Local Hero: Stephen Christopher Liu

Stephen Christopher Liu

"While professional and leadership development is about investing in yourself, we want our generation to understand that it is just as important to invest in our community. We believe that success is empty without concern and compassion for others. By mentoring these future leaders one member at a time, we see ourselves as that vital farm system that helps identify and groom the future 'rock stars' of the Asian American community."

In 1993, Stephen Christopher Liu knew there was a gap that needed to be filled. He wanted that served professionals in the APA community, a resource that connected members with those with more experience, and a center that housed the vast talents of its members for the betterment of the community.

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Armed with an ingenious sense of business and a knack for networking, Liu created the Asian Professional Exchange. Once an idea that was scribbled on a restaurant napkin, APEX has blossomed into a nonprofit professional development organization that serves a vibrant community of more than 9,000 members. Liu served as APEX's President and Executive Director from 1993 to 1997 while simultaneously working full-time. Liu is currently APEX's Founder/Chairman.

The purpose of APEX is to raise awareness about and to Asian Americans through community service, fellowship, charitable fundraisers, cultural events, professional networking and educational seminars. By combining diverse skills and resources to support common goals, APEX strives to benefit not only the Asian American community, but also society at large. Ultimately, APEX hopes to create a unified sense of community among all Asian Americans, here in the United States and abroad.

Marquee events have included the Community Leaders Reception, which is a powerful networking event that bridges young professionals with elected officials, community business leaders and APA legislative staff; the APEX Youth Olympics, which brings together at-risk youth for a day to promote teamwork and diversity within the community; the APEX Career Day and Mentoring Program, which provides a job fair, workshops, leadership training and networking opportunities for new graduates and young professionals; and the APEX Awards Gala that recognizes and honors prominent Asian American who are paving the way for future leaders. It bears to mention that because of Liu's involvement with the APA community, he created Drinks 'n Chatter (DnC), an informal, nonprofit 4,000 member social gathering group that raises financial support and awareness for mainly Asian American community-based organizations. Since 2004, DnC has helped raise more than $40,000.

APEX's success can be credited to Liu's entrepreneurial spirit and experience in the business and media world. Named early on by Transpacific/Goldsea Magazine as one of the "Top 40 Professionals to Watch," Liu has masterminded a number of innovative enterprises that have changed the face of the business landscape. On his latest venture, Privy.net, Liu serves as the CEO and "Chief Social Capitalist" of the invitation-only niche social network and online/mobile platform that targets a select group of transpacific executives and influential figures. In 1999, Liu was Co-Founder and President of Reelplay, Inc., an early streaming-video enabled B2B digital marketplace that catered to the global film and television industry. For two years in a row, Forbes Magazine named Reelplay as one of the "Top 200 B2B" e-commerce companies in their annual Best of the Web B2B Directory.

Liu owns interests in several other businesses including One Pixel Motion, a digital branding studio specializing in motion design and interactive media; HPI Emblem, a vertically integrated China-based emblem manufacturer serving the U.S. decorated apparel, fashion, promotional products, recognition and uniform markets; and Xing Xing, a Beijing-based venture-backed digital animation company specializing in 3D and Flash animation for film, television and games.

Although his plate seems full, Liu still finds time to serve on the boards and committees of various local community and entertainment organizations. Liu is also executive producer of his first feature documentary film, "Yours Truly, Miss Chinatown" which was funded in part by the PBS-affiliated Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). Most recently, Liu was named an "Emerging Leader" by the Asian Pacific Community Fund and was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America as a "Distinguished Citizen".

Liu received his master of business administration from the University of Southern California in 1998 and earned his bachelor of science of marketing from San Diego State University in 1991.


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