Advice for my younger self: Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month at 1Password

Advice for my younger self: Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month at 1Password

Liz Tam by Liz Tam on

May is a particularly special time for the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community. The annual celebration of AAPI Heritage Month is a time to honour the histories, cultures, and contributions of AAPI people, as well as draw attention to some of the challenges that the community faces today.

It’s important to recognize that within the AAPI community, there is no one-size-fits-all experience. Each group within the community has its own unique history and culture. Here at 1Password, we’re honouring these multifaceted stories by embracing the unifying theme of “The Immigrant Experience”. Our goal is to amplify the voices and lived experiences of immigrants and children of immigrant parents. It’s a reflection of the conversations being had within our virtual walls, and beyond.

With this in mind, we asked members of our AAPI community for some pieces of advice they would give to their younger selves. Here’s what they shared…

Dave Chen, Senior Director, Research & Insights

Always have an opinion but be open-minded to changing it. A common mistake in workplaces is that people don’t come to the table with an opinion or point of view.

I’ve found this to be especially true for more junior members and people who are just starting out in their careers, usually because they worry about being wrong or being embarrassed in public forums. You’ll be surprised to learn, though, that often you are the subject matter expert in the room – especially if you work in a more specialized role. People want to hear from you and value your input.

But keep an open mind - if people give you feedback on your point of view, be open to adapt and iterate on it! Don’t be discouraged when you get feedback on your opinion, use it to learn and improve! Over time you’ll find people will want to hear from you more and respect you more at the workplace.

Mica Molder, Developer

Not everyone can relate to some of the most significant or even basic things in your life. We all experience things differently. You’ll figure out what’s most important to you, and it’s okay to trust your gut because you know yourself best.

Jordan Rickards, Senior IT Ops Analyst

Growing up in Hawaii as a white-passing Native Hawaiian is going to be hard. You’re white and privileged, but will face unique adversity and have a hard time fitting in and finding your place. Remember to embrace your heritage and ethnicity, even though people around you will call you a Haole. Be involved and learn your culture so you can share it with the people around you. Oh, and don’t sell your Apple stock.

Sanjana Desai, Senior Developer

Growing up, I always felt as if I was neither here nor there - no matter what language I was speaking, or what I was wearing, I never felt like I quite fit in with the culture of the community around me.

I was born and raised in Canada after my parents immigrated from India, so I had two first languages, two names, and essentially two identities. When surrounded by the Indian immigrant community, I would try my best to look and act the part, as if I too shared memories of our homeland even though it had never actually been home. Despite all of this, I would still face criticism for “not being Indian enough”. Meanwhile at school, I would get questions about my parents’ accents, my unfamiliar lunch foods, and why no one else in our class looked like I did.

For a long time, I was in denial of my culture and would skirt the question whenever it would arise. In recent years, my perspective has shifted to be more holistic - I have the unique experience of learning from two environments and two sets of values and norms. I’m empowered with the ability to forge my own culture and path based on my exposure to two vastly different ones.

Looking back at my younger self, I’d tell her not to worry so much about the opinions others have on my representation. Being able to feel familiar with two very different parts of the world has fundamentally broadened my worldview, and has allowed me to shape my own culture based on the values and learnings from each.

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

We look forward to amplifying AAPI voices at 1Password throughout May and beyond, as well as coming together to learn from the influential AAPI voices outside our walls.

Emerging Talent Specialist

Liz Tam - Emerging Talent Specialist Liz Tam - Emerging Talent Specialist

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