Amplifying Asian American and Pacific Islanders with Origins
Growing up, Cindy loved watching Lisa Ling on TV and admired the journalist’s intelligence and work ethic. It was role models like Ling, one of the first Asian women Cindy saw on TV, who inspired her to break barriers and attend college as a first-generation student.
Cindy’s drive helped her advance to her current position as a senior associate for external affairs and get involved with Origins, Capital One’s Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Business Resource Group (BRG).
So when Origins and empowHER, Capital One’s BRG for women and allies, partnered to host a talk with Ling, they knew Cindy would make the perfect moderator.
“Growing up, I thought she was the coolest person ever and was really inspired by her story,” Cindy said. “Getting to talk to her was so special. I got to represent Origins and meet someone who meant so much to me as a child.”
Guest speakers like Ling are just a small part of Origin's mission. The BRG celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage all while empowering associates to bring their full selves to work, advance their careers, learn new skills and build lifelong community.
Developing meaningful careers
Origins sponsors a variety of programs to help associates of all levels grow and thrive in their careers and beyond.
Vivien, a senior director in Retail Risk, partners with Aparna, a director of product management, to co-lead the development pillar for Origins. The two work together to create and enhance the many programs provided by Origins, including:
- The East Asian Growth & Leadership Effort (EAGLE) program is geared toward East Asian associates. It addresses self-identified developmental interests, aids in bridging cultural differences and helps associates leverage their unique talents and perspectives.
- The Leadership Essentials for Accelerated Progress (LEAP) program equips managers and leaders with tools that help them grow and evolve their leadership abilities.
- The Small Circle Mentorship program consists of small groups who benefit from the advice of one mentor. Each cohort meets monthly and discusses a variety of topics, including performance management and psychological safety.
- The Authentic Leadership Program encourages leaders to share their unique experiences and utilize them to build relationships, expand their network and bring their whole selves to work.
While participating in the Management Rotation Program, Cindy helped build the Small Circle Mentorship program. She was proudest of a curriculum she built from scratch, where mentees and mentors discussed the unique benefits and challenges of being Asian American in the corporate world.
“As an Asian American, I never saw myself being a part of corporate culture,” Cindy said. “That’s the beauty of our BRGs. You can find people who look like you, who come from a similar background, who have similar experiences and connect with them.”
During Origins events focused on sharing stories and amplifying Asian American and Pacific Islander voices, Vivien saw how authenticity and vulnerability can benefit your career. That’s where the Authentic Leadership Program was born.
“I think the key thing about the Authentic Leadership Program is how people can be inspired by hearing authentic stories,” Vivien said. “When I share my story, I feel that I have a voice, and I feel my work is valued.”
Celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander culture together
Sharing your authentic story is the key mission of Origins’ events, where members celebrate the myriad cultures that fall under the Asian and Pacific Islander umbrella.
Origins sponsors culture-focused sub-groups to help create a culture of understanding. One such group is MENA, built to support Middle Eastern and North African associates. Another group, ConnecTCS, celebrates the combination of multiple cultures. Both groups work to promote understanding via book clubs, recipe sharing and other cultural events. Additionally, they sponsor panels and workshops covering topics such as combating misconceptions and supporting coworkers during religious events.
For Aparna, these groups have helped her to expand and redefine what it means to be Asian American.
“You get to learn about different parts of the community within itself,” Aparna said. “There’s so many flavors to what this community is about, and these groups give me a chance to find opportunities to learn more while giving back.”
The many aspects of the Asian and Pacific Islander community are on display when Origins celebrates holidays and heritage months, like Lunar New Year, celebrated during the first new moon of the lunar calendar, and Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. These events expand the scope of the BRG and help to bring Asian and Pacific Islander pride and culture to the Capital One enterprise as a whole.
“When I think about coming to work every day, I feel really fortunate that I feel comfortable enough to bring my personality and everything that my background has given me,” Cindy said. “It's been such a positive experience for me. If I can help even one other associate feel that way at work, that's a win in my book.”
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