Moss Adams Voices

Lu Zhang: Representation Matters

Lu shares thoughts on building community as part of this month’s Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month celebration.

Lu Zhang

Lu Zhang, international tax director, has been at Moss Adams since 2019. She started her career in 2006, though she originally came to the United States years before to finish school in Florida. Lu immigrated from Beijing, and her Chinese heritage is one of the reasons she’s so active in local Asian communities. At Moss Adams, she’s put her passion for inclusion into action by joining several inclusion and diversity (I&D) steering committees, including the Asian business resource group (BRG).

Happy Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month! How do you and your loved ones celebrate?

We watch Chinese movies and discuss some of the cultural background with my 12-year-old son. We also eat Chinese food, which we teach him to cook.

My son was born in the United States, so we make it a point to speak Chinese in our home. It’s important to teach him some of our Chinese traditions he can be proud of and celebrate.

Can you talk more about what these traditions mean to you?

The older I get, the more my heritage becomes important to me. I think when we’re younger, we’re eager to explore new cultures and experiences. As we get older, we see our own community more meaningfully and how our culture shaped who we are today.

As an example, my parents grew up putting others ahead of themselves. They taught me loyalty, selflessness, and hard work. They raised me to make sure our family was the strongest union, even if it was the smallest union, because a strong family can build a strong community. I’m proud of my Chinese heritage, and I’m proud to be someone who wants to contribute to a larger community and make a difference in our world.

Lu Zhang

Does that sense of community influence your approach to your Moss Adams community?

I think all of that can translate into the workplace. I’ve grown community at Moss Adams because I’ve been given career advice from mentors and leaders, and I then pass that advice along to younger team members.

Moss Adams makes it easy with its focus toward creating a culture of belonging at the firm and making sure everyone feels welcome and valued.

What are some opportunities to grow a more inclusive work community, particularly for Asian professionals?

Maybe it’s how we’re brought up as Asian people, but personally I know I was raised to put common interests ahead of self-interests. We get the work done instead of advocating for ourselves or taking credit, and that leads to a lot of Asian professionals going unnoticed. We operate hoping one day a leader will notice us and acknowledge our value, but that’s not always the case.

You see it in leadership where there isn’t a lot of Asian representation. I know people, including myself, who have felt embarrassed taking credit for the good work we’ve done. It’s perceived as a bad personality trait to ask for a promotion. I think some of that is built into our culture.

Our people should feel comfortable being vocal about their value and contribution. We also need our current leaders to acknowledge how we as Asian professionals are contributing. I think communication and mentorship can really help bridge that gap.

Can you speak to how a more inclusive environment makes a difference?

It makes a huge difference, not just for individuals but even more for organizations. We are a people business. Our firm is at its best when our people are happy, and inclusion plays a large role in our team members’ well-being. 

I’m proud of Moss Adams as the firm invests in our people and their growth. The firm strives to advance people from all backgrounds to leadership because it’s important our firm represents the communities we’re a part of—it drives innovation and growth opportunities.

Representation matters. I’d love to see more inspirational Asian voices in mainstream media, too. We as human beings have more in common than we sometimes think. It’s important that we really see each other to understand what we have in common and respect our differences. That’s when we can start to achieve inclusion and diversity in our communities.

Go Beyond the Desk

At Moss Adams, we believe in the power of possible to empower our clients and people to pursue success however they define it. Explore stories about our professionals, including their personal achievements, at our Beyond the Desk page.