Has your experience improved over the course of your career?
Today, I no longer have the same fear and insecurity. I am fortunate that the culture at Moss Adams is very accepting and supportive, which helped me open up and be myself again. At first, I was quiet because I didn’t want people to laugh at me if I said something wrong. However, I slowly discovered people are friendly and they praise my Asian culture and language skills, which made me feel unique at the firm. Further, my language skills have given me the opportunity to serve our clients with global Asian operations, including China and Taiwan. What a difference our inclusive culture has made on me!
As human beings, we all have unconscious biases. We need to be willing to work on that, including at the workplace, so that we’re accepting, respecting, understanding, and find good ways to communicate and work with one another. This is a beautiful world and great country because we are different, and we bring different aspects of skills, culture, and ways of doing things to collaborate.
What are some ways each of us can contribute to inclusion at Moss Adams?
We have done a great job in emphasizing diversity and inclusion, but we still have work to do.
Asian Americans aren’t always part of inclusion discussions due to the model minority myth—the belief that we’re smart, quiet, compliant, and get work done without complaints. Some people believe Asians are good worker bees, but not good leaders. Sometimes people don’t pay attention to us. There’s a glass ceiling for women and Asians, and it’s a double-paned glass ceiling for Asian women.
We continue to see discrimination against Asian people, whether it’s situational, verbal, or physical. I think it would be nice to see more Asians as partners and in other leadership roles, especially Asian women. I would like to see our Asian colleagues speak up and share what they truly think and voice their unique perspectives so we are no longer the quiet group. I encourage those who work with Asian team members to be mindful of cultural differences and celebrate them. Mentors might ask questions in a different way so that our Asian colleagues can feel comfortable opening up. That, to me, is the first step toward setting an inclusive tone for our culture firmwide.
You mentioned physical discrimination, and we know there’s been an increase in hate crimes against the Asian community this year. How can we be active on behalf of the community during Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month (APIDA) Heritage Month?
I am saddened that violence against Asian communities has continued, and that there has been a recent uptick in attacks. It’s awful that it takes acts of violence to bring these issues to our attention, but I’m glad Asians aren’t being ignored any longer. I have friends in New York City who don’t feel comfortable walking outside, especially at night. Racial targeting of any kind has to stop.
As for APIDA Heritage Month, I encourage people to look into why May was chosen to celebrate. We’ve come a long way to establish ourselves in this country, and we’re part of the engine that pushes the economy and culture forward. It’s important that we all remember the contributions that APIDA communities have made in this country. We should be proud of our achievements thus far.
The best way for people who are not Asian to help support Asians at the firm is to join the Asian business resource group (BRG). The Asian BRG is bringing awareness to our culture so that all people at the firm can better understand the unique aspects of Asian culture that contribute to our firm, and address commons stereotypes about Asian communities. It will take all of us to promote an inclusive culture at the firm—the BRGs are not meant to divide us into different groups, but to make sure all our people are equal.
The Asian BRG is still very new, but it can be a resource to support and promote Asian professionals at the firm so that they may have an amazing experience similar to what I’ve had. Our vision is to build awareness at the firm of societal challenges faced by APIDA individuals and give back to the community.