Sharing our different cultures
Japan, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia … I could go on! There are so many unique Asian cultures that we celebrate here. And while these cultures have a lot of similarities, they have a lot of differences, too - which means there is always something new to learn, no matter who you are. Whether you are Asian or non-Asian, sharing and interacting with the VAEN community is a valuable way to discover customs, traditions, economies and histories that make each culture special.
Making new memories
VAEN events and programs allow us to come together not only as colleagues, but also as friends. To kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this year, we hosted "A Taste of Asia and the Pacific Islands", with food stations representing different countries and cuisines - Philippines, Malaysia, Hawaii, Samoa & Tonga and more. For example, we had Bombay Bhel (India), Lu Pulu (Samoa/Tonga), Chicken Satay (Singapore) and Maja Blanca (Philippines), just to name a few. Quizzes at each station encouraged attendees to mingle and learn more about each country, and Polynesian dancers and drummers got everyone on their feet! The Auditorium was packed. We also host Lunar New Year celebrations, participate in Dragon Boat races, plan workshops and speaker events, and more … there's lots of fun to be had!
Giving back together
Part of building our Asian community within Visa is about joining forces to impact the extended family outside our walls. We host regular bake sale fundraisers to benefit communities in need such as those impacted by the Nepal Earthquake in 2015, California flooding in 2016/ 2017, and NorCal wildfires in 2017. Our next bake sale will be supporting API Chaya, a charity that seeks to end systemic violence in our communities. And every year, we volunteer at the San Mateo Autumn Moon Festival with Self-Help for the Elderly, leading community elders in a Generations Walk through the park. It's a moving experience, and a great way to connect with our larger community.
Creating awareness and empathy
Building connections within VAEN (or within other community groups) encourages us to see one another as unique individuals, and to treat each other as friends. We learn to be sensitive, kind, mindful and open. The more we share our backgrounds and perspectives, the less we will see color or first language as a defining characteristic.
Fostering an inclusive culture
When I first joined VAEN, colleagues would ask me, "Do I need to be Asian to be part of this ERG?" The answer is always "No!" As long as you're interested, come on in! Events are open to everyone at our company. I've found that Visa employees are very open-minded and willing to try new things, and that's a big reason why our workplace is so welcoming. That is what brings me in every day … the people.
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