in e | Fa l l 2 014 17
Pat Fong Kushida '85
President and CEO, Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of
Commerce and the California Asian Chamber of Commerce
FIRST JOB: Hostess and waitress at the Red Baron
restaurant in Sacramento
Sac State Magazine: What is the
chamber doing to be innovative?
Pat Fong Kushida: The typical
chamber of commerce follows
the old model: offering
mostly networking and some
workshops. But that model
is broken. We now have
the opportunity to connect
businesses directly to the
SSM: How are you connecting with small businesses?
PFK: We're using technology to be more efficient in delivering
services. Instead of reaching out to every small business every
time, we can be laser-focused in connecting specific businesses
to a specific need. So if, for example, the
builders of the new Kings arena are
looking for a drywall contractor who is a
certified small business, we can help make that
SSM: What are some other strategies for helping small
PFK: We are making it easier for small businesses to get bank loans.
By taking advantage of technology to do analysis, we can help
facilitate the business loan process, enabling small businesses to
obtain loan approval in as soon as 48 hours.
SSM: What are you doing for workforce development in the region?
PFK: To develop future leaders we created a project called
JumpStart 21 for local high school students. It offers a "soft skills"
curriculum: interpersonal communication, how to dress, time
management, etc. Once students pass the program, they can
qualify for internships. We're looking to expand the program to Sac
SSM: What are the attributes of a good leader?
PFK: The ability to lead from behind. And to stay true to yourself.
"Stay true to yourself."