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Lillian Tsai
About Lillian Tsai
Lillian A. Tsai, President
TsaiComms LLC
1500 NE Irving Street, Suite 410
Portland, OR 97232
971-327-0628

Lillian A. Tsai is founder and president of TsaiComms, LLC, a cross-cultural consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon, that specializes in bridging the cultural gap between East and West.

Lillian has lived and worked on three continents and her background in marketing and corporate communications includes more than 30 years of experience as a manager, communicator, speaker and trainer on multicultural team and communications issues. She is a sought-after speaker for local, state and national conferences, and has conducted training programs for hundreds of mid- to upper-level managers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Lillian’s unique skillset is a result of her Malaysian-Chinese upbringing and her extensive experience working with global corporations in marketing, communications, management, presentation skills, team building and employee communications. Combined, her skills and experience benefit audiences seeking training and assistance from a truly multicultural speaker.

She has trained and consulted with global companies such as Columbia Sportswear, ConMet, ESCO Corp., FedEx, Intel, Nike, Logitech, Paccess, Pepsico, Rohm and Haas, Royal Dutch Shell, Tektronix and TriQuint. In 2005, she trained 150 Port of Portland staff, including CBP, TSA, airlines personnel, managers and volunteers on “Customer Service for Chinese Travelers.” Her public and academic sector clients include: City of Portland, Housing Authority of Portland, Portland Community College, the Portland Development Commission, Washington County, Multnomah County Library, and Western Oregon University.

She has delivered speeches and workshops to many organizations including: PDXfx (a women’s executive forum in Portland, OR), Meadows Group, Prudential Northwest, ReMax, University of Idaho’s Frank Church Symposium on China, the office of Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Beaverton Chamber of Commerce, Customs & Border Protection, Tualatin Rotary Club, University of Oregon Law School China Seminar, Mount Hood Community College, MBA programs at the University of Portland, University of Phoenix, University of Washington and Marylhurst University.

EDUCATION & INTERCULTURAL QUALIFICATIONS

  • (Summer) Institute for Intercultural Communication, Portland, OR; July 2005-2008. Courses completed:
    • Foundations of Intercultural Communications
    • Teaching Intercultural Communications
    • Intercultural Teaching and Strategies for Asians
    • Marketing Intercultural Programs
    • Experiential Tools for Intercultural Learning
    • Resolving Conflict Across the Cultural Divide + Administration of Intercultural Conflict Styles
    • Foundations of Intercultural Coaching
  • Certified for the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI) that assesses personal/group/organizational intercultural competence based on the DMIS (Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity) developed by Drs. Milton Bennett and Mitch Hammer.
  • Mount Ida College, Associates Degree, Boston, MA. Graduated Student of the Year (first ever foreign student to receive this award).

WORK EXPERIENCE

Founder and President, TsaiComms LLC, 2002 to Present.
Consultant, coach, and trainer for organizational teams and executives in global and leadership intercultural competency, specializing in Asian (Chinese, Singaporean and Malaysian) cultures, multicultural team building, diversity and inclusion training, presentation skills, and leadership coaching.

  • Director of Corporate Marketing, Encorus Technologies, Stuttgart, Germany, 2001-2002
  • Director, Corporate Communications, Brokat Technologies, Portland, OR, 2000-2001
  • Director, Marketing and Corporate Communications, GemStone Systems, Inc., Portland, OR, 1999-2000 (Note: GemStone merged with Brokat Technologies in 2000)
  • Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Analogy, Inc., Portland, OR, 1996-1998
  • Marketing Communications Manager, Mentor Graphics Corp., Wilsonville, OR, 1991–1996
  • Asia-Pacific Liaison Manager, Mentor Graphics Corp., 1987-1990
  • Marketing Assistant, Hewlett-Packard Company (Corvallis, OR and Sunnyvale, CA), 1979-1985

COMMUNITY SERVICE

  • Past President, Northwest China Council (2005-2008)
  • Past President, Asian American Business Alliance (2005-2008)
  • Past Chair, TriMet’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee on the Budget (2005-2007)
  • Advisory Board Member, New Leadership Oregon
  • Executive Mentor and Coach & Honorary Advisory Board Member, Executive Development Institute
  • Member, Society of Intercultural Educators, Trainers, and Researchers (SIETAR)
  • Director of Diversity & Inclusion, ASTD (American Society of Training and Development) Cascadia Chapter

AWARDS

  • May 2004 – Portland Business Journal’s Top 25 Minority Owned Businesses
  • October 2006 – Sweat Equity Award, NW Minority and Women’s Business Excellence Conference
  • January 2007 – World Arts Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for community service
  • April 2007 – Portland Business Journal’s Orchid Award – their highest honor for achievement for women in business
  • November, 2008 – Executive Development Institute (EDI) – 2008 Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Support as a volunteer mentor and executive coach

FOREIGN LANGUAGES

Conversational Cantonese, Mandarin, and Hakka.

