Below is an article originally written by Tenzin Kunsal, Nivedita Mittal, Gabe Ramos, Julie Truong, and Wing Yung at PowerToFly Partner Yelp, and published on October 28, 2019. Go to Yelp's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, ColorCoded (a Yelp employee resource group) hosted a panel discussion called "Beyond Labels: Stories of Asian Pacific Islanders (API)* at Yelp."
We heard stories from five API Yelpers about their cultural backgrounds, identities, and thoughts on what it means to be an API in today's world. Their stories helped us understand that identity is both multilayered and contextual, and that individuality goes beyond labels.
Read more from their unique perspectives below.
Tenzin Kunsal, Events + Partnerships, Engineering Recruiting
From a young age, I knew the concept of "home" was complicated. Like many refugees, my family called multiple countries home. My grandparents left my first home, Tibet, in the 1960s, after it was taken over by China. My second home, India, is where I was born and where I grew up, in a Tibetan refugee community. I was not automatically granted Indian citizenship, so for the first few years of my life, I was state-less, born without a country. That was until 1996, when Minneapolis became my third home. Soon after, I became an American citizen and finally officially "belonged" to a country. Growing up, this was all very confusing. I never felt like I fully fit in anywhere. It wasn't until college that I started to accept the multifacetedness of my identity and that it's okay to call multiple places "home."
Nivedita Mittal, Software Engineer, Reader Experience
I moved to the U.S. four years ago to get my Master's in Computer Science. Since then, it's been a journey of self-discovery. When I moved from Mumbai to Boston, I always said "I'm from Mumbai, India." Then, after moving to San Francisco, it became "I'm from Boston." Something that has always stuck with my identity is how my immigration status defined whether I "belonged." Whether it's finding a job that sponsors your H-1B visa, or filling out your green card, defining who you are and whether you belong in the first place is an ongoing insecurity. It didn't help that during grad school, every conversation I had with other international students revolved around my visa situation. The same applied to recruiting conversations with companies—I would always get questions like, "Did you get your H-1B yet? Did they file your green card already?" Once this is all said and done, I wonder if I'll finally find that sense of belonging, or whether it'll still be a conscious thought in my head to remind people that I belong here.
Gabe Ramos, Director, CorpEng
I identify as Filipino American, a person of color, and a Hapa. "Hapa" is a Hawaiian word that's used to describe people who are part Asian and part Caucasian. Growing up in the Bay Area, I bounced around schools that had different ethnic make-ups. People often can't tell what race I am. When I was in a predominantly Black and Latino school, classmates teased me for being "white." When I was in a mostly white Palo Alto public school, classmates teased me for being "Japanese" because they didn't know what race I was. I felt like I was between worlds because I didn't pass for white yet often didn't feel Filipino enough. Learning about different racial identities in college was pivotal for me. I have a liberal arts background, and my education really helped me learn about other Asian Americans' experiences, the history of racial violence in the U.S., and anti-miscegenation laws. This helped me gain more of a sense of shared history. Most importantly, this empowered me to feel more ownership over my opinions of my own racial and cultural identity.
Julie Truong, Software Engineer, Restaurant Plan
From my last name, you may assume that I'm Vietnamese; I'm actually Chinese. My family immigrated from China to Vietnam (and later to the U.S.), and in order to blend in, my paternal grandfather changed our last name. My family is a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. At any given family gathering, you can hear English, Cantonese, and Vietnamese—all within the span of a couple minutes. I grew up in a primarily Latinx/Black/Samoan/Fillipino neighborhood in the East Bay. When I was younger, I had an idea of what being a "cool Asian" entailed, and Chinese people weren't necessarily portrayed in this light. So I actually wished I were Fillipino, just like the cool kids in school. Now, as an adult living in the Bay Area, I feel I'm actually quite privileged. There's a large Asian American population here, and I don't have to think about my cultural identity very often. Interestingly, I find I have to think more about my gender and sexual orientation and how these parts of my identity show up in my personal and professional life.
