OKLAHOMA CITY — The Greater Oklahoma City Asian Chamber of Commerce kicked off its inaugural year on Wednesday.
The new chamber is the culmination of decades of growth for Oklahoma’s thriving Asian American and Pacific Islander community, recognized by city and state leaders as playing a critical role in Oklahoma’s economy.
The Greater Oklahoma City metro area has seen a growing population of over 50,000 Asian Americans, with over 5,000 businesses generating $1.25 billion in sales tax revenue and $203 million in payrolls, according to data compiled by the new chamber.
“Residents of Asia, America, and the Pacific Island have made a tremendous impact in the state of Oklahoma and across the country, serving in key leadership roles at the local, state, and national levels, directing corporations, making breakthroughs in science and technology, building corporations, in our Serve in the military, serve in public office, excel in sports, the arts, education and more,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt, one of a long list of state and local leaders attending the chamber opening Wednesday.
Around 100 guests were expected at the opening event; Instead, about 200 business and government executives crowded the Grand House Bistro at 2701 N Classen Blvd. Attendees included Stitt, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, Attorney General Gentner Drummond and US Rep. Stephanie Bice.
For decades, the area near NW 23rd Street and Classen Blvd. in Oklahoma City is home to a thriving Vietnamese business district known to locals as Little Saigon. The chamber launch took place during the 16 days of the Lunar New Year, an event typically celebrated in the district with fireworks and dance performances.
VisitOKC highlights Oklahoma City’s Asian District, which emerged when “an influx of Vietnamese immigrants in the 1970s created a center known today for its Asian fusion cuisine” where visitors “will find some of the best Asian restaurants in OKC, including authentic Vietnamese cuisine to rival anyone has found this side of the Pacific.”
But the district is currently home to companies that are leaders in a variety of industries, including commercial and residential real estate, investing, legal services, and more.
“We started in early 2022 with a small group of entrepreneurs from diverse companies and backgrounds and quickly grew into a strong and passionate team of prominent business leaders who serve as board and committee members,” said Scarlet Le-Cao, the first female president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Greater Oklahoma City.
“Asian people are incredibly diverse, and we want to preserve our cultural heritage and support the economic development of Asian communities in the greater Oklahoma City area,” Le-Cao said. “It is vitally important to represent, represent and empower our communities with valuable tools for their businesses and professions.”
Greater Oklahoma City’s new Asian Chamber of Commerce is designed to connect, empower and advocate for Asian businesses and professionals throughout Greater Oklahoma City, Le-Cao said.
“Our values value diversity, innovation, integrity, teamwork, and communication, and we are excited to grow, serve, and support our Asian community as an organization,” said Le-Cao.
“The Asian community has grown significantly and has made a notable impact on our neighborhoods and local economies,” Holt said. “This special Lunar New Year celebration not only marks a new beginning for the Chamber and our city, but also fosters unity, spurs innovation, and fosters economic growth.”
“The Asian American and Pacific Islander community is growing rapidly and is already having a positive impact throughout Oklahoma City,” said Bice, who represents Oklahoma’s fifth district in Congress. “The Greater Oklahoma City Asian Chamber of Commerce will empower businesses and create new growth opportunities throughout Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district,” said Bice.
The founding board of the Greater Oklahoma City Asian Chamber of Commerce includes Le-Cao, President; Mary Nhin, Vice President; Victoria Tran, Vice President; Chante Sourignavong, Treasurer; and Ernest Abrogar, secretary.
Other board members include Cassandra Kalancha, Education Programs Committee Chair; Mydazjah Petties, Chair of the Events Committee; Thao Nguyen-Pham, Chairman of the Membership Committee; Thuan Hieu Nguyen, Chair of the Advocacy Committee; Valorie J Filippo, Board Member; Tasneem Ahmad Al-Michael, Board Member; Mike Hoang, Board Member; Jacqueline Sit, Chair of the Marketing Committee; Justin Le, Board Member; and Victor Flores, Chair of the Fundraising Committee.
The Advisory Board includes Roy Williams, Meg Salyer, Ban Nguyen, Nathan Cao and Robert Palmer.
Chamber founding sponsors include Paycom, Chesapeake, Jimmy’s Egg, OKC Thunder, Super Cao Nguyen Market, OG&E, First National Bank, Gooden Group, Full Sail Capital, Nhinja Sushi & Wok, Ninja Life Hacks, True Sky Federal Credit Union, Tinker Federal Credit Union, Stride Bank, Provident Care, THN Insurance, CMM Financial, Navaid Health, and Neuroradiology & Pain Solutions of Oklahoma.
To join the chamber, become a sponsor, or learn more, visit asianchamberokc.com.