Posted at 12:23 PM
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of current and past members of the Department of Commerce during Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
Guest blog post by George Mui, Senior Business Development Specialist, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
As a Senior Business Development specialist and global strategist for the Market Access team in the Minority Business Development Agency’s Office of Business Development, I’m responsible for developing market access programs for minority businesses in the area of international business development with a focus on domestic and international partnerships. I specialize in the Asia business market, but I also support our MBDA export and business centers across the nation and help ensure that all of our clients have fair and equal access to business development services, contracts, capital and markets. My role allows me to work directly with minority business enterprises (MBEs) to create more U.S. jobs across the nation that support the growth and sustainability of the American economy. It’s a role I take great pride in.
I joined the MBDA family in 2008 as a member of the MBDA Chicago Regional Office and came to the MBDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 2013.
In addition to my work with MBDA, I served as the Senior Advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAPPI) in 2015 and 2016. During my time with WHIAPPI, I initiated the “Doing Business in Asia,” program that leveraged successful Asian American businesses to lead export and trade promotion to their home countries. This concept was also incorporated in the MBDA Diaspora strategy.
Prior to joining MBDA, I served as the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center Director at the Asian American Alliance where I provided consulting services to small businesses in Chicago. I was also president of New World Connections, Inc., an independent consulting company specializing in international business development and professional training. I completed a successful career in the private sector at Lucent Technologies spanning 19 years as a software engineer, network architect, project manager, and finally as the Product Management and Marketing Director in the Data Communication Unit. While there, I grew my business unit from $120 million to $400 million in three years.
I am originally from Hong Kong and immigrated to America during my freshman year of high school and settled with my family in the South side of Chicago. I attended the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) where I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science. I currently serve on the IIT Alumni Board.
Although I’m based in Washington, D.C., I maintain close ties with many of my friends, family and colleagues back in Chicago. Community is at the core of who I am and I’m a people person by nature (as most of my MBDA colleagues will tell you). They’ll also probably tell you that I’m MBDA’s self-proclaimed selfie king, which is true. I always have my smartphone with me to capture a quick picture. Not to mention, it makes people smile. I work hard, but I think it’s also important to make time to have fun and find ways to connect with people.
Throughout my career, I’ve never forgotten my Chicago roots or my upbringing and I am an advocate for the Asian-American Community wherever I go. I served on the OCA National Board from 2009 to 2012 and completed two successful years as the OCA-Chicago Chapter president in 2010 and 2011 where I initiated the OCA-Scholarship fund, OCA-Chicago Mentoring for Asian American Professionals, the Asian American Community Leadership Summit and the Asian American Business Expo, all firsts for Chicago. In 2013, I created the Asian American Executive Network – a national wide advocacy group of Asian American professionals and entrepreneurs that grew to 300 strong. In 2011, I was inducted into the Asian-American Hall of Fame in Chicago for my community service work and I also received the Asian American Coalition of Chicago Chinese American Community Service Award and Asian American community service award from the Illinois Cook County Treasurer’s office in 2016.
I’m proud to be a member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and National Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage month is one of my favorite times of the year, because it allows the AAPI community to celebrate being part of America and showcase our contributions to American society. One of the ways I celebrated this year was by planning the 2017 National AAPI Business Summit. MBDA and the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) co-hosted this year’s event at the Department of Commerce on May 17. We had more than 200 AAPI business owners, leaders and partners from all over the U.S. attend our event, and that was a powerful moment for me. So many old friends, new friends, leaders, business owners and partners together in one place celebrating the AAPI business community and sharing our stories.
I was especially impressed with the young people who attended this year’s summit. They were passionate about developing their businesses, eager to learn and ready to share their ideas. If there’s one key piece of advice that I would give to young Asian-Americans, it would be to follow their passion and start their career in something they believe in and enjoy, rather than doing something that may be suggested by their parents or something that makes the most money. Discover where you can make the most positive impact and start there. Young people should also be open to trying career assignments in corporate, non-profit and government services. That’s why networking and connecting to the right mentors is so important in building a successful career. MBDA or Department of Commerce may be a good choice for someone interested in providing government services that support America’s economic development.
I believe in the mission of MBDA and I’m proud to be a part of the team.