Throughout May we will be spotlighting employees in celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. This week, we are featuring Richard Wing, senior manager of strategic planning based in Toronto. Read on to learn more about what Richard is doing to bring awareness to the accomplishments and experiences of the AANHPI community, what others can do this month, and more importantly all year long, to be strong allies.
What does AANHPI Month mean to you? How do you celebrate/recognize the month?
Providing a spotlight on the history and diversity of AANHPI helps to increase exposure and awareness of the people, language and rich culture of the colleagues, friends, or people that you interact with in the office, brewery, or in your day to day. Whether they are born here or born elsewhere, we all have a unique story with our different challenges and perspectives. By recognizing the achievements of people from the various diasporas that make up AANHPI, it both celebrates the individual stories and accomplishments, and creates awareness of the systemic challenges these individuals have overcome to get there, and the journey we are still undertaking.
Celebrating diverse voices shouldn’t be limited to one month. How can people be strong allies throughout the entire year?
At the heart of the journey to become a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community, people in marginalized groups want to be treated the same as everyone else. To be a good ally is to understand the perspective of our communities, to listen and learn that explicit and implicit discrimination still happens, that almost everyone across the BIPOC spectrum has experienced individual interactions to systemic acts of prejudice at one point in their lives. Some much more than others. Members of underrepresented groups won’t all have the same experiences.
Once you understand how injustice impacts those around you, help amplify the voices and messages of those that aren’t as easily heard. Help us shape a more equitable workplace and society and drive systemic change and improvements to workplace policies, practices and culture.
Who is an AANHPI leader or role model you look up to and why?
There are many leaders I admire, but I would have to say Dr. Theresa Tam. She is the chief public health officer of Canada and head of the Public Health Agency of Canada, whom Canadians have grown accustomed to seeing in near-daily briefings during the pandemic. She was also instrumental in helping guide Canada through health crises like SARS, H1N1 and Ebola. She is a highly knowledgeable and pragmatic leader and is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in Canada’s public health history. I admire her for the way she is able to break down complex scientific and epidemiological concepts to ones we can all understand, explaining how we can do our part in keeping Canadians safe in the face of adversity and pressure. It is a thankless job, and she has faced numerous racist comments online and even within the parliament in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, while conducting herself with dignity and grace. She is one of the reasons why Canada’s vaccination rate and mortality rate are amongst the best in the world.
What would you say to people who identify as AANHPI who are interested in pursuing a career at Molson Coors/beverage industry?
Throughout my seven years at Molson Coors, I have had the opportunity to work with great colleagues, mentors and leaders who supported and encouraged my growth, and taken risks on me. I, in turn, have looked to do the same with those that reported into me. With DEI as a critical pillar, MCBC is making a statement that they are working towards creating an inclusive and diverse company, looking for talent from potentially underserved BIPOC communities.
For AANHPI candidates, don’t be afraid to work with your manager to tell them what your growth ambitions are. Don’t be afraid to reach out across the organization, to learn more about the various teams that align to your areas of interest. You never know who is ready for you to take a leap.
And for those outside the organization looking in – apply. We want the best candidates to start, continue or accelerate their careers here, regardless of their gender or ethnicity. We need your voices to help us transform Molson to be the best it can be.
What can people do to raise awareness and educate themselves about the “Stop AAPI/Asian Hate” movement?
Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in racism and xenophobia toward Asians around the world. They have been stigmatized, shamed and “othered.” I experienced this firsthand during the pandemic myself, as well as in the early 2000s when SARS was in the news. My advice for raising awareness and educating is to inform yourself, as well as participate in gateways to action. There are a lot of resources, including AsiaPacific, that shows Canadian and U.S. resources for information and opportunities to participate.
We may not all look or speak the same, but we all have a shared humanity.