Blog Post

DBP Members Celebrate Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Jennifer London
May 4, 2015

“The rich heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders spans the world and the depths of America’s history. Generation after generation, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have forged a proud legacy that reflects the spirit of our Nation — a country that values the contributions of everyone who calls America home. During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we honor the perseverance of those who courageously reached for their hopes and dreams in a new land, and we celebrate the important impact the AAPI community has made on our Nation’s progress.”

Presidential Proclamation, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2015

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

Here are some examples of what Diversity Best Practices member companies are doing to celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

BP

BP’s Asian Network Business Resource Group (BPAN) is taking over the culture scene in May for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This annual observance is a time for the BP community to recognize the contributions of Asian-Pacific Islander Americans throughout history. This year’s theme is “Many Cultures, One Voice – Promote Equality and Inclusion”. BPAN Business Resource Group is offering a variety of different events to commemorate this month. See below for a glimpse at what is happening across numerous BP locations below.

Chicago will be hosting a kick-off event followed by employee wide communications regarding facts about an Asian country that we typically don’t see a lot from as well as provide exposure to BP’s businesses in Asian countries. Houston is hosting a Diversity Leadership Panel discussion on “Leading during Times of Change” for members of our BP Business Resource Groups – Leaders share their experience and provide guidance on how employees could strengthen their leadership skills and mentality to deliver value to the company at times of need and position oneself for success in this environment. Additionally, BPAN members will have the opportunity to sit down with our Senior VP of BP Americas and have a conversation regarding Diversity at BP.

Throughout the month, across BP, they will be spotlighting BP Asian employees and leaders, highlighting each employee’s achievements related to BP Values & Behaviors. BPAN Chapters in Anchorage and Naperville will be offering open houses inviting our employees to explore the many Asian cultures within BP and learn something new through live performances, interactive games and traditional cuisine items.

Discover

At their headquarters office, Discover is bringing in a local APA newscaster Nancy Loo to talk about her life and career and her tips on leadership. They will also be participating at our Columbus Ohio site in a large community Asian Festival. At two sites, Discover will have Dragon Boat Race teams. These are all events being managed by their Employee Resource Groups.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

In May the FINRA Asian Professionals Association (FAPA) will commemorate the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through events across the country in FINRA offices.

This year, multiple offices at FINRA will partake in an Origami Lunch. Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. During the lunch, participants will learn how to fold origami and participate in a discussion of how the participants celebrate their cultural heritage.

In New York City, FAPA will be hosting a Korean BBQ event where participants will share their understanding and appreciation of various Asian American and Pacific Island cultures. Through quizzes and discussions the participants will learn about the accomplishments and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.

Also occurring in New York City, FAPA will host a group of members from the Asian American Bar Association of New York on May 19th. The event will include discussions on career opportunities and FINRA’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Finally, FAPA is conducting a Haiku contest where contestants can get in touch with their creative side. A Haiku is one of the most important forms of traditional Japanese poetry. Haiku poems consist of three lines, the first and last lines of a Haiku have five syllables and the middle line has seven syllables. The lines rarely rhyme. FAPA solicits poets to create a Haikus surrounding FINRA, leadership, and teamwork.

FAPA also worked with the FINRA Diversity & Worklife team in May to raise awareness and encourage employee donations through FINRA’s Workplace Giving campaign to three disaster relief funds supporting recovery efforts and victims of the Nepal earthquake tragedy that recently occurred in late April.

Hershey

At Hershey, the Asian Business Resource Group (BRG) is committed to promoting understanding of Asian heritage and mindset, advancing the professional development of its members and accelerating The Hershey Company’s business objectives through global growth. The Asian BRG is hosting three special events during the month of May to celebrate Asian Heritage Month.

Two-part series on Leading Boldly into the Future:

Part I: Fireside Chat with Hershey’s Global Leadership Team on how Hershey can be culturally agile in the future. An on-demand webcast is available to employees who are unable to attend.

Part II: Interactive panel on Leading the Hershey Way in India and China. This series is live-streamed so that employees who are unable to attend in person can participate.

Virtual trip to Asia held on several Hershey campuses. The event includes interactive and fun booths featuring various stations including arts, music, language, cultural dress and food!

Asian inspired dishes will be offered in the Hershey-area campus cafes throughout May.

Huntington

Huntington takes part in numerous activities throughout Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. The Bank is a proud sponsor of the Columbus, Ohio, Asian Festival. This is an annual event with more than 250,000 visitors during the Memorial day weekend. The festival is one of the major events in Central Ohio and attracts people from all ethnicities and origins. The event features a wide variety of cultural exhibits, food stalls, games, shops, employers and of course, a lot of entertainment. With support from the Executive Leadership Team, and engagement from the Asian Business Resource Group’s Executive Sponsor , the Huntington Asian Business Resource Group participates by setting up a booth to promote and educate on Huntington’s products and services.

In addition to the Asian Festival sponsorship, Huntington also participates in the dragon boat race and Asian Festival Gala organized by the Asian Festival corporation. The race promotes diversity through unity as the participating team’s coordination and synchronization moves the boat faster towards the finish line. The gala showcases Asian cultural heritage and provides an opportunity for our executives to build awareness and increase cultural competency.