Wing Yung, Vice President, Engineering
I grew up near Arcadia, California, in a community with many other Asian Americans. Most of my classmates in public school were like me—our parents immigrated here, and we were born here. I can speak three dialects of Chinese (poorly): Mandarin (which I learned through lessons), Cantonese (which my parents speak at home because they grew up in Hong Kong), and Wenzhounese (my grandparents' dialect). Throughout college I became more aware of my Asian identity, but didn't seek out opportunities to explore it. Early on in my career at IBM, one of my managers sent me to an Asian leadership development program. In retrospect, it was one of the first times I became aware that leadership comes in many forms. I'm very much aware of the fact that I'm often the only (or one of the few) Asians in leadership settings. It's important to me to be a role model for others so that they know there are paths to these roles.
What ties all of these stories together is a sense of belonging that impelled us to redefine our identities on our own terms. Finding the right communities and support groups was critical for our journeys of self-discovery. The process of preparing for this panel was in itself extremely empowering, as it allowed us to dig deeper and reflect on what makes us who we are. Opportunities like these provide a platform to learn about others' experiences and to realize how much representation influences our lives. It's important to remind ourselves that sharing these stories makes us stronger and is an important part of cultivating community.
Want to be a part of the dialogue? Here are a few steps you can take right now!
- Join a resource group/meetup/support group that focuses on diversity and inclusion. We have employee resource groups here at Yelp, including Colorcoded, Diverseburst, and Awesome Women in Engineering (AWE).
- For a more personal conversation, grab coffee with someone who identifies as an API to hear more about their journey.
*In the context of this conversation, API stands for Asian Pacific Islanders—people with origins in Asia or the Pacific Islands.
Engineering at Yelp
We work on a lot of cool projects at Yelp, if you're interested apply!
Meet Diana Stubbe, S&P Global's Newest Lead Database Software Engineer
S&P Global is not only known for their unwavering ability to deliver data and insights that are vital to the world's economy, but for the people who help make this possible. With 90 Global offices and over 20,000 employees, they believe that an inclusive workplace is one in which every employee is heard, respected and valued - something Diana Stubbe greatly appreciated as she went through their hiring process.
Diana is a Lead Database Software Engineer who recently joined the S&P Global team after being discovered on PowerToFly. Diana created a free PowerToFly Profile, complete with her experience, skills, and a solid personal statement, which immediately stood out to the S&P Global team.
The overall process was easy to follow and the S&P Global Team did a great job at keeping me informed.
But what makes S&P Global stand out among the rest? "I enjoy the company culture, teamwork and interesting projects" says Diana. This could be because S&P Global has nine employee resource groups which are open to all employees, as well as a plethora of programs and policies to ensure their people thrive personally and professionally.
Thinking about joining the S&P team? Diana has this advice for you:
The most valuable lesson I learned on this journey to my new role, was to check in with the hiring managers on how the process is going to continuously stay up to date.
Click here to see all of S&P Global's open roles on PowerToFly, and don't forget to complete your PowerToFly profile!
S&P Global's Campus Recruiting team recently partnered with their Diversity & Inclusion team to profile recent graduate hires who are active with at least one of S&P Global's 9 employee resource groups. These graduates represent a variety of employee resource groups globally and they come from different backgrounds, programs, and divisions, showcasing the true diversity of S&P Global employees.
Would you be interested in working as part of such a diverse and inclusive team?
If yes, then click here to see all available opportunities at S&P Global, and don't forget to press 'Follow' to receive custom job matches, event invitations and more!
Below is an article originally written by Andrew Fitch at PowerToFly Partner Cloudflare, and published on July 12, 2018. Go to Cloudflare's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
With Pride month now in our collective rearview mirror for 2018, I wanted to share what some of us have been up to at Cloudflare. We're so proud that, in the last 8 months, we've formed a LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG) called Proudflare. We've launched chapters and monthly activities in each of our primary locations: San Francisco, London, Singapore, and Austin. This month, we came out in force! We transformed our company's social profiles, wrapped our HQ building in rainbow window decals, highlighted several non-profits we support, and threw a heck of an inaugural Pride Celebration.
We're a very young group — just 8 months old — but we have big plans. Check out some of our activities and future plans, follow us on social media, and consider starting an ERG at your company too.
