Blog Post

DBP Members Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2018

By Jennifer London
May 1, 2018

The month of May coincides with the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States in 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, thanks to the Chinese immigrants who laid the tracks. Like many heritage months, recognition for the achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders began as a weeklong commemoration, this one in California. Then thirteen years later, in 1990, George H. Bush signed a bill changing Asian-American Heritage Week to Asian-American Heritage Month. Today, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The Federal Asian Pacific American Council’s theme for the 2018 APAHM is “Unite Our Vision By Working Together.” The National Archives has a page on their site with a plethora of resources to support your celebrations this month and The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) is using social media to shine a light on APA professionals with their “I am an APA Leader Because…” campaign using the hashtag #APAHM18.

We asked our member companies what they are doing to acknowledge and celebrate APAHM this year. Here is what they shared:

Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Entertainment is celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a variety of initiatives.

Reaching Local AAPI Communities

Harrah’s Reno Hotel & Casino recently launched a chapter of HAPA, Caesars’ Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Business Impact Group (BIG).

Last month, Reno HAPA volunteered with Asian Community Development Council (ACDC), a leading organization in improving well-being and education in the Nevada AAPI community.
As part of Caesars’ charge to integrate BIGs into driving business goals, HAPA members helped out their colleagues in marketing to reach potential AAPI hotel and casino guests in the Sacramento market – a geography from which people often visit Harrah’s Reno.

Harrah’s Reno will also honor the Sacramento AAPI community with a donation to the Sacramento chapter of OCA (Organization of Chinese Americans) Asian Pacific American Advocates in honor of the Dragon Boat Festival, taking place on May 10 from 5:30 to 9:00 pm at DoubleTree by Hilton in Sacramento. The donation from Harrah’s Reno will support OCA Sacramento’s programming, including internship, scholarship and mentoring programs; economic development summits and civic participation efforts; and many more advocacy, civic, cultural and educational initiatives.

Caesars Entertainment partners with ACDC as well, with exciting activities taking place in the coming weeks.

Reba, Brooks & Dunn Tickets to Fund Scholarships

On April 25, ACDC partnered with the APIASF (Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund), the largest nonprofit dedicated to providing scholarships to Asian Pacific Islander American students, to host a community fundraiser. Last year, four students received scholarships of $2,000 each. This year, Caesars is providing a $1,000 donation and offering for auction a dinner for two at Hell’s Kitchen and tickets for Reba, Brooks & Dunn at Caesars Palace, with a face value of $500.

On April 28, ACDC’s GraduAsian Ceremony luncheon and career fair honors AAPI students graduating from Southern Nevada universities and colleges with a special medallion to be worn at their commencement. Caesars will send a Mila Spresser, Las Vegas Recruiter and HAPA member representative to recruit these talented students for potential roles at our company.

Advancing ACDC’s mission

On May 12, ACDC is holding a ribbon cutting open house for the AAPI community to view honor the expansion of its community center and raise funds for a new medical center. Caesars’ own Carolene Layugan, Responsible Gaming Program Director and new ACDC Chair of the Board, will present a $20,000 donation to further ACDC’s civic engagement programs, including citizenship and voter registration.

The Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will be the host of Asian Culture Day C.A.N. Expo and Convention on May 18 and 19 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The festival will feature live performances, innovative speakers, shopping, art, food and music. The first of its kind in Las Vegas, the festival has an anticipated attendance of more than 10,000 people.

CSAA Insurance Group

Our Asian-Pacific Islander Connection (APIC) ERG has these events planned for May:

Partnering with our Wellness department for a Paint Your Plate (PYP) event: APIC members are providing healthy recipes to be handed out with the fruits and veggies on each floor

Bone Marrow Donor Drive: Bringing awareness to the need for bone marrow donors

A guest speaker from the Community Health for Asian Americans will present on mental health care disparities in the API community

We’ll have an art installation displayed in the building lobby from the Asian Pacific Fund: Growing Up Asian in America – “Hope for the Future.” Essays and artwork from the contest winners will be displayed along with an interactive area for folks to provide comments, share their own stories, etc.


