The last year has magnified the challenges and divisions facing our community. But Orange County is stronger when we’re united—united in our diversity and in our passion to improve lives of everyone who lives here.
Cultures United is a new initiative to help promote conversation, collaboration, philanthropy, and unity. Informed and motivated by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement, we’re excited to launch the virtual Cultures United Conversation Series.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION SERIES
Brought to you by
- Discover similarities within our community
- Find pride in the different cultures that make up Orange County
- Learn about the challenges facing our most vulnerable communities
- Be inspired to take action
We will only be better together when we understand each other’s stories.
Save the Date for Our January Conversation
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2022
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM (PT)
As a special preview of the Americans and the Holocaust and Snapshots of Orange County in the 1940s: Spaces, Places, Faces exhibitions that will be shown at UCI Libraries, we are excited to present Lorelei Tanji, University Librarian, UCI Libraries and Krystal Tribbett, Curator of Orange County Regional History. This conversation will be moderated by Susan B. Parks.
Americans and the Holocaust focuses on the stories of individuals and groups of Americans who took action in response to Nazism. The exhibition will challenge visitors to consider the responsibilities and obstacles faced by individuals — from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to ordinary Americans — who made difficult choices, sought to effect change, and, in a few cases, took significant risks to help victims of Nazism even though rescue never became a government priority.
Snapshots of Orange County in the 1940s: Spaces, Places, Faces explores the cultural, economic, and political landscape of Orange County from its inception through World War II. While multi-cultural groups were setting roots before the war, military installations brought soldiers from all over the country to Orange County, changing the demographics, cultural norms, and expectations. This exhibit shares the stories of the spaces, places, and faces that transformed rural Orange County into a thriving metropolis.
CHECK OUT PAST CONVERSATIONS
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 1
This first event provided a candid start to conversations around diversity.
Sharing their own inspirational journeys, our three panelists, Ben Alvarado (Executive Vice President and Director of Core Banking, California Bank & Trust), Martha Daniel (CEO and President, Information Management Resources, Inc.), and Tam Nguyen (President, Advance Beauty College), also explained why they’re optimistic about the future of Orange County.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 2
Our Cultures United Conversation Series continued with a deeper look into the Vietnamese community in Orange County.
Our featured speakers Tam Nguyen, President, Advance Beauty College, Linda Nguyen, Director of Community Relations, 360 Clinic, Derrick Nguyen, Attorney At Law, Law Offices of Derrick H. Nguyen, and Anne Nguyen, a former Youth Career Connections intern, shared their experiences as Vietnamese-Americans, the model minority myth, how the Vietnamese community has navigated the pandemic, and the opportunities that are available for collaboration with other Asian-American sub-groups.
Despite differences in languages and backgrounds among the various ethnic and generational groups, there are similarities in the experiences we share living in Orange County.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 3
This Cultures United event provided an intimate look into the African-American community in Orange County.
Our featured speakers Martha Daniel, Information Management Resources, Inc.; Mayor Letitia Clark, City of Tustin; Dereck Moore, Building Maintenance of Tomorrow and 100 Black Men of Orange County; Starlerra Simmons, Advocate and Activist; and Doniel Sutton, Fastly, Inc. shared their experiences of growing up and living as African-Americans in Orange County, the challenges faced by the community regarding representation and equal access, and how we can acknowledge our differences while celebrating our similarities across cultures.
The conversation continued essential dialogue about equity, opportunity, and how we can help uplift each other as a community.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 4
Our Cultures United conversation yesterday highlighted the Latinx community in Orange County.
Featured speakers Ben Alvarado, California Bank & Trust, Dolores Arredondo, City National Bank, Jamie Ramirez, CSULB student, and Richard Sanchez, CalOptima, shared stories of their upbringing, social inequities experienced by the Hispanic population, and how culture plays a role in corporate/professional settings.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 5
This Cultures United event focused on our collective learnings over the past few months.
Our featured speakers and Cultures United co-chairs Ben Alvarado, California Bank & Trust, Martha Daniel, Information Management Resources, Inc., and Tam Nguyen, Advance Beauty College, along with moderator Susan B. Parks, Orange County United Way, reflected on the conversations we’ve had over the last few months, shared their learnings with one another, and discussed the work and actions we as a community can take to help make our community stronger.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 6
Our Cultures United conversation on May 27th took a closer look at education, diversity on campuses in Orange County, and the importance of cross-cultural relationships in our lives.
