It’s our honor to shine the light on owner Michele Kang in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month today, and every day. Below is an excerpt from remarks given at the M&T Bank/Wilmington Trust AAPI Thought Leadership Event in partnership with NBC4 and Telemundo 44.
It is an honor to speak with you about the importance of recognizing and celebrating the heritage of AAPI and its contributions to the community we live in. As an entrepreneur and now professional sports team owner, I can tell you that the values and discipline my parents and teachers instilled in me growing up in Korea have been the principal sources of my strength. They have guided me through a constantly changing and challenging business world, whether in technology, healthcare, or sports.When I came the United States over 40 years ago, I embraced my being an AAPI as an advantage; I did not see it as a barrier. Throughout my business career, this cultural background helped me understand people, markets, and customers multi-dimensionally, deal with and thrive in ambiguity, and bring people together around common goals and causes.Throughout my business career, I observed that the most successful people were the ones who wanted to learn, and that meant they sought out and listened to people with a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints. It’s harder to learn from people who see things exactly like you do.I’d like to leave you with three thoughts as we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month:
- First, I call on members of the AAPI community to aspire to be leaders in whatever you do, whether it is a profession or trade, your own business, or any organization. And as you do this, you should view your rich background as an advantage, because that is what it is. Don’t be apologetic and accept implicit or explicit AAPI stereotypes.
- Second, build strong relationships and support each other. Speak up in support of fellow AAPIs or anyone in need, whether within an organization, in public or in private. No act of support is ever too small. We never know what one act or word of support can do for someone. Lend and leverage what you have to help and advance others.
- Last but not least is to get engaged in the community and give back. Some of us have been very fortunate in our lives and I consider it an absolute duty to help bring others along with us. Get engaged in your civic, cultural, community, and political processes. It is our job to leave this world a better place for the next generation of AAPIs.