At Autodesk, our seven Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help enable and foster a diverse, inclusive workplace where everyone can feel like they belong. One of these ERGs is Autodesk Asian Network (AAN), which focuses on driving leadership and professional development to empower Asian employees, raising awareness of Asian culture to encourage employee engagement, and building partnerships between employees and local Asian communities.
I was inspired to join Autodesk Asian Network by being invited to a two-day AAN leadership course in March 2022. After the first day, I was intrigued by the content and discussions, but also felt something sad – I felt lonely. I am half Chinese and half Dutch, born and raised in Canada, and while it wasn’t obvious to me before, I never felt a true sense of belonging with any culture. I do identify as 100% Asian and I think that is because of how I was raised, surrounded by the Asian culture so much more than any other (though I never felt fully accepted because I spoke broken Cantonese and didn’t quite look the same).
Through the leadership course, I learned so much about how our culture impacts our behaviors. Every scenario explained in the course was something I could truly relate to. This was the first time I felt a real sense of belonging – I felt seen, understood, heard, and not at all alone. I felt an overwhelming sense of community, which I wanted to share and advocate for.
Today, I am an AAN Global Board Member and the Canada Site Lead. I decided to take on this role because I was so deeply impacted by the connections I made during the two-day course that I wanted to become an advocate for our community.
Because my parents are immigrants, I never felt like Canada was my home (despite being born here) and part of me always felt like I had to be grateful for the opportunity to live freely in Canada. I felt living here meant accepting racism and biases; however, now I feel empowered. I know I am not alone, and everyone deserves to feel accepted. I will use this opportunity to help educate and make an impact for our community.
I am relatively new to AAN but hope my role as a board member and site lead will expand my network and help further develop my leadership skills. Because I have always worked remotely, I’ve missed out on “water cooler talk,” so joining a group like AAN takes me out of my day-to-day and creates tremendous opportunity and exposure across Autodesk.
ERGs are great for support, but they also provide opportunities to learn about new cultures and communities. Even though I’m not physically close to my fellow Autodeskers, I never truly feel alone thanks to my AAN family.