The History of Proudflare
On my first day at Cloudflare in October, 2017, I logged into Hipchat and searched LGBTQ. Fortunately for me, there was a "LGBT at Cloudflare" chat room already created, and I started establishing connections right away. I found that there had been a couple of informal group outings, but there was no regular activity, sharing of resources, nor an official group. Proudflare was born that day, and the ball kept rolling.
Our first official event was a Lunch & Discussion in December. We had a gathering of eleven Cloudflare employees around lunch to discuss articles about LGBTQIA+ issues in tech. We unanimously agreed to continue holding events like this and form an ERG.
Here are the first two articles we discussed:
Once we established a regular structure of events, we started introducing Proudflare to our other locations. In March, we held our first SF mixer with LGBTQIA+ ERGs from other tech companies. We decided we wanted to fully announce the group to the whole company during Pride month, so we sent out an email to the entire company introducing Proudflare and gave presentations at our All Hands meeting.
All of Cloudflare welcomed us and embraced us as their first ERG.
Our Pride month activity
Our Austin chapter held its second Lunch & Discussion event, where Cloudflare employees got together to discuss how to write more inclusive job descriptions. They also discussed ideas for a Pride celebration and announced the first Proudflare service day, where the group will take time off to volunteer at a LGBTQIA+ youth organization.
The London chapter held its third Lunch & Discussion event, where the group brainstormed better processes for welcoming new employees to the London office, supporting them with resources, and making Proudflare a more salient part of the office culture. They also began planning their first Pride Celebration, which will take place after London Pride this July.
The Singapore chapter held its first event this month and was overwhelmed with support. A group of twenty-five Cloudflarians gathered to learn how they may make the Singapore office inclusive and supportive of LGBTQIA+ individuals. They discussed articles about LGBTQIA+ issues in Singapore and started planning their first external event in support of Pink Dot's PinkFest.
At our headquarters, where roughly half of our global employee base is located, we felt it important to really make an impact. We wrapped our SOMA offices with rainbow window decals, organized a contingent to march with Bluegrass Pride in the parade, and renamed Cloudflare to "Proudflare".
We also held a Lunch & Discussion event where we shared stories of what Pride means to each of us and hosted our inaugural Pride Celebration, where we welcomed one hundred sixty people into our space to learn about nonprofits we believe in and celebrate with us.
Here are the nonprofits we highlighted:
The Trevor Project: Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13–24.
We're honored to support the Trevor Project with Cloudflare's Project Galileo. Organizations working on behalf of the arts, human rights, civil society, or democracy, can apply for Project Galileo to get Cloudflare's highest level of protection for free.
Rainbow Railroad: In response to the confirmed reports of abductions, detentions, enforced disappearances, torture, and deaths targeting over 200 gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, Rainbow Railroad immediately went into action to assist those in danger. Rainbow Railroad has been working closely with the Russian LGBT Network, a non-governmental organization currently leading the campaign to rescue those facing danger in Chechnya.
Project Open House: Openhouse enables San Francisco Bay Area LGBT seniors to overcome the unique challenges they face as they age by providing housing, direct services, and community programs. As a result, they have reduced isolation and empowered LGBT seniors to improve their overall health, well-being, and economic security.
We're a new ERG and we've come a long way in a short amount of time, but we have a lot more planned. Here are some projects we're currently working on:
- Hosting an event in support of Pink Dot in Singapore
- Hosting Pride Celebration events in Austin
- Inserting a presentation about inclusion and ERGs in our new hire orientation
- Supporting ally skills trainings for employees
- Working with recruiting on writing inclusive job descriptions
- Advising human resources on which benefits packages are most LGBTQIA+ friendly
- Establishing a framework for LGBTQIA+ diversity data collection and reporting with our people team
- Publishing all Proudflare-related resources in a Wiki for all Cloudflare employees to access easily
Call to Action
I suggest starting an employee resource group at your company. Whether it be focused on LGBTQIA+, women, people of color, parents, or other underserved populations in tech, conversations about inclusion and community-building make for a better work atmosphere. Here are some beginning resources I used.
Let's make our industry a better, more inclusive place for all.
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