BY JEFF BRODY, LEAD COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR - MAY 05, 2022
USAA employee Dan B., multimedia specialist senior, says many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders struggle with a culture that promotes staying in the background.
Dan's father was a young Filipino in the 1960s when he was recruited by the U.S. Navy. In exchange for service, he would become a U.S. citizen. After 20 years in the Navy, Dan asked him why he never got past the rank of E-6, petty officer first class. “He said 'it's best not to get noticed,'" Dan recalls.
Dan says that culture of being reserved and staying in the background was passed down to many in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Overall, Asian Americans comprise 13% of the workforce in the U.S., but they make up only 6% of all leadership roles.
“I'm glad that many Asian Americans now are starting to step over those boundaries," he says, adding that USAA has helped give him opportunities to shine.
“One of my former leaders at USAA saw that filmmaking and videography was a passion of mine, and gave me the opportunity to create a series of videos for our organization," Dan says. “That opened the door to my current job, which marries my career with my passion. Thanks to this company, I was able to break from my parents' philosophy — and I haven't looked back since."
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time when we recognize the contributions of Americans whose ancestry comes from the continent of Asia and the Pacific island groups of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
More than 122,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders currently serve in the U.S. military, and 33 AAPI individuals have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. About 6.5% of USAA employees are part of the AAPI community.