The Cisco Asian Affinity Network (CAAN), a global employee resource organization that focuses on the development and promotion of Asian talent inside and outside of Cisco, is excited to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with the following activities:

  • Together We CAAN…Lead the Path Towards Diversity: Cisco executives are hosting a fireside chat to explore why diversity is a corporate strategic imperative and what it means to our Asian community at Cisco.
  • Together We CAAN…Learn from our Leaders: The CAAN executive supporters are offering to have lunch with interested Cisco employees to answer questions, share career best practices, and help them expand their professional network.
  • Together We CAAN… Make a Difference in our Community: At Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, California, CAAN is partnering with the Sacred Heart Community Service team to create several volunteer and donation opportunities on the Cisco campus. Sacred Heart Community Service is determined to create a community free of poverty by creating hope, opportunity, and action.
  • “Together We CAAN” Flagship Event: This year, CAAN will host its second annual World CAAN Day. These celebratory events will take place on Cisco campuses around the world. The theme of these events is “Together We CAAN,” and the day will focus on diversity in the tech industry and at Cisco. It promises to be a thought-provoking day filled with development opportunities, growth, and fun!
  • Evening Soiree at the Asian Art Museum: This fundraising evening event will be held at the world-renowned Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The proceeds from this evening of fundraising will go to various charities in the S.F. Bay Area.


AAPI Heritage Month at Dropbox will be celebrated globally in 6 offices and will feature many events that will allow Dropboxers to celebrate, learn, grow, connect, and give back to the community.

This year, our theme is “I am____”. The core concept of this year’s theme is to showcase the vibrant diversity and unique experiences of Asians and Dropboxers who identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). We are celebrating the daring and multifaceted individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, along with the experiences that have shaped them. This theme invites Dropboxers of all backgrounds to celebrate themselves and complete the sentence “I am __.”

We also have a beautiful poster and sticker campaign that showcases our theme.

A few ways we’re celebrating AAPI Heritage Month at Dropbox:

Fireside Chat: ‘Bridging the Political Divide on Immigration Reform’
Fireside chat will feature Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, and Aarti Kohli, Executive Director of the Asian Law Caucus, in a conversation on bridging the political divide on immigration reform. Aarti will lead Ali in a discussion about his book, There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration and the National Immigration Forum’s work reaching out to moderate and conservative Americans across the country to create a constructive conversation on immigration.

A family-friendly fusion luau

The fusion luau will represent cultures across Asia and the Pacific Islands
where we’ll be serving foods from Korea, Japan, Myanmar, the Philippines, India, and of course Hawaii.

Weekly chai cart

In Austin, we’ll provide drinks and snacks focused on a different region in Asia each week.

Volunteer opportunities with Asian Health Services, Curry Without Worry, and Self Help for the Elderly


FHFA will celebrate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders History Month with a program, and guest speaker on May 9 at 12:00 p.m.. The guest speaker, Seung Lee, works at Save the Children USA, and is Senior Director for the School of Health and Nutrition at her organization. The program runs from 12:00 -1:00 followed by a reception. This year’s theme is “Unite Our Vision by Working Together.”

Freddie Mac

This year’s ASIAN Platform Month’s theme is Be yourself – Communicate. Connect. Grow. We have many events planned including a keynote from one of Freddie Mac’s Board of Directors, Saiyid T. Naqvi. Planned activities throughout the month include a fire-side chat with an Asian Officer, Mentoring Circles where 30+ groups of 3-5 employees come together to build their trusted advisors and grow professionally, Asian Employee Exposés aiming to create awareness and insights into Freddie Mac’s workforce, an American Culture Game Show to test employees knowledge while having some fun, an Asian America/Asian culture themed book drive for a local elementary school, special Asian cuisine in our campus cafés every Thursday in May and yoga and meditation sessions to connect your inner self, communicate with your inner voice and grow your spiritual insight!

Be yourself – Communicate. Connect. Grow. – getting out of your comfort zone and connecting with your coworkers is an effective way of showing your “true self” in your workplace. Each of our employees have unique experiences and achievements that they can share with others and help them, as well as themselves, grow in their roles. —Michelle Bundy, ASIAN ERG Chair, VP, Enterprise Project Management Office


Annually, HSBC Bank USA, N.A. (HSBC), one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world, celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) throughout its national network with a series of events, including cultural performances, career development programs and industry speakers.