Featured speakers Tam Nguyen, President, Advance Beauty College, and Framroze “Fram” Virjee, President, California State University, Fullerton, reflected on their own experiences and cross-cultural friendship with one another, and what actions we as a community can take to help make our community stronger.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 7
This Cultures United conversation took a closer look at the importance of diversity in the workplace.
Our featured speakers Ben Alvarado, Executive Vice President and Director of Core Banking, California Bank & Trust, and Dilanthi De Alwis, Chief Financial Officer of Supply Chain Solutions, UPS, discussed ways to better engage employees through the conversation of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and also talked about how current events are impacting employers and employees in the workplace.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 8
Our Cultures United conversation on July 22nd took a closer look at minority-owned businesses in Orange County.
Featured speakers Martha Daniel, CEO & President, Information Management Resources, Inc., and Shirin Behzadi, CEO, Entrepreneur, Board Member & Business Advisor, discussed the ins and outs of being a minority-owned business leader, mother, and community leader inside and outside of the corporate setting.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 9
In the latest conversation, our featured speakers and Cultures United co-chairs, Ben Alvarado, California Bank & Trust, Martha Daniel, Information Management Resources, Inc., and Tam Nguyen, Advance Beauty College, along with moderator Susan B. Parks, Orange County United Way, led the way for an insightful and powerful discussion.
The conversation focused on sharing the cultural and community-wide connections we have with one another. Each of our co-chairs shared their key takeaways from previous conversations and how we can learn from the past and use these new findings to build stronger relationships within our community.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 10
In the latest conversation, featured speakers Nahla Kayali, Founder & Executive Director, Access California Services, and Susan B. Parks, President & CEO, Orange County United Way, led the way for a transparent discussion regarding refugees around the world and right here in Orange County.
Nahla, a Palestinian refugee from Syria herself, discussed Access California Services’ role in serving refugees, the journey of refugees in Orange County, the status and needs of Afghan refugees who are now arriving here, and how we, as a community, can better understand and empower these underserved populations.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 11
In commemoration of Veterans Day in November, our latest Cultures United Conversation highlighted our Veteran community in Orange County with a special panel of speakers who served in our armed forces and continue to give back to our community.
We were joined by Antoinette Balta, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Veterans Legal Institute®, Former Major, Marketing Officer, California State Guard, Justine Cromer,Director, Tierney Center for Veteran Services, Goodwill of Orange County, Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard, and Robert V. “Bobby” McDonald, President and Executive Director, Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran. They discussed how we can better support Veterans and their families through employment, housing, legal services, and mental and physical wellness.
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 12
In recognition of American Indian Heritage Month in November, we continued the conversation with our featured speaker, Joseph Quintana, Kewa Tribe, Vice President of Development, United American Indian Involvement, Inc., which is the largest non-profit human and health service provider for American Indians/Alaskan Natives in the City/County of Los Angeles. Mr. Quintana discussed the history and origin of Native people in Southern California and addressed the needs of the Native American community in relation to economics, policy development, housing, health care access, truth, racial justice, and equity. We also had the special opportunity to have an opening song performed by Phil Hale (Dine’) and hope dance performed by Sage Andrew Romero (Big Pine Paiute and Taos Pueblo).
CULTURES UNITED CONVERSATION 13
Thank you for sharing your holiday traditions with us! We hope you enjoyed hearing about the many traditions that communities across Orange County look forward to, celebrate, and cherish every year.
On behalf of Orange County United Way, thank you for joining us this year to learn about all of the cultures represented by our residents. We look forward to continuing the series in 2022.
CULTURES UNITED CHAIRS
Executive Vice President and Director of Core Banking, California Bank & Trust
Board of Directors, Orange County United Way
CEO and President, Information Management Resources, Inc.,
Board of Directors, Orange County United Way
President, Advance Beauty College
Vice Chair, Board of Directors, Orange County United Way
Susan B. Parks
President and CEO, Orange County United Way