Sandy is a Senior Manager in Product Management and Strategy for Oracle Marketing Cloud. A Chinese American, Sandy and her family immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area from Taiwan when she was 10 years old. As a child, she refused to learn English in her first few months in America, because she believed everyone would eventually learn Mandarin. However, Sandy does consider herself a Bay Area native, as she spent most of her formative years (middle school through university) in the local area.
“Oracle was my first job at a ‘big’ company after university. It was a complete culture shock,” she says. Growing up in the Bay Area, Chinese and other Asian Americans surrounded Sandy throughout school. Not only was Oracle her first experience working with non-Asians, but the first team that she worked with was full of seasoned and experienced professionals and CPAs from the Big 10 accounting firms. “I was totally intimidated and unsure of myself,” she recalls. “Luckily, I had a great manager and mentor who believed in me and hired me.”
One thing that Sandy was certain about herself was, “I’m a learner. Even though I didn’t know a lot about a lot, I trusted my ability to ask questions and learn.” Over time, she learned the technical aspects of her job. She also realized that people who were not like her or the people around whom she grew up, were just people, too. “I don’t think I realized it then, but looking back, that first team I joined was extremely diverse, even by today’s standards. I saw that ethnicity and race were not barriers to having a successful career. That was an important lesson for me.”
After recently attending an Oracle Employee Resource Group (ERG) event that discussed the issue of identity and visibility, Sandy learned that acknowledging people’s identity is the first step to helping people feel included. “I believe that it is our responsibility, as minorities, to elevate other minorities, especially when we are in a position of influence,” she says. “I believe we should help other minorities to have just as much visibility, training, and opportunity so that they are eligible in the race. Those in leadership positions have the extra responsibility to help others recognize their own potential and power, even when they can’t see it themselves.”
As part of the Oracle Professional Asian Leadership (OPAL) ERG, celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Oracle means a lot to Sandy. “I feel that the organization not only recognizes me and my fellow Asian Pacific Americans’ differences, but also celebrates them. I would like non-OPAL employees to know that they can join OPAL, too. Whether it’s expanding your network, learning about various Asian cultures, or just partaking in the professional development that we offer our members, everyone is welcome at OPAL. We’d love your support!”
Sandy offers some final advice: “It’s taken me 20 years to figure out what I am most curious about. Don’t be discouraged if you are still on the path of discovery. Find a way to help and elevate someone else; it just might point you in a direction you’ve never considered before.”
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