Ms. Belkis Leong-Hong represents the American dream that has brought people to this nation’s shores for centuries. She is a first generation Chinese American who fled the rise of Communism in both China and Cuba, served a distinguished 30 year career in the U.S. government, established and runs a thriving company, and serves as a fierce advocate of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
As a former general officer-equivalent senior executive in the Department of Defense (DoD), Ms. Leong-Hong has held a number of high-level positions that include serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence, where she managed a multi-billion dollar portfolio in Command and Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence programs, and was responsible for the financial planning, programming, budgeting, and resources allocation of these programs. She also previously worked in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller), where she led a major Department of Defense wide initiative for Management reform and business process re-engineering. One of the key achievements resulting from this initiative was the development of the Enterprise Architecture for Accounting and Finance for the Department. During her 30 years of public service, Ms. Leong-Hong established her credentials as a strategist and a change agent. In addition to her management expertise, she is an acknowledged expert in database management, data administration, knowledge management, business transformation and strategies, and software engineering.
Since her retirement from Federal service, Ms. Leong-Hong has dedicated herself to growing her company and giving back to her professional community and the AAPI community. She is the Founder, President, and CEO of Knowledge Advantage Inc., (KAI) a woman-owned small business specializing in delivery of a wide array of expertise on Information Technology And Knowledge Management Solutions, Program Management And Analysis, Strategic Business Initiatives, Leadership Development, and Workforce Initiatives. Her clients include Government agencies, and Fortune-500 companies. In the 16 years since establishing the company, she has guided KAI on a path of steady growth—under her leadership, the company has almost doubled its revenue each year for the past five years.
As an active leader in her professional community, Ms. Leong-Hong sits on corporate boards as well as several non-profit and appointed boards. She currently serves on the National Defense University Board of Visitors; she was also appointed to the State of Maryland’s Federal Facility Advisory Board; she was appointed to be co-chair of the Cybersecurity Workforce committee; also appointed as Commissioner of the Maryland Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence; the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board; the State of Maryland’s BRAC and Minority Business Advisory Board; the University of Maryland Medical Systems Corporate Board; Senator Mikulski’s Military Academy Admission Review Board; the NBC4 Community Advisory Board; founding member of the Board of Directors of AAGEN; the board of directors of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA International). She is also the Women in Technology Past President, AFCEA (Northern Virginia Chapter) Past President, and Organization of Chinese Americans (Washington, D.C. Chapter) Past President.
Ms. Leong-Hong’s true passion, however, is devoted to strengthening the AAPI community, ensuring that AAPIs have “a seat at the table” regardless of whether that seat is in the corporate board room, on Capitol Hill, or in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. Ms. Leong-Hong’s focus on supporting the AAPI community began in the 1990s when she, and a handful of like-minded Asian American Senior Executives from across the Federal Government established the Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN). Their mission, which AAGEN continues today, is to promote, expand and support AAPI leadership in Government. After retiring from the Federal Government, friends of Ms. Leong-Hong who were political appointees in the Clinton Administration got her interested into Democratic politics and got her involved in the 2000 Presidential Campaign. Shortly after, the party appointed Ms. Leong Hong as a Democratic National Committee (DNC) at-large member in 2001. In 2005, after Congressman Mike Honda encouraged her to run, Ms. Leong-Hong was elected as the DNC AAPI Caucus Chair, a position that she continues to hold today. Much of Ms. Leong-Hong’s time is focused on expanding the reach and influence of AAPI communities by building a permanent infrastructure for their public and political outreach. She does this by developing AAPI caucuses across the country at the state level. She believes these efforts will help make AAPI voices become part of a larger conversation in politics.
Ms. Leong-Hong is a mathematician and computer scientist by training; she holds a BS degree from Hunter College and a MPA in Executive Management from American University; certificates from Harvard’s Kennedy￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼ School of Government and Syracuse University. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the very prestigious Presidential Rank Meritorious Service Award, the DOD Distinguished Service Medal, the DOD Meritorious Service Medals, Oak Leaf clusters, the GSA Excellence in Management and Administration, the Professional Woman of the Year Award from NAPAW, the Governor of Maryland’s Citation for Outstanding Service, the AFCEA International Leadership Award, and AAGEN’s Stan Suyat Leadership Award, the AAGEN Sustaining Corporate Leadership Award, MEA Magazine’s “50 Women of Influence and Power” Award, PPALM’s Chairman’s Distinguished Public Service Award, and the Connected International Meeting Professionals Association Distinguished Asian Leader Award.
Corporate Biography from company website:
“Meet Bel Leong-Hong: National Political Operative and Voice for the Asian American Community”, MyMCMedia: Montogmery Community Media, by Tonia Bui
“Bel Leong-Hong among ‘50 Women of Influence & Power’”, Asian Fortune News, by Jennie L. Ilustre
“Board of Visitors, National Defense University, 17-18 November 2014,” pp 9-10.
“Asian Heritage Month – Bel Leong-Hong NBC4 Interview”