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Celebrating Asian American, Asia Canadian and Pacific Islander Heritage: YJ Discusses the Value of Multiculturalism

YJ's headshot

YJ L. | Account Manager, Inside Sales | Texas, United States

Originally Published: May 22nd, 2024

Young YJ plays on a drum set.

Food for Thought

For YJ, culture is like hot pot. You gather around a table laden with raw ingredients and a big pot of soup right in the middle. To make it a meal, you place the different ingredients into the soup.


“As time passes and the conversation at the table continues, the soup is just going to get more flavorful,” YJ said.


But the key ingredient isn’t the meat, vegetables or even the broth. It’s the people at the table. You can’t have a great hot pot experience alone.


“It’s more meaningful and intentional when you have a whole community coming to the table,” YJ said. “When you have hot pot, you have to be present. You have to be together. You have to check the flame. You have to check what food you want and have the opportunity to serve others. There are multiple variables coming together with a single purpose.”


The hot pot analogy also suits YJ’s approach to collaboration, both in his role as a program manager for Dell for Startups and within the Asians in Action Employee Resource Group (AiA ERG). He strives to learn the backgrounds and stories of the people he works with.


“Not everyone’s good at everything, but it’s been great to connect on the foundation of our Asian heritage and figure out how we can support each other,” YJ said.


YJ grew up in the diverse city of Houston, Texas, which heavily influenced his multicultural upbringing. At five years old, he wanted to be a cowboy when he grew up. He listened to country songs where the “radio is turned down low with a whiskey in one hand.”


As the child of Taiwanese parents, he was able to embrace the best of both cultures, from his childhood music preferences to celebrating Thanksgiving with a Peking duck because “sometimes turkey is a little dry.”

YJ speaks into a microphone at an event.

Asians in Action

Last year, to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, YJ was part of a group that reached out to 10 local corporate ERGs supporting Asians, including ERGs at National Instruments, Oracle, Indeed and VMware.


The end result? An event with over 200 corporate Asian professionals and allies to discuss shared struggles and opportunities within the community and what it’s like to be an Asian American in a corporate environment.


“As Dell, we’ve been blessed with having a lot of very passionate employees to support these ERGs,” YJ said. “In other companies, you only see one or two leaders supporting all of the ERGs' initiatives.”


AiA is hosting the event again this year. They’re expecting double last year’s attendance.

YJ sits on stage as part of a panel.

Redefining Labels

ERGs allow us to connect on different values and initiatives. For YJ, the most important part is how we connect with each other individually.


“I love to see labels not as a way to talk about who we’re against, but utilizing labels to see how we can connect and relate to each other,” YJ said. “That’s one of the most beautiful things about community.”


Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our identities at work that we forget there are other ways we can connect as individuals.


“I really appreciate that Dell has a lot of these types of diversity and inclusion initiatives so there’s multiple ways for us to feel seen not only through the work and the ethics that we have, but also from a cultural and faith perspective,” YJ said.


Next, learn how Michelle found a community in the Asians in Action ERG.

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