Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month
Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month is providing an opportunity for self-reflecting on my heritage.
I am proud to be a South Korean immigrant. I am one of tens of thousands of Korean War babies, who were shunned for being offspring of Western fathers to Korean mothers. For not being part of the traditionally homogamous society, I was relegated to an orphanage. Perhaps it was strategic by my birth mother knowing I would have limited opportunities in Korea or maybe out of her inability to care for me as well as she would have liked.
Either way, I was one of the lucky ones. As a toddler, I was adopted by an American family. Even more fortuitous, my American parents were 3rd generation Japanese-Americans which provided easy assimilation as a family unit.
My personal resiliency comes from not only being an Asian American, but also from being raised as a military kid. My father served in the Navy throughout my childhood. As is with many military families, we frequently moved. I learned to make friends quickly, adapt to my new environments, and carry on at a different home and school every two years. This resiliency has been instrumental in my business approach and my drive to make it successful. It provided me the grit to be an entrepreneur from a bootstrap start-up to a large size business serving the U.S. government.
As a business owner, embracing the many diverse cultures in the nation has provided mutually beneficial business relationships and enduring friendships. I am thankful for being welcomed in diverse organizations such as the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC), Women Presidents Organization (WPO), Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC) and being part of Women Elevating Women (W.E.W.) which all gave me the opportunity to expand my network.
Courageous AAPI stories inspire me: Haines Ward’s Korean mother’s grit, Naomi Osaka breaking down cultural walls, and own my parents overcoming being imprisoned at internment camps as children along with my grandparents during WWII. All of these stories of resiliency inspire me.
I am proud to celebrate and elevate the AAPI community! Happy AAPI Heritage Month!