The heritage month will culminate in potluck sponsored by Huntington’s Asian Business Resource Group. The event will serve as a fundraiser for Pelotonia, which is Huntington’s large scale volunteer initiative that raises funds for cancer research. This event aims to bring Huntington colleagues under one roof to relish authentic homemade dishes and allows colleagues to celebrate cultural differences through food.

Kraft

The Asian American Employee Group (AAEG) at Kraft is hosting two key events in celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May. Here are some of the details:

Asian Consumer Trends Discussion: Kraft is partnering with Nielsen to host a presentation on the latest Asian consumer trends in food and beverage.

Kraft Kitchens Asian Recipe Demonstration: Delicious opportunity for employees to sample and learn about easy-to-make recipes with an Asian flair.

In addition, the Kraft Diversity & Inclusion team is publishing an internal article about the significance behind Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month to continue to raise awareness and appreciation of this important cohort.

New York Life Insurance Company

New York Life’s Asian Network Group (ANG) has an exciting slate of programs planned for Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. ANG will open the month with a executive communication workshop led by Senior Coach Michael Balaoing, Esq. of “Own the Room,” a division of Blue Planet Training. ANG will also hold a dynamic panel featuring New York Life’s Asian Cultural Market managers to celebrate the importance of the Asian-Pacific population as a demographic unit in our economy. Finally, ANG will close the month with a leadership networking event designed to bring the New York Life community together to celebrate the significance of this population to the company both in the present and future.

Northern Trust

Northern Trust has several programs planned for the month of May.

OPENING CEREMONY

Luau will feature a performance by Barefoot Hawaiian & cuisine of the Pacific. This event will also have a special guest speaker, from Wealth Management – Client Service Solutions. The speaker will share her experiences in the Melbourne office. The Expo will feature NT recruiters representing Corporate, O&T, C&IS, Wealth Management, and Asset Management to discuss the hot jobs from these divisions. Partners will have the opportunity speak with the recruiters directly about open positions and what they are looking for.

TEA TASTING

For over two thousand years, tea drinking has become an important part of Asian culture. This event will provide an opportunity for partners to try & experience the unique tea culture.

BASIC CHINESE LANGUAGE CLASS

Event will feature a basic Chinese Language class By Sherri Liang-Zhou from Star Link Global Education. Food will be provided in the class. Conference bridge is available for partners that are remote.

IRON CHEF COMPETITION

Iron Chef Competition with Senior Managers from Wealth Management competing with Senior Managers from Corporate & Institutional Services.

Sodexo

Nam-Codus PANG (Pan Asian Network Group) Scholarship

This scholarship was established to honor Frances Nam and Bill Codus both of whom served as PANG Chairs and were visionary leaders with an amazing gift to inspire all. Their legacy should serve as a continuing inspiration to all PANG members.

Current PANG network group members and a Sodexo employee in good standing can apply. Scholarship winners receive funding toward travel and admission to a professional development and/or diversity related event of their choice.

PANG Annual Virtual Meeting- Doing Well by Doing Good

The meeting will include PANG updates, a keynote speech by special guest Sheela Murthy and a group discussion of a thought provoking Covey Insights video.

Sheela Murthy is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, perhaps best known as founder and president of the Owings Mills, Maryland based Murthy Law Firm, which has been ranked as one of the world’s leading U.S. immigration law firms.

A native of India, Murthy and her husband, photographer and media specialist Vasant Nayak, established the MurthyNayak Foundation to channel their philanthropic contributions to nonprofits that serve the needs of women, children, and immigrants, particularly in education and health care. Murthy has repeatedly been recognized for her philanthropic work. She also serves on the boards of several nonprofits in the Baltimore-Washington area and elsewhere in the northeastern United States. She is a frequent speaker on immigration law, and on entrepreneurship and motivation, leadership, and women’s issues.

U.S. Bank:

  • U.S. Bank employees are hosting a booth at the Asian Cultural Festival in San Diego.
  • Employees in Ohio are participating in the Cleveland Asian Festival.
  • All employees and branch locations are invited to display a specially-designed Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month poster.
  • The company is encouraging employees to organize activities and events for their teams or locations and to share recaps and photos in the company’s online diversity and inclusion community.
  • U.S. Bank’s intranet news page, Inside USB, is highlighting these events all month long and also is promoting its online multicultural calendar.

Walmart

Walmart will host their 10th annual heritage event on May 21st with a program featuring several speakers including Yul Kwon, Rollin Ford and Scott Price.

Yul Kown is the first Asian American winner of “Survivor” reality TV show. He will be sharing how his Asian heritage and upbringing helped to shape him. Yul currently works as Director of Privacy at Facebook; his career spans technology, law and public policy, small business and media.

Rollin Ford (EVP & Chief Administrative Officer for Walmart Stores Inc.) is the Executive Sponsor of Asian Pacific Associates Network and Scott Price (EVP & CAO International, and President & CEO Asia) will share about the importance of diversity and inclusion and leading individuals in a multi-cultural setting.

The program will also recognize the contributions and accomplishments of several associates and feature a multi-country dance.

Additional resources:

Library of Congress Page for Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

PBS Program Guide for Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Smithsonian Resource Page

About the Authors

Jennifer London
Director, Events
Seramount