26th Anniversary Inspiration Awards Gala

Changing the Narrative

Please join us on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, to celebrate Apex for Youth’s 26th Anniversary Inspiration Awards Gala.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
6:30–9:30 p.m.

Cipriani Wall Street
55 Wall Street

Black Tie

The 26th Anniversary Inspiration Awards Honorees

Carol Lim & Humberto Leon

Carol Lim & Humberto Leon

Co-Owners of Opening Ceremony & Co-Creative Directors of KENZO

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon are the co-owners of Opening Ceremony, a retail destination and clothing brand they founded in 2002, and have been the co-creative directors of French fashion house KENZO since 2011.

Inspired by their world travels together, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon left their jobs in the corporate fashion sector to start their own company, Opening Ceremony, in 2002. Opening Ceremony (OC) has grown from its first NYC store into a global brand and is renowned for scouting emerging fashion talent from around the world and supporting them alongside well-established designers.

According to its founding principles of exploration and friendship, OC has collaborated with brands and creatives including Google, Intel, Coach, Spike Jonze, Yoko Ono, Terence Koh and Chloë Sevigny. The OC collection has been worn by notables such as Drake, Cate Blanchett, Justin Bieber and members of the Obama family.

Fast Company named OC one of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” in 2011, and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum honored OC with the National Design Award for Fashion Design in 2016. In July 2011, French luxury group LVMH appointed Leon and Lim as co-creative directors of KENZO, a storied Parisian fashion house founded in 1969 by Kenzo Takada.

Leon and Lim are advisors to the Parsons School for Design, judges for the LVMH Fashion Fund, as well as members of the selection jury for the ANDAM fashion award, distributed annually in Paris.

John C Jay

President of Global Creative at Fast Retailing

The first child of Chinese immigrants living in Columbus, Ohio, John C Jay has been called a living legend and a creative mastermind. He has changed how brands immerse themselves in the culture of their communities, and his work has influenced design standards for a generation.

His first break came in 1980 in the menswear and home-furnishing departments of Bloomingdale’s in New York, which he landed despite having no experience in retail, fashion, advertising or marketing. He won them over with his passion, and during his 12 years there he climbed to executive vice president, director of marketing and creative services.

In 1993 he joined Wieden+Kennedy, the iconic ad agency, where he became Global Creative Director, led game-changing campaigns for Nike and established satellite offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi. John is now President of Global Creative at Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo, Theory, Helmut Lang among others.

John has been inducted into the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame, was included in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in 2011, and has spoken extensively about creativity.  He has also been selected in the 50 Most Influential Art Directors of the Past 50 Years by the readers of Graphic Design USA, and is the founder of the Jay Scholarship Fund at Ohio State University to encourage students of Asian descent to pursue careers in the arts.

John C Jay
Jhené Aiko

Jhené Aiko


Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko was already more than a decade deep in music when she arrived at Def Jam in 2011 having been featured on projects by A-listers including Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and more.

Jhené made history when her 2013 debut EP, Sail Out, became the biggest-selling EP in Def Jam history, earning RIAA-certified Gold status with Platinum and Gold hits “The Worst” and “Bed Peace”. She then joined Drake on his 39-city U.S. tour and collaborated with Big Sean on their 2016 duo project, TWENTY88.

Jhené’s sophomore project Trip, a Movie, Album and Poetry book (M.A.P.), details an alternate form of therapy to deal with the loss of her brother, Miyagi Hasani Ayo Chilombo, to cancer in 2012. Trip debuted at #1 on Billboard’s R&B Albums Chart with RIAA-certified Gold singles “Sativa” and “While We’re Young.”

A lifelong writer, Jhené completed her trifecta by authoring the Barnes & Noble Bestseller, 2Fish, presenting an intimate portrait of herself as Penny, the nickname given by her grandfather, with excerpts pulled directly from her childhood journals.

Jhené is a pop culture icon with a heavy presence in Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, CR Fashion Book, Nylon and more. While Jhené has proved to be a trailblazer in the music, art and fashion space, she has created a unique convergence of literature, philanthropy and personal well-being.

Last year, Jhené partnered with Viacom’s Get Schooled, an award-winning non-profit dedicated to using the power of technology and pop culture to inspire young people toward higher education, with the #PennysPen campaign engaging over 45 million nationwide. Jhené also launched the W.A.Y.S. foundation, an acronym for “Why aren’t you smiling,” in honor of her late brother. The foundation, led by Jhené and her family, is dedicated to instilling hope into the lives of those who need help.

26th Anniversary Gala Chairs

Dao-Yi Chow
Public School NYC & Black Apple

Jonathan Chu
Chu Enterprises

Betty Wong
Senior Editor
Meredith Corporation

Karen Wong
Deputy Director
New Museum

Patrick Yee
Chief Marketing Officer
Daily Harvest

26th Anniversary Honorary Gala Chairs

Gary Liu
South China Morning Post

Julie Yoo
Senior Vice President
Discovery, Inc.

Joe Zee
Celebrity Stylist & Author

Wen Zhou
CEO & Co-founder
3.1 Phillip Lim

Apex for Youth Thanks Our Sponsors!


  • James Chang


  • J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation

  • Eric T. Lee & Cindy Chua


  • The Plum Spring Foundation
  • The Sriratana Family

  • Irene & Alexander Chu

  • Nissan


  • Coalition of Asian-American IPA, Inc.

  • Columbus Hill Capital Management, L.P.

  • Kramer Levin
  • New York Life
  • Thomas S. Chin

  • Toni & Patrice McNicoll

  • WAC Lighting


3.1 Phillip Lim

Aaron Tai & Douglas Lee


AMC Networks

Betty Wong

Blaise Chow & Kristin Quitoni

Cariann Chan

Cathay Capital

Cher Cui

Chris Chao & Justin Walsh

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Discovery, Inc.

East West Bank

Edwin & Charmaine Chin

First American International Bank

Glenn & Jill Luk

Grace & Jerry Pi

henry.tax LLC

IDG Capital

Jack & Hollie Franke


Ken Lee & Tzo Ai and Ricky & Kathy Wong

Kenneth Chan

KIMOY Studios Architecture DPC

Ling & Gilbert Liu

Melissa & Alec Gunn

Michael & Michelle Cho

Michelle Choo & Alexander Popov

Miranda & Hamburg Tang

Patrick Lo & Natasha Wattel

Patrick Yee & Jessica Hendricks Yee

Philip Ha

Rany Ng, Edward & Joyce Wu

Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley

Sunny Kim & Christopher Moyer

Ted & Katherine Kwei Wong

Thomas Wang & Min Suh

Viacom/Marva Smalls