2023 Professional Asian American Network Leadership Forum

United We PAAN.

A look inside the annual Professional Asian American Network (PAAN) Leadership Forum.

May 25, 2023

Well-timed to coincide with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Professional Asian American Network (PAAN) business resource group kicked off its 18th annual leadership forum this week at our corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Md.

The theme for this year’s event was United We PAAN: Stand Together, Rise Together, Ready Together.

“I recently became a manager, so United We PAAN means setting the direction for my team, so we’re all peddling the same way,” said Casey Lu, multi-functional engineering & science associate manager and leadership forum co-chair. She continued, “but on a larger scale it means bringing together members of the Asian American and Middle Eastern population at Lockheed Martin to work collectively to break the bamboo ceiling.”
Casey Lu
Shamala Littlefield

The two-and-a-half-day event provided an opportunity for PAAN members and allies to focus on career development for Asian American leaders, celebrate authenticity and build relationships.

“I hope that during this conference attendees are able to find their peers and flourish, but also a huge component is that PAAN supports leadership development, and we want attendees to take that development and apply it back to their day-to-day job,” said Shamala Littlefield, vice president, international contracts, and industrial development and leadership council co-chair.


Highlights of the forum included a sneaker ball, cultural performances including taiko drums, Thai dance, and Bollywood dancers, a night of karaoke, leadership development workshops, keynote speakers and the PAAN awards ceremony. 

Sneaker Ball


The business resource group develops Asian-American talent for leadership roles within Lockheed Martin. The organization provides opportunities for personal and professional growth and career development that benefits both the employee and the corporation.

“One of the biggest strengths of business resource groups like PAAN is having difficult conversations and having those types of conversations allows people to bring their authentic self to work each day,” said Ken Khamphoumy, systems engineer and PAAN Space chair.

Historically, Asian American leaders have been underrepresented in aerospace and defense and this forum gives employees a place to come together and express their voices.

Long shot


Lu on why she joined PAAN: “My original intent for joining PAAN was to find people who looked like me,” she said, “but PAAN has provided so much more, I’ve been able to meet and network with different levels of individuals and for me, it gives me a sense of home.”

“As a leader in this business, PAAN has really helped me understand other people’s points of view, our business resource groups let you see from other people’s eyes, and that’s easier to do with a group as opposed to one on one,” said Littlefield.

To learn more about our inclusive company culture check out the links below.