Courses and Services offered

Our mission is to bridge the cultural gap between East and West through intercultural competency and communications workshops, as well as one-on-one coaching.

TsaiComms offers customized business goals-oriented, value based, intercultural competency and business protocol workshops geared to your specific needs, from communications tips to negotiations skills to gifting and social etiquette. Our workshops offer highly interactive, fun, experientially based workshops that usually include simulation, role plays and case studies:

Sign up for our series on how to recruit, train and retain Asian Americans in your workforce.

  1. “Working with Asian Americans”

    This informative, fun and interactive one-day workshop will feature: a short history of Asians in America, differences between the American and Asian cultures, cultural values, experiential exercises, case studies, video clips, and business and social protocol dos and don’ts.  This is a cross-cultural experience for managers and supervisors of Asian employees; one that will surely leave a lasting, memorable impression.

  2. “Communicating Effectively with Asian Americans” (a follow-on to “Understanding Asian Americans”, a pre-requisite to this workshop.)

    This highly interactive half-day workshop examines the differences in communications styles between East and West in detail through cross-cultural simulations, case studies, and role play to give participants the skills necessary for communicating more effectively with Asian-born employees.

  3. “Understanding the American Culture” is a one-day workshop customized specifically for foreign-born employees of government agencies or global corporations to support them in navigating through professional and personal cross-cultural interactions more successfully. Developed by an Asian-born immigrant, this workshop discusses American values, cultural norms, communications styles, and expectations in the American workplace.

  4. “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” is a one-on-one coaching program tailored specifically for foreign-born professionals working for U.S. government agencies or global corporations that focuses on developing leadership and management skills that are sustainable and accountable. (Requires a minimum three-month engagement that includes 360 interviews and a personal development plan.)

  5. Culture, Communications and Conflict as a one-day workshop

    You can hardly make a friend in a year, but you can easily offend one in an hour.” ? Chinese proverb.

    Ever wondered why it takes so long to negotiate a simple contract or why some of your emails cause a total shut down in communications with a colleague in another country? Through this interactive seminar, participants will understand the definition and meaning of culture; explore how our cultural values, perspectives and beliefs affect our actions and perceptions; and practice skills for resolving conflicts across cultures.

    Course Outcomes

    1) To learn the basics of culture, cultural values, and how they impact one’s ability to interact successfully with other cultures.
    2) To help students learn about their own values and how they view the world.
    3) To explore the relationship between communication, culture, and conflict.
    4) Explore the different concepts and styles of conflict and intercultural communication.
    5) Gain tips and tools for effective intercultural communication.

What Lillian’s clients say about her:

“You did a masterful job not only in giving us the mechanics about how to work with the Chinese but immersing us into the cultural values and nuances behind each exchange. We have already begun making changes as a team and already noticing a difference, as are our Chinese colleagues.”
- Global Sourcing Manager, Logitech, Inc., Vancouver, WA

"I greatly appreciated your emphasis on humanistic values and, for lack of a better phrase, 'doing the right thing' in one's international relationships. Too often, business people approach relationships with foreigners in terms of the utility of these relationships, rather than starting on the human level, building from there, and creating a framework of mutual trust and respect. I really liked your emphasis on this, and hope that your clients value this as well."
- Port of Portland customer service employee , Portland, OR

“Lillian has been working with the Video Engineering Team since March of 2007 when she trained my direct reports and their teams about working successfully with the Chinese culture. Lillian also facilitated a team building workshop for my Fremont staff and those visiting from our Taiwan location. Since then, she has also coached me on how to manage my team located in Taiwan.

In all cases, Lillian’s ability to bridge the cultural gaps between East and West really enabled us to understand both the differences as well as commonalities between our groups. Her professionalism, unique personal presentation style that combines humor with personal experiences and stories makes her really fun to work with. I’ve already seen improvements in my teams’ abilities to communicate and function more effectively across cultures. We plan on hiring her for ongoing coaching and consulting and highly recommend her for any type of intercultural competency projects.”
- VP, Video Engineering, Logitech, Inc., Fremont, CA

“Many (Chinese) staff who attended the U.S. Culture training clearly benefited from the workshop. As I told our CEO and the Leadership Council members, it was the first time I saw our staff so openly talking about what was in their minds, and you coordinated the session so well that they could do it without any hesitation. I would like to thank you again for facilitating a good start of improved communication across different cultures in PACCESS.”
VP Asia, Paccess Global, Shanghai, China




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