Nanxi Liu, co-founder and CEO of Enplug, Inc., gives the keynote speech at SCE’s 11th annual AAPI Heritage Month celebration.

Kim Yamasaki, CAUSE executive director, and Charlie Woo, CAUSE board chair, accept SCE's Community Partnership Award.

Thomas Suh (left) and James M. Lee, both with LTL Attorneys LLP, accept SCE’s Diverse Business Enterprise Award.

Ariel Fan, Brighton Management energy operations manager, at SCE’s 11th annual Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration.

Tech CEO Talks Success, Determination at AAPI Heritage Month Celebration

Nanxi Liu is keynoter at the annual SCE event that recognizes business and community partners.

  • By Susan Cox
  • May 10, 2016

Nanxi Liu has never let limited resources hold her back.

Born in rural China with no running water and separated from her parents until she immigrated to the U.S. at 5, Liu lived in subsidized housing with her family and participated in her school’s free lunch program. She eventually learned English and figured out ways to get “cool stuff” like her friends.

Playing piano led her to competitions and prize money she used to buy her first car. She paid her way through UC Berkeley — earning straight A’s — by entering beauty pageants with scholarship awards.

“I’ve won tens of thousands of dollars doing pageants,” said Liu, CEO and co-founder of Enplug, Inc.

She admits to choosing “quirky paths” toward personal and professional success. A visit to a dive bar in Colorado, where she met a “cute guy” while a college senior, resulted in them co-founding a successful startup that develops polymers that enable vaccines to survive without refrigeration.  

Her latest startup, Enplug, is the No. 1 open software for digital displays that let businesses manage and distribute content. The award-winning software is used by startups and Fortune 500 companies around the world, including malls, stadiums, hotels and banks.

“What I’ve learned through building random things is never be afraid to ask for anything or to talk to people you want to talk to,” said Liu. “I have no shame. When you do business or you’re trying to start your business you have to just not be afraid at all to getting embarrassed. I’m used to getting embarrassed all the time.”

Her funny, unapologetic stories of self-determination and success resonated with 200 guests attending the 11th annual Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration. The event celebrates SCE’s business and company partners and recognizes AAPI energy-efficient champions.

The month-long May celebration commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843 and marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

“Having this celebration helps us to recognize the importance of this community’s contributions to Southern California, the state, to the nation,” said Pedro Pizarro, SCE president. “In today’s economy, we really believe that workforce diversity and inclusion are just critical to help us succeed and serve our customers.”

Serving one of the most diverse regions in the country, he added, enables the utility to benefit from a variety of perspectives, backgrounds and opinions that help SCE better understand its customers.

During the program, SCE recognized the following 2016 AAPI award recipients:

  • Brighton Management (Energy Efficiency Participation Award), a Chinese-owned company that owns or operates 45 major hotels based in Irvine.
  • Center for Asian Americans Unified for Self Empowerment (Community Partnership Award) is focused on transforming lives and meeting the diverse needs of the AAPI community through active engagement in philanthropic activities.
  • LTL Attorneys LLP (Diverse Business Enterprise Award) is one of the country’s largest minority and women-owned law firms whose attorneys serve on boards of nonprofits, volunteer their time with local community agencies and work on high-profile pro bono cases.

Leave a Comment

We welcome your feedback and comments. We ask that you please keep them constructive, civil and respectful. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother, then there is a good chance it falls outside of our guidelines. Please read our comment policy here.

Comments

Related Stories

Celebrating Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

Leading and Lifelong Learning Through Education

Leading and Lifelong Learning Through Education

Overcoming Long Odds in the Central Valley

Overcoming Long Odds in the Central Valley

Top Stories

What to Include in Your Outage Preparedness Kit

What to Include in Your Outage Preparedness Kit

INFOGRAPHIC: Energy-Saving Tips for Different Types of Businesses

INFOGRAPHIC: Energy-Saving Tips for Different Types of Businesses

Energy-efficient Equipment Helps Build a Better Hamburger

Energy-efficient Equipment Helps Build a Better Hamburger

Edison Energy Group and its subsidiaries are not the same company as Southern California Edison, the utility, and they are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

© 2017 Edison International

© 2017 Edison International

Download and Use Policy

This Site is owned by Edison International. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the content featured or displayed on this Site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, data, photographic images, moving images, sound, illustrations, computer code, trade marks and logos and the selection and arrangement thereof (referred to in this section as the "Content") is owned by Edison International, its licensors or its third-party image partners and all rights in relation to the Content are reserved. All Content is protected by copyright, trade dress, moral rights, trade mark rights and other laws relating to the protection of intellectual property. You may use the Content for your personal, or news-related, non-commercial use, but you may not otherwise reproduce, modify or in any way commercially exploit the Content.

Accept Decline