HSBC’s Employee Resourcing Group, APIC (Asian Pacific Islander Committee) has five chapters from coast to coast. Some of the planned programming by APIC include:

  • Cultural awareness activities – Yoga, cultural performance, ethnic cuisines, calligraphy (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Buffalo)
  • Career Development Activities:
  • Asian self-reflection: Family and Social Pressures, Cultural Expectations and Career Paths (New York City)
  • Asian Entrepreneurship – Journey to American Dream (New York City)
  • Workshop on “Dressing for Success” (New York City)
  • Speak Confidently (Chicago)
  • Breaking the bamboo ceiling – industry speaker (Chicago)
  • Cross industry events with Google, Uber on Professional Development workshop (San Francisco)

A town-hall session is also planned to engage 1,100 APIC members across the nation, with senior leadership speakers, and panel discussions.

“I am proud to work HSBC and one of the primary reasons is the fact that our firm not only recognizes diversity but promotes it through celebrating diverse ideas, championing an inclusive environment and offering employee resource groups for each of us to join and learn about one another,” said Harrold Reyes, HSBC Vice President Global Liquidity and Cash Management.

Programming will start at the beginning of May with events being held throughout the entire month.

Johnson & Johnson

May 4th: Hepatitis B Corporate Employee Awareness and Education Workshop – Fremont, CA + webcast to all ASIA chapters across J&J:

Hepatitis B Corporate Employee Awareness and Education
Dr. Samuel So, the founder and executive director of the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University School of Medicine is invited to give a presentation on
The background of hepatitis B
Potential risks of hepatitis B infection
Available procedures for the prevention and treatment

May 8th: Increasing Impact & Value Over Your Career – Skillman, NJ

Attendees will walk away with an understanding of how one can increase impact & value over one’s career through the 4 stages of contribution framework. This workshopwill help employees determine their contribution stage and identify ways to promote expansion of higher levels of contributions.

May 15th: Leadership Development for Asian Leaders – Raritan , NJ

Learn about Leadership Development from our VP of Global Beauty Care R&D.

May 16th: Investing In Your Network to Build Relationship Capital – Titusville, NJ

Sponsored by the Janssen ERG Council, this interactive workshop will focus on “Investing in Your Network to Build Relationship Capital” including how one can broaden one’s network through leaning about the ERG’s in Janssen. Outcomes of the workshop include: 1) a map of your professional business network, 2) an appraisal of the value of your relationship capital, and 3) a strategic plan to guide future investments in relationship capital that promote career growth. You must register for this portion of the workshop.

May 18th: Leveraging your understanding of the Asian Culture to Expand your Horizon in the Business World – New Brunswick, NJ + webcasting
Hosted by J&J and KPMG, attendees experience will include:

Keynote Speaker – Life science industry overview and the implication of the business model
Panel Discussion – Deep Dive: How to develop your skills to expand your horizon in the business world
Key Highlights – Asia Culture and implication in the business world/workplace
J&J and KPMG Innovative Products Showcase
Asian Culture Celebration

May 18th: Customer Education in Asia – Cincinnati, OH

Two of our Professional Education Managers from China and India will speak to the Customer Education experience in Asia. The audience will walk away understanding the creative ways in which customer educational programs are planned and conducted for our customers in their countries.

May 24th: Delivering Effective Communications – Skillman, NJ

Round table discussion – how to be heard. The Round table discussion series was created to promote a safe environment for sharing and engaging in dialogue. The featured topic for May delivering effective communications.

May 31st: The Asian Experience from a Different Perspective – Piscataway, NJ

In celebration of ASIAN Pacific American Heritage Month, this event is co-sponsored with our ASIA and SAPNA (South Asian Professional Network Association) ERGs. We will hear from our VP of Customer Logistic Solutions & Medical Devices Supply Chain, where he will highlight his experience working in various cultures.

June 7th: Epcot ASIA – Learn about the Diversity & Different Consumer Insights across Asia – Skillman, NJ

In partnership with our SAPNA (South Asian Professional Network Association) ERG, ASIA ERG will be hosting Epcot ASIA where 7 Asian countries will be showcased (China, India, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, Korea, and Thailand). Attendees will walk away with a greater awareness around the various cultures and unique cuisines across Asia. As well, they will gain awareness on how regional consumers are different in Asia compared to the West.

