Celebrating your Asian heritage – what are you most proud of?

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It’s Asian Heritage Month – a time when the spotlight is on our vibrant Asian cultures and we celebrate the communities that contribute so much to the fabric of Canada and around the world. Celebrating Asian heritage is at the heart of Ascend Canada and we want to recognize all of our members – the best advocates of our mission – who help us do this every single day.

We asked a few of our members to share what they are most proud of about their Asian heritage. Here’s what they said.

Hamza Mansoor, CFO, Tangerine

“For me, it’s the vibrancy. I see it in all aspects of life, from arts and culture, the language, the feeling of community the various forms of music and the fusion of lived experiences, all the way to the many ways we approach work. I like to call it the “immigrant mindset”. It’s the idea of the hustle, to experiment and learn, to persevere towards a goal. It’s something I have come to admire the more I learn and connect with.”

Michelle Leung, Manager, Strategy & Transactions, EY Parthenon

“It turns out my parents were right – the older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate the Chinese values, traditions and food. I’m proud of the resilience that my parents exemplified in their quest to build a better life for my brother and me, the sacrifices they’ve made for our benefit, and the time they took to highlight the importance of a connection to our Chinese heritage. My childhood was filled with large banquet-style dinners, fun Chinese New Year festivities, and Lunar birthday celebrations for my grandparents. I’m proud to participate in these traditions which connect me to all my ancestors before me. As Sandra Oh put it: “It’s an honor just to be Asian.”

Karen Ta, Senior Manager, Learning & Development, PwC | Co-Chair, AESEA Inclusion Network

“I grew up with a large extended family of 13 maternal cousins – of varying ages and personalities. I’m proud that of we’re still tight-knit, despite how we’ve grown even larger with marriages and kids. Our family motto is ‘a family that plays together, stays together’. At wintertime, we not only celebrate with delicious food, but also a family “Olympics”. Each year: new team, new challenges, and new memories. While a competitive nature is encouraged, team work is what earns us top marks. It’s about bringing the best out of everyone. A mindset I’ve applied not only with my family, but also at work – to help achieve team harmony and success. Recently, I saw it play out in the I was able to bring an enthusiastic group together to form the Association of East and South East Asians (AESEA) Inclusion Network at PwC.”

Selena Ng, Director, Talent Management, Sun Life

“As a child, one of the first things engrained in me was to call every adult I met ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle’. No matter who they were or what background they came from, I was taught to treat every person with the same respect as a close family member. It could be an actual relative; or just a new friend my parents met an hour ago. It’s this notion of unwavering, deserved respect to everyone you meet, that I am most proud of about my Asian heritage. As I’ve grown up and become the adult I am today, I’ve carried this notion of immediate respect and aim to treat all people as I would a family member – regardless of whether it’s within my family, community or workplace.”