InterVarsity's Plan for a Culturally Diverse Staff


By Helen Lee

The campus ministry has pioneered intentional, personalized training for Asian American leaders.

Kathy Khang still remembers the moment she was invited to join The Daniel Project (TDP), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s (IVCF) first leadership development program for Asian American staff. “I was floored that IVCF wanted to invest in me as a leader—an Asian American, a woman, a mother of three young kids, a wife. Then I cried because I thought, I cannot make this happen—the travel, the logistics of childcare. It didn’t seem possible.”

Khang discussed her concerns with her then-supervisor Greg Jao. He asked Khang’s teammates, “How can we help support Kathy to accept this opportunity?” Her colleagues volunteered to cover every logistical challenge, from childcare to providing meals to transportation for Khang’s three kids to school and activities. “For the organization and my staff team to . . . invest in the longevity and development of an Asian American colleague—I realized, This is my place. These are my people,” Khang says. More than a decade later, Khang is still on staff, serving as IVCF’s regional multiethnic ministries director.

It’s this kind of intentional, personalized effort that IVCF has used to encourage Asian American employees, most notably with its TDP program. In the early 2000s, IVCF’s then-national director of Asian American Ministries, Paul Tokunaga, had been reading Jim Collins’s best-selling Good to Great, which describes the “Level 5 Leader” as an ideal archetype in “great” companies. “Those same qualities are often found in Asian American leaders—that blend of personal humility and professional will. But our Asian American staff weren’t getting …

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