M&T Bank

Asian Pacific American Resource Group (APARG) – Western New York

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, M&T Bank’s Asian Pacific American Resource Group (APARG) of Western New York is hosting ‘Expanding Horizons’, a business appreciation event for local Asian and African businesses. The purpose is to gather customers and prospects, both new and established, for a night of networking and recognition. It will be a celebration of the growing immigrant and refugee populations of Upstate New York that have advanced our neighborhoods, workforce, entrepreneurial activities and more. Distinguished speakers include Byron W. Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, Jessica Lazarin, Director at the City of Buffalo Office of New Americans, Eric Feldstein, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Banking at M&T Bank, and David Femi, Western New York Retail Regional Sales Manager at M&T Bank. Approximately 100 total attendees will include M&T Bank customers, prospects, and center-of-influence guests, including Community Association leadership and resettlement agencies—the majority representing South Asia, Middle East, and Africa.

Asian Pacific American Resource Group (APARG) – Maryland

2018 marks the 11th biennial Catholic Charities Dragon Boat Races in Baltimore, an event that M&T Bank and its predecessors have participated in since 1998.

Dragon Boat racing is an international sport that traces its origins back over 2000 years ago to the 4th Century BC, in China. A man of great respect, Qu Yuan, a poet, minister and counselor to Emperor Chu, was cast into exile because of his politically sensitive poems. Distraught and inconsolable, Qu Yuan drowned himself into the Mi Lo River in an act of desperation and sorrow. Qu Yuan was loved so by the people that local fisherman raced to the tragic scene in their long, swift boats, beating their drums and splashing their oars to scare the many fish away from his body. They threw also tossed rice into the river some say in an attempt to protect Qu Yuan’s body from the fish and others to feed his soul. Dragon Boat Festivals are held annually in China on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, the same day Qu Yuan is said to have drowned himself in the Mi Lo River.

The Catholic Charities Dragon Boat Races are a truly special event that combines athleticism and competition with fundraising and awareness of Catholic Charities. Since its inception, over 50 companies, non-profits and schools have partnered with Catholic Charities to raise over $5 million dollars in support of their mission: to improve the lives of Marylanders in need.

Sponsored teams will practice the ancient sport of Dragon Boat Racing for 8 grueling weeks over the summer leading up to Race Day, September 8th, 2018 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, drawing an estimated crowd of 10,000 spectators. This sport isn’t for the faint of heart. Winning requires strength, endurance and a concentration of willpower. Off the water, each team will learn more about the work of Catholic Charities by partnering with one of our 81 programs. Paddlers see firsthand the issues faced by Catholic Charities clients and contribute their time and resources to making a difference in those lives.

Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck’s Asia Pacific Association (APA) will be hosting variety of activities to expand cross-cultural awareness. We will focus on capabiity buildling, business insights and external partnering in our communities.

Over the course of the month, externally we will be spotlighting our APA chapter leaders on Merck’s External Social Media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) with short videos spotlighting the family members of our employees of Asian descent, who have inspired them to achieving success in their personal and/or professional lives. #WeAreAPA We will also spotlight Asian-American scientists and their contributions #CelebrateDiversity

We will be sharing internal blogs about the history of Asian Heritage Month and managing cross-cultural differences such as a deeper understanding of high-context and low-context cultures.

May 3rd: APA and Millennial Network Trivia & Happy Hour – West Point, PA

May 3rd: Understanding Health Literacy – Global Webcast

May 8th: Asian Heritage Showcase – Keynote Address from our Discovery Research Senior VP, Dean Li. Cultural Exhibitions, Team Building Challenge, Exotic Cuisine Tour and Calligraphy / Community Outreach – Boston, MA

May 10th: History and Language Lunch and Learn – Durham, NC

May 17th: Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling – Women’s Leadership Panel. Join 5 executives as they discuss leadership, advancement and the challenges facing women, especially Asian women in advancing to leadership roles. Celeste Warren, VP HR, Zhihong Ge, Renu Vaish and Chet Bhatt from Merck Research, and Julia Spencer from Policy. West Point, PA

May 19th: Merck sponsored Conference with ASCEND NJ: Inspiring Across Generations Conference – Executive Panel on Managing Difficult Conversations with Ravinder Dhawan, VP of Merck Research Labs. Kean University, NJ 8-2:30pm

May 22nd and 24th: Asian Carnival – Displays across 7 different Asian Countries. Sharing cultures, games, food, prizes and fashion.

Other activities with dates TBD – Lunch and Learn discussions at our Kenilworth, NJ and Madison NJ site.

