In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we're doing a four-part series highlighting the experiences and sentiments of some of our employees at Notarize. Check out our previous spotlights of Hannah Chai, HR Ops Manager and Kim Gaedeke, AVP, Head of Government Affairs & Community Engagement, and Brian Huang, Senior Data Scientist.
Selena Chen, Creative Director
I fell in love with the creative field — you could say it was “love at first class” during my first year in college. Albert Lin, who was my graphic design professor, had provided me with a lot of creative feedback that was eye-opening to me. Both being Asian, he was a role model for me. He was transparent with his creative critiques, spent 1:1 time providing feedback on my designs projects and shared his professional experience. His mentorship has impacted where I am today.
I started my creative career in publications, then focused on events, which led me to the tech industry. I'm a people person and passionate about doing different things. I am always driving towards my goals and I like to problem solve. I think that this is in part due to my Asian heritage. There is a misconception that those of AAPI descent can be pushovers, but I feel that we are just more passive. The emphasis in our culture is to not create more problems, but to minimize problems and solve them.
I like challenges and I believe in hard work, which sometimes can mean putting in a lot of hours. But to me, it means I’m accumulating experience and skills that will open up more opportunities and options in work and life in general.
I've been lucky throughout my career — I've had a lot of support and opportunities to grow that have gotten me to where I am today. I'm proud to represent my Asian heritage as a leader with a voice at Notarize, and I would like to see more representation from the AAPI community in leadership roles.
What AAPI Heritage Month means to me
To me, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportunity to share our cultures, support the AAPI community, and celebrate unity and togetherness. This is especially important at a time when hate crimes against those in the AAPI community are increasing. We need to support each other and celebrate our differences, rather than judging and stereotyping those who are different.
Even though I live in America and enjoy aspects of American food and traditions, my daily life is still very much enmeshed with my Asian culture. I cherish the traditions of monthly family gatherings and exchanging food, which is common in our culture. My family and I continue to celebrate Chinese holidays, such as Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival (a day we use as an opportunity to get together to celebrate our happiness and enjoy food). We really enjoy cooking together, and frequently make sushi and steamed buns.
Beyond food and holidays, my Asian heritage has taught me the sheer importance of being close with family and friends. Our culture puts emphasis on lifelong bonds, and helping each other is ingrained in our way of life.