May marks the 31st celebration of National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the U.S. But, don’t let that fool you- the AAPI community has been celebrating this since the 1970s when members of the Asian Pacific Islander American community began advocating for a month to celebrate their heritage and accomplishments.
At SoFi, our #1 company priority is to make our culture better every second and ensure DEI is at the center of everything we do. Our SNAP Circle (employee resource group) aims to provide a unified voice representing our organization’s Asian & Pacific Islander communities. SNAP is actively involved in promoting awareness, education, advocacy, and a safe, inclusive space for all members and allies of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
SNAP’s tentpole month is also aligned with SoFi’s Core Value of the month. In May, the Value of the Month is “Learn, Iterate, Innovate,” we aim to create an environment of constant growth and evolution, building a stronger future for our community not only in May, but throughout the year.
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jade Ye and Anh Vo, Co-Leads of SNAP to talk about the story behind this month’s theme, how to be a great ally, their role models and more.
As Jade and Anh kicked off conversations with SNAP members about their 2023 tentpole month, they knew the theme “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” felt relevant and natural. It was not long after the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, had swept the Oscars with 11 nominations and 7 awards. It received praise for its groundbreaking commitment to diversity and representation in cinema. Additionally, 2022 saw a significant amount of movies and TV announcements featuring a strong representation of Asian actors and actresses showing the world just how diverse their life experiences are. Feeling that same energy in their SNAP community, they knew this theme would be a conversation driver. The theme of “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” reminds us of the great things that can happen when we increase awareness and visibility of underrepresented communities.
What does this year’s tentpole theme mean to you personally?
Jade: Growing up as mixed-race was a challenge in the unique way that I had a whole half of my extended family that didn’t understand my identity. Representation was so important for a young me to learn more about my own culture, and being able to watch this explosion of Asian representation on the big and small screen has been absolutely incredible.
Anh: For me, as an immigrant from Vietnam, the theme “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” means a lot. Even though I am not traversing the multiverse, I know I become a different version of my former self, and I’ve got to learn how to embrace that new version while not forgetting my former one. Immigration is not just about moving from one country to another, but is also a metamorphosis we undergo by shifting into a version of ourselves from another universe. It means being able to take what we have grown up with and bring it here without loss—whether that’s our voice, our culture, our values, or our traditions. It means doing everything we can while being ourselves in two different universes.
How do you hope your 2023 theme helps people be better allies?
Jade: I think the key thing about new allies is there needs to be a level of accessibility. Taking the first step into allyship sounds so formal, and it makes it sound like a hard thing. Watching a movie, and being guided through a discussion around the sociocultural rise of AAPI representation is a lot easier than trying to learn how to be an ally in a vacuum. I think at the end of the day, this theme might inspire people to be better allies. I truly hope that by tuning in and hearing discussions, seeing our conversations about the importance of representation in Slack, and joining us, helps folks connect to the AAPI community in a way that makes them want to engage as an ally.
Anh: I hope this year’s theme will help educate our allies about AAPI representation and identity and how they, as allies, can be better by understanding how beautiful and diverse AAPI cultures are.
What motivates you to volunteer your time to lead SNAP?
Jade: SNAP gives our members a space to connect over identity. I think something that has given meaning to my life has been connecting people, and it’s part of why I love my job! SNAP, and our Circles in general, give employees a safe space to connect with intentionality, and I love facilitating that. DE&I has always been a point of passion in my life, I think my blended background gives me a unique perspective on diversity. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of leading another AAPI ERG, called ElevAsian in a past role where I helped launch a family cookbook with recipes and stories from members. I have also been able to write DEI thought leadership pieces, as well as offer strategic feedback on DEI campaigns. Being able to harness that experience and passion by supporting SNAP is so meaningful because I get to see both the short and long term impact of our efforts on culture.
Anh: I like to volunteer my time to co-lead SNAP because I want to share about my culture, learn about other cultures, and work to increase AAPI representation within our company. We have vast and varied histories, and there is so much richness and beauty in our cultures that I want to embrace, honor, and share. Most importantly, SNAP provides a community to connect on a variety of topics important to our cultural identities, whether that be food, traveling, or music.
Anh, tell me about the keynote speaker, Linh Ho that is planned!
Anh: Linh Ho is a marketing and sales executive with a robust background in B2B tech. She is also an official member of the Forbes Communications Council and serves on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging board for Cascade Public Media, overseeing production organizations like PBS and PBS Kids. Linh's deep experience in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the media will make this a must-see keynote event! I hope that both members and allies gain a deeper understanding of the AAPI’s representation, identity, and the presentation of both of these aspects in the world today, as well as feel empowered to embrace the AAPI cultures by participating in, driving the representation of AAPI in everything we do!
Who is someone you look up to in the AAPI community?
Jade: I look up to the women and men chasing after representation for the AAPI community. I admire the strides America has taken in regards to changing the narrative around the harmful perception of Asians as the “model minority.”I know a lot of that is because of the work championed by the AAPI community pushing for diversity and representation behind the scenes.
Anh: My dad is someone I look up to because he has taught me so much about life and guided me to become who I am today. I admire him for his work ethic. He started his business from scratch and with nothing. He worked his tail off for years so all of his kids could go to college and have better lives. He has given us a good life, but it was back-breaking work for him. He is not a man who shows love by words, but all by actions, and it always means a lot to me.
Jade, what is your favorite thing about working at SoFi?
I will have worked at SoFi for one year next month, and I couldn’t think of just one thing! I really appreciate how my team supports inclusion in their work. As marketers, we have a responsibility to depict diversity and inclusivity in the work we create, and it’s something that is so natural to our Brand Team. This helps me feel really supported and included. And, of course, feeling that there is organizational and systemic support behind a diverse workforce by being a member of a Circle, is so valuable.
Jade & Anh, thank you for your tireless work in bringing all of this programming together. We are so excited for all to join our SNAP community this month (and always) to discuss diversity, challenging stereotypes, and encouraging and driving the representation of members of the AAPI community in everything we do. We will be hosting discussions and trivia via Slack, providing on-site catered lunches, volunteer opportunities and an incredible keynote speaker. Our theme of “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” will help us focus on our representation and identity. Focusing on Everything means learning about the history of representation of our community and how we can best embrace our identity and cultures in everything we do. We can work together to build a safer and thriving space for our members and our community.
The individuals featured are SoFi employees. Their personal experiences, obviously, do not take into account your own specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. Results will vary.
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