May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The month celebrates all Asians and Pacific Islanders (think the island chains of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia) and became law in 1992. As with many months celebrating the ethnic heritage that creates the United States, our country’s history with Asian and Pacific Islander Americans is complex. We encourage you to learn more about the fastest growing US demographic.
At RPG, our core cultural building blocks are authenticity, belonging and compassion. But, without a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, these are just words. Our friends at The Diversity Movement remind us, “when companies downplay demographic differences, they actually increase underrepresented employees’ perception of bias from white colleagues and reduce engagement at work.”
As part of recognizing and celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), we celebrate Racer Stephanie Styons, and all that the month of observation means to her.
What motivates you?
I try to do my best every day and make a positive impact – at home, at work, wherever I am. I’m motivated by helping others do the same – whether guiding an early-stage professional at the agency, volunteering at a non-profit, or explaining an important lesson to my children. I have had some great role models throughout my life and want to make sure I am a good role model for others.
Who has served as an inspiration in your life?
My mother is one of the strongest women I have ever known – wife, mother, physician, role model. She finished medical school and got married at the age of 24. Shortly after, she moved more than 8,500 miles away to NYC, leaving the only home she ever knew. She became the sole breadwinner after my father fell ill when he was in his 50s and had to stop working.
My mother was a hardworking physician who was dedicated to her husband and raised four strong-willed daughters. She is truly an inspiration.
What book do you think everyone should read?
I enjoy books that inspire, motivate, or just make me think. Frankly, I like getting lost in stories. There is no one book that I feel everyone should read – but I do encourage everyone to find the stories that speak to them.
What does Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month mean to you?
I am proud that my parents came from the Philippines and decided to raise their children in America. My home is decorated with items made in the Philippines, I share stories that my parents told me, and I cook Filipino food regularly.
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month encourages us to celebrate our culture outside of our home and educate others about our heritage. It means times have changed – certainly changed from when my parents first moved to America. This month, I hope to teach others about my background and share stories.