WE21 Lost in Translation – Demystifying and Maximizing Asian Culture | SehndeWeb

The 2019 U.S. Census indicates that the “single race” of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders made up 5.7% of the U.S. population. “Asian Americans” is a term that combines many different groups that all come from the Asian continent. When you look at a map of Asia, you can see that there are a total of 48 countries with over 50 distinct racial and ethnic groups that speak over 73 different languages. With this immense diversity, it is difficult to generalize about the cultural characteristics and experiences of immigrants in this group. From 2000 to 2019, Asians and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders had the highest growth rate of any population group in the United States. Therefore, it is imperative that non-AAHPI leaders and workers have a better understanding of these cultural differences.

The “model minority” myth fails to capture this diversity and propagates the false belief that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are all successful academically and professionally. Asian Americans are the most economically diverse group in the United States, with Asians experiencing the greatest income disparity of any group. In fact, those at the top of the ladder have 8.7 times the income of those at the bottom. This disparity also permeates the educational status of this group.

Each immigrant experience is different and deserves to be considered individually rather than as a conglomeration. In this webinar, four Asian American engineers discuss their career development through the sharing of personal stories and experiences. They share their immigrant journey, their difficulties in aligning their family’s culture with American culture in the community and in business circles.

Panelists explain how impostor syndrome and perfectionism can hinder career growth and recommend ways to counter their impact. Additionally, they discuss how cultural values ​​that transcend many Asian cultures can become an asset that companies should leverage.

They provide advice on how to combat bias by redirecting others to partnering and using succession planning for career growth. Additional tips include ways to convert negative stereotypes such as being too quiet or too submissive into positive qualities of being thought-makers and collaborative partners.

Finally, the panelists offer tips for allies so they can recognize biases and redirect others to foster and create a work environment that embraces diversity and values ​​all contributions. The panel ends with a summary and the sharing of recommended books, articles and webinars for further learning. You can see the PDF version of Lost in Translation here.

Speaker biographies:

The Si Qu

Le Si (LEE-see) Qu is an Engineer General with the United States Department of the Army. She was a founding member and leader of the SWE Asian Connections Affinity Group (AG). She currently chairs the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) SWE AGs and is an advisor to Early Career Professionals AG. Le Si is a proud first-generation college graduate and child of Chinese immigrants. She is originally from New York, New York.

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The Si Qu

Jennifer Chen Morikawa

Jennifer Morikawa is a Senior Manufacturing Project Engineer at General Motors. She has held many leadership positions at SWE, including Chapter President, Awards and Recognition Chair, Region Governor, and a member of the WE Local Advisory Board. She currently sits on the SWE Board of Directors as a Director. She is a 2nd generation Taiwanese American who was born and raised in the Detroit metro area. She is married to a 5th generation Japanese American from Hawaii.

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Jennifer Morikawa

Sunita Gupta Lavin

Sunita Lavin is Assistant Department Manager at Burns & McDonnell. She is currently co-head of the Latinos Affinity Group. Her family is from India and she continually strives to make the workplace a more welcoming place for underrepresented groups through the establishment of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

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Sunita Lavine

Yin Wai Vanessa Li

Vanessa is currently the chair-elect of the SWE Membership Committee and an advisor to the SWE Asian Connections affinity group. Vanessa works in the metal fabrication industries in various roles. She is a metallurgical engineer and is currently a program manager at Novelis.

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Vanessa Li


Blog All together 2021 on WE20 “Lost in Translation – Demystifying and Maximizing Asian Culture”: https://alltogether.swe.org/2021/04/demystifying-asian-culture/





  • WE21 Lost in Translation – Demystifying and Maximizing Asian Culture WE21


    The SWE Blog provides up-to-date information and news about the Society and how our members make a difference every day. You’ll find stories about SWE members, engineering, technology, and other STEM-related topics.

  • WE21 Lost in Translation – Demystifying and Maximizing Asian Culture WE21

    Tuyet-Hanh Schnell

    Tuyet-Hanh Schnell is a systems engineering manager and agile coach at Lockheed Martin, where she also serves as co-chair of the Women’s Impact Network Business Resource Group Awards Committee. She is the newsletter manager for the Asian Connections affinity group and a member of the SWE Outreach Committee. She is the Fiscal 22 Vice President for the SWE Southern NJ Chapter.

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