Jian “James” Ma has committed his life to serving others.
“This is my motto for everything I do,” Ma said. “I own multiple businesses back in China, but I never act as the ‘manager.’ I always show my employees that I am serving another group of people. A servant mindset is the best way to influence change.”
In recognition of his dedication to others, the associate professor of information systems recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award at an awards ceremony Nov. 15 in Denver. The award was founded in 2003 by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to recognize volunteers in the United States who positively affect their communities through high-impact service work.
Ma received the Gold-level President’s Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes the highest standard of achievement with the completion of more than 250 service hours in 2019.
Ma currently serves as the principal of the Denver Chinese School – Highlands Ranch campus. DCS was founded in 1998 to provide comprehensive language and cultural education to students from pre-k to high school. With a mission to foster community for Chinese students and to increase awareness of Chinese culture in Colorado, DCS welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities.
“I believe that as a Chinese immigrant, I am obligated to help build a bridge and improve communications between those of Chinese and non-Chinese heritage in the United States,” said Ma. “This is a critical moment in America to define the relationship between the Chinese community and other ethnicities, and that is why I chose to serve as principal for the Denver Chinese School in Highlands Ranch.”
Ma enrolled his daughter at DCS from an early age and he began volunteering at the school in 2017 to teach a Chinese culture and history course.
The Highlands Ranch chapter is the largest campus in the DCS system and includes adult Chinese class for their older non-heritage students that are seeking Chinese language and cultural education.
“I want my daughter to experience an American culture that welcomes her heritage and I hope to do my part in embedding our Chinese students into the broader Colorado community,” said Ma. “Denver Chinese School opens its doors to all people, for anyone that is interested in the Chinese language and culture and that is important.”
The President’s Volunteer Service Award was by presented by Chiling Tong, President of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship and the Founding President of the International Leadership Foundation. A former President’s Volunteer Service Award recipient herself, Tong presented Ma and two other honorees with a medallion, certificate of achievement and a letter from President Donald J. Trump.
In the letter, the President thanked Ma for his commitment to improving the lives of others:
“On behalf of a grateful Nation, I thank you for your service to your fellow Americans and those most in need. Through your dedicated service, you have ensured the continuation of America’s unparalleled commitment to improving the lives of others. Over this past year, you have served as a model of the American spirit. Your many hours of service have strengthened the bonds of cooperation and trust that bring people together, while helping to address some of the greatest challenges of our time…”
Ma also serves as the vice president of strategic partnerships for the Association for Information Systems, he sits on the board of directors for the International Leadership Foundation Colorado Chapter and was recently elected to be editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Electronic Healthcare. Ma plans to continue volunteering and supporting others on both local and national scales throughout his life.
When asked his advice for others, it is simple, but powerful: