DEI Event Series: Actions and Advice From The Asian American Summit

The Covid-19 pandemic brought to light the racism and prejudice Asian Americans have faced for decades—from hate crimes, to racial slurs, to the expectation of acting as the “model minority.” Leaders from many of the most influential brands came together for the Asian American Summit to discuss creating opportunities for advancement in the workplace, prioritizing diverse representation in the media, and rejecting the need to conform to the expected Asian archetype.

Here are some of the most powerful calls to action from the summit and be sure to check out the full video and summary or podcast version on CMO Moves.

Recognize the Problem
“We often think about that notion of the melting pot, and that’s something that I used to embrace as a kid. I thought that was empowering and inclusive, but in reality, it’s about melting away your own identity and it’s about becoming this blob culture.” Judy Lee, global head of experiential marketing, Pinterest

“Specific incidents that have brought us together as a community around racism against people who look like us in the middle of coronavirus-that will go away. That’s the symptom. That’s not the disease. The disease is racism.” Soyoung Kang, CMO, eos

“[We need] to report racist incidents and classify them as hate crimes…We need to document that so that it actually gives us leverage and data to have those conversations.” Boon Lai, vp of global partner marketing, Cisco

Lift Up Asian American Voices
“What I’ve learned from others in the Black Lives Matter movement is that you can still speak up on your way to the top. You don’t need to be at the top to have these conversations and, secondly, you don’t need to be a DEI expert to be united against systemic racism.” Kyle Wong, CEO and co-founder, Pixlee

“Every day I think about how I can amplify underrepresented voices. How do I bring those to light? And how do we democratize content scale and showcase those folks that otherwise wouldn’t have been seen? That gives me that fire to keep going.” Nick Tran, head of global marketing, TikTok US

“Part of leading with empathy is sharing what you’ve been through to create a more open environment for dialogue … it helps to foster a more open conversation in the workplace that allows all of us to be able to bring our whole selves to work.” Soyoung Kang, CMO, eos

“I think this is how you dismantle communities: by fragmenting communities. How do we come together and say what is good for our community, what is good for the next generation, both in anti-racist work in the workplace and in gender equality? The power that we have I still think is so untapped.” Marvin Chow, vp, global marketing, Google

Create Opportunities for Advancement
“The onus is also on us to recognize those differences and the talent within our organization and help to promote that.” Boon Lai, vp of global partner marketing, Cisco

“Those are the people who opened doors for me. People who spot opportunities before they exist, people who look at things and realize that there may be a fit between what I can bring to the table versus what they might need…They validate my experience. They give me the strength and the courage to be at a place like this to share all these things that I feel really uncomfortable talking about.” Minjae Ormes, CMO, Visible

“We have to reach back and support the community—or else everyone is staying on the treadmill and no one is making progress.” Marvin Chow, vp, global marketing, Google

“It’s not enough to just conform. We have to find our own strengths and be able to shine through, so that we not only get promoted, but that we also can leap frog and build our own leadership model.” Heleh Loh, svp, marketing, Charles Schwab

Kaila is a graduating senior at Villanova University pursuing a degree in PR & Advertising and Journalism. She is currently working as the Social Media Manager for CLLCTVE, and covers brand marketing and retail stories as a contributor for Adweek.