2023 AAPI Month Spotlight: Jo Ann M. Grant, CPCE

Jo Ann GrantHow long have you been a member of NACE? What drew you to NACE?
I have been a member and part of the Phoenix NACE Board of Directors since 2013. When I researched all the different organizations, NACE was most definitely the group I wanted to be a part of due to the inclusivity of all types of vendors. The association had off and on premise catering companies, photographers, DJs, planners, and others. It wasn't just planners or catering companies. They were also very welcoming and warm and so eager to have me be a part of the community.

What do you hope to see for the Asian community in events, in the coming years?
It is important for the events industry to promote diversity and inclusivity, including for the Asian community. This can include increased representation of Asian event professionals in leadership positions, more opportunities for Asians to showcase their cultural heritage in events, and addressing issues of discrimination and racism within the industry. A focus on promoting diversity in the events industry as a whole will ultimately lead to more inclusive and engaging events for all attendees.

How has NACE helped your career and business?
NACE has provided valuable resources for myself personally and professionally. Being a NACE member, they offer benefits such as access to industry-specific education, networking opportunities with fellow professionals, and potential client referrals. NACE also provides a CPCE certification program and resources for professional development, which has enhanced my professional credibility and skills to differentiate me to other wedding and event planners. Additionally, they advocate for the interests of our members and the industry as a whole, which has lead to positive changes and opportunities.

What does AAPI Month mean to you?
Being AAPI we get to celebrate the diverse cultures, heritage, and experiences of our people with roots in both Asia and the Pacific Islands who live here in the States. We get to highlight the intersectionalities and nuances within our diverse community and we have a chance to acknowledge the unique challenges and strengths we encounter. AAPI brings us all together under a common experience to celebrate our cultures and advance our rights and interests in society. 

What is one activity or dish from your Asian culture you think everybody should try? 
Hands down, lumpia!  Lumpia is a crispy Filipino spring roll. It's made with a thin spring roll wrapper, filled with veggies, meat, and seasonings, and then fried until crispy. It's served with a flavorful sweet and sour sauce and can be eaten as an appetizer or main dish.