Military Leadership Event


May 14, 2021


The APAICS-PPALM Military Leadership Luncheon is dedicated to promoting leadership diversity and Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in our troops. Active members and veterans of our Armed Forces have the opportunity to learn how to utilize skills and prior leadership experiences to contribute to personal and professional development in the future. Promoting diversity in the military encourages and strengthens the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout our nation.

The 2019 Military Leadership Luncheon was headlined by Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick. The 2018 Military Leadership Luncheon featured Rear Admiral Joseph M. Vojvodich, Deputy for Mission Control, U.S. Cost Guard. Congressman Ted Lieu, a Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves delivered the keynote address at the 2017 event. The 2016 Military Leadership Luncheon featured Lieutenant General Gina M. Grosso (Air Force) and PPALM Chairman Major General Tony Taguba (US Army).

Keynote Speaker

Major General Suzanne P. Vares-Lum, USA
(Retired as of 31 May 21)























Major General (MG) Suzanne P. Vares-Lum (Ret) served 34 years in all three components of the Army.  In her last assignment, she served as the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) at Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii. In this role, MG Vares-Lum served as the Acting Deputy Commander from 27 JUL to 17 SEP 2019, and Acting Chief of Staff from 27 SEP 19 to 2 DEC 19.  She also served as the Mobilization Assistant to the J5, Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, U.S. Pacific Command from OCT 2015 to MAY 2018.


Major General Vares-Lum joined the Army Reserve as a Private First Class in 1986 and later commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate in the Military Intelligence Corps on May 15, 1988 through the Army ROTC program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 


Previous assignments include: Trailblazer Platoon Leader, 103rd (CEWI) Military Intelligence Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division; Company Executive Officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Support, 103rd MI BN; Division Artillery Fire Support Intelligence Officer, 3rd Infantry Division, Wurzburg, Germany; Battalion S-2, 29th Support BN; Commander, 229th Military Intelligence Company; G-2, 29th Separate Infantry Brigade; Commander, 2nd Battalion, 298th Multifunctional Training Unit, Hawaii Army National Guard (HIARNG); J2, Joint Forces Headquarters, Hawaii National Guard; Commander, 298th Regiment, Multifunctional Training Unit (RTI); and Hawaii National Guard Vice Chief of the Joint Staff and Chief of the Joint Staff (Army and Air National Guard).


Major General Vares-Lum established and led the Joint Intelligence Center in Balad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.


Her military schools include the Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course, Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff Officer's Course, the U.S. Army War College (DDE), Airborne School, and Air Assault School.  


Major General Vares-Lum received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1989, a Master of Education in Teaching in 1996 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree in 2011 from the U.S. Army War College.


Her awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Iraqi Campaign Medal. She is also a 2017 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


She is married to LTC (Ret) Courtney Vares-Lum, and they have two adult children, Diana and Connie. 


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