Happy AANHPI Heritage Month! The first two weeks have been full of enriching and insightful engagements. From the Asians in Adverting Breaking Barriers Summit to Goldhouse sponsored events, I’ve met older and younger people of AAPI descent who have inspired me tremendously! Here are 3 things I’ve learned this AANHPI Heritage Month:

1. Find a Chinese mentor

Jimmy and Emily AAPI Heritage Month

Over dinner, Jimmy Qian inspired me with his intelligent questions about what it was like working in China. He’s an ABC (American-Born Chinese) who’s bi-lingual… increasingly rare these days! And as we spoke, it struck me to introduce him to a Chinese-based mentor. This seemed to be a practical way to build mutual understanding and respect.

Then it occurred to me, we should each have a Chinese mentor! According to Pew Research, U.S. views of China are at an all-time low. To me, this is a shame because there’s so much I believe each country can learn from the other.

2. I still need a mentor.

Bill and Emily AAPI Heritage Month

Bill Imada and I shared the stage for a panel about mentorship and as we chatted, I realized… I still need a mentor. I’ve just asked someone at work to mentor me; and it became clear that I could use a mentor to help me with the development of “The Spare Room” film project.

You see, we never stop learning, and our ability to continue evolving is in direct proportion to how proactive we are in our pursuit of knowledge. I’m going to ask Bill to mentor me, using the advice I shared on stage. That is to be: 1) Intentional – yep he’s the one and I can communicate why, 2) Clear – here’s what I hope to learn and what I hope to contribute, 3) Specific – how frequently I’d like to meet, for how long.

He’s SUCH a joy and our chemistry reminded me of the “Sizzles & Pops” I wrote about here 😄

3. Learn from young people

Doris and Emily AAPI Heritage Month

Doris Guan reached out to me with some questions, but I walked away with the richer learning. As we spoke, I commented on that fact that she’d written her Chinese name on her lanyard. The young woman immediately responded with passion: “We declare our English names, and even our pronouns… why shouldn’t we proudly proclaim our Chinese identity, too?”


She went on to describe how she noticed people of different ethnicities speaking their native tongues with pride. But it seemed Chinese people often stick to English, even when conversing among ourselves. That’s why Doris has made it an intentional decision to always write her Chinese name next to her English name and it’s inspired me to do the same.

We’re only halfway through the month and AANHPI Heritage Month has already inspired new thought and action in me. This captures 3 things I’ve learned this AANHPI Heritage Month… What have you been learning?

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