New York Life

New York Life’s Asian Network Employee Resource Group is hosting the following events:

  • “Coming Together” Conversation Series session on the topic of “Model Minority” – Continuing the courageous conversations series held at New York Life since 2016, the Asian Network ERG is hosting an interactive discussion (open to all employees) about the long-held “Model Minority” label and the consequences for Asian-Americans and race relations overall
  • Telling His Story – An event featuring two senior Asian Executives— The New York Life President shares his story, facilitated by the CEO of New York Life Investment Management
  • Cheers for Charity – Each Thursday in May, the Asian Network ERG will host after-work networking events featuring senior leaders from their advisory board. The proceeds from these events will be donated to Room to Read, a charity that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education
  • Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races – The Asian Network ERG is participating in the Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races, which help support local charity work
  • Yoga and Wellness Presentation – The Asian Network ERG will host a yoga and wellness event, presented by an instructor and motivational speaker on the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness


In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Sodexo, in partnership with its Pan-Asian Network Group (PANG), will host a Town Hall discussion, designed to raise awareness around the Asian American Pacific Islander culture. In addition, participants will engage in dialogue and share traditional recipes. Other activities will include: a “Taste of Asia” healthy food sampling event and PANG’s involvement in the DC Dragon Boat Festival. PANG also developed a Diversity Moment presentation to be shared with employees, which provides information on the origins of the dragon boat races, races happening in other cities across the U.S. and other interesting facts associated with the celebrations.

Each year Sodexo PANG supports the Asian Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund (APIASF), by reviewing and screening applications for scholarships given to benefit underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students.

The Multicultural Foodservice Hospitality Alliance (MFHA) in recognition of the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month highlights every year in its e-magazine, Asian American Pacific Islander executives from across corporate America. This year MFHA has recognized two Sodexo Asian American Pacific Islander senior leaders,Linda Lan and Eva Chung.

U.S. Bank

The Asian Heritage Business Resource Group (BRG) at U.S. Bank is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in a variety of fun and educational ways:
Throughout the month employees will be encouraged to join the Asian Heritage BRG.
The virtual/enterprise chapter of the Asian Heritage BRG will be hosting a company-wide virtual event on the topic Pathways to Success: Diverse Asian Perspectives. The panelists consist of Asian leaders from different backgrounds, who hold C-suite level positions within their respective organizations, including the co-executive sponsor of Asian Heritage BRG, Shailesh Kotwal, Vice Chairman of Payments.

The company’s intranet will feature articles on the Asian Heritage BRG and how employees can get involved.

A variety of events and activities are planned, including a company-wide virtual event and local events in several markets including Seattle, Southern California and Twin Cities.

  • The D&I team will be sponsoring several Webinar sessions on “How culture influences communication styles.” To understand how employees’ and customers’ culture may influence their communication styles.
  • The BRG is sponsoring an AAPIHM trivia contest for employees throughout May. Randomly selected winners will receive gift cards.
  • The BRG will be launching its fourth chapter in Seattle.
  • Employees are encouraged to organize activities and events for their teams or locations, and to share recaps and photos in the company’s online Asian Heritage BRG community.
  • Employees and branch locations are invited to share their personal AAPIHM cultural heritage stories in the company’s online Asian Heritage BRG community: “I Am What’s Possible”.
  • U.S. Bank’s intranet news page will highlight these events and tools all month long.

Zurich North America

Zurich North America is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month during May to honor the achievements and contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans. Valuing the diversity and potential of every individual is embedded in our Values and plays a significant role in how we are able to deliver on our strategy.
Having employees with diverse perspectives united with a single purpose helps us win in the marketplace. Zurich’s employee resource group, Z3A (Zurich Asian American Alliance), has planned a variety of events that will help educate and develop all employees. These events include:

Zurich Asian American Alliance (Z3A) is pleased to kick-off the Asian Heritage Month by introducing distinguished former Dean of Kellogg School of Management, Dr. Dipak Jain, who will speak about his remarkable journey in the face of diversity and his inclusive leadership style.

Employees will participate in an interactive educational session on “The Art of Problem Solving” with Chief Underwriting Officer, Geno Fernandez & Head of Predictive Analytics, Peter Hahn, where they will share their perspective & experiences on problem solving.

The Power of Inclusion & Innovation – There is correlation between diversity of thought and innovation. Employees are invited to an interactive session on “The Power of Inclusion & Innovation” by Sophia Yen – Insurance Strategy & Innovation Leader from Ernst & Young.

About the Author

Jennifer London
Director, Events