Pat Fong Kushida is currently the President and CEO and founder of the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (CalAsian Chamber) and President and CEO of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, both chambers are the largest ethnic chambers in their respective footprints. She founded the CalAsian Chamber in 2010 and served as President and CEO of the regional Chamber since 1998.
Serving as President and CEO and founder of the CalAsian Chamber, Pat has built a best in class enterprise model utilizing innovation to build its eco-system of business, government and community partnerships to further inclusive economic development opportunities and give voice for California’s 600,000 AAPI small businesses.
With over 23 years of building business, community and government partnerships, Pat is a results oriented senior leader and operator who has strong organizational improvement experience; managing, training and mentoring cross-functional, cross-cultural, high-performance teams. Pat is an entrepreneur who understands the nexus of business, government and community to increase opportunities through effective advocacy efforts and expanded technical assistance programs for those disadvantaged communities where the majority of small ethnic businesses reside.
It is because of Pat’s leadership that the CalAsian Chamber is the largest ethnic chamber in California in terms of members and clients served, annual budget, and staffing level. Sparked by economic and political disenfranchisement and rising community need, CalAsian Chamber was launched in 2010 to give voice to the more than 600,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) businesses in the state and the people and communities they serve.
CalAsian Chamber continues to grow. Today its economic development, community development and advocacy programs serve all minority business enterprises in California, and Pat works with organizational partners both nationally, statewide and local to deliver on the mission.
Utilizing her extensive network of AAPI business partners which operate in all the nation’s middle-weight markets, CalAsian Chamber serves as the “backbone organization” for AAPI-serving groups by sharing information and data, organizing advocacy efforts at the state and national level, and delivering hands-on technical service to small businesses through economic and community development programs. Pat also serves on the board of National ACE, the US Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (ACE). This organization serves as a national voice for AAPI small businesses and AAPI entrepreneurs.
Examples under Pat’s leadership of CalAsian Chamber’s primary services and activities include, but are not limited to, access to capital, HR support, access to government and large corporate clients (i.e., supplier diversity), access to market and global supply chains, international trade, business strategy development, marketing and communications, and more recently, transitioning to a digital business model, with a special emphasis on language and cultural sensitivity for diverse and disadvantaged small business populations.
It is because of Pat’s long-standing and extensive experience in the operations and fiscal management of federal and state business assistance programs that in 2011, CalAsian Chamber won federal designation as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) for California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Nevada. Today, CalAsian Chamber continues to operate the SBTRC in addition to complementary federal and state small business technical assistance programs through its contracts with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Export Center, the State of California’s Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP) Small Business Innovation Center, the MBDA CARES Act Business Center, the City of Sacramento CARES Business Center, and is recognized as an affiliate organization to the Northern California Regional Business Development Center (SBDC).
Pat has led this organization with a strong results orientation. Through her efforts she has lessened barriers for thousands of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) in California, enabling them to access capital, start businesses and create jobs. Through April of 2021, the centers she oversees – the MBDA CARES Center has served 2,500 MBEs resulting in $4.6 million in capital and loan forgiveness. The SBTRC program connected 194 clients to contract opportunities worth a combined value of $334.5 million. The MBDA Export Center saw over $168.9 million in export and financial transactions from minority-owned firms. The TAEP program has served 1,339 MBEs resulting in $3 million in capital and 57 jobs retained.
Pat is laser focused on making a measurable economic impact for California’s underserved and minority business communities.
This year, as a result of Pat’s public policy efforts, the California State Legislature adopted Assembly Bill 915, which passed unanimously out of the State Assembly. AB 915 requires all California state agencies to report their diverse supplier diversity spend and meet small business goals.