BDO professionals reflect on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month


Each May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) is a time to honor the successes and contributions of Pan-Asian Americans throughout history. While this month is a time to celebrate, we must also recognize and address the ongoing violence and xenophobia towards Pan-Asians across the country by reaffirming our support for our colleagues and communities through empathy, allyship and action.

Throughout the month, BDO’s Pan-Asian Professionals group is leading a firmwide recognition of APAHM, including a virtual performing arts showcase exploring various styles of music and dance from Pan-Asian cultures, as well as an initiative to fold and donate one thousand paper cranes as a way of spreading hope, love and peace.

Below, four BDO professionals reflect on what APAHM means to them and share their experiences in the industry.

 

 

Professional Headshot of Stan Huang Stan Huang
Transaction Advisory Services Managing Director


What does it mean to you to be a Pan-Asian professional in the accounting industry?

Personally, I always strive to be the best I can be, but I don’t like bringing attention to myself. This mentality is part of my Asian upbringing. However, through the years, I noticed being able to display accomplishments (not in a boastful way) can have a positive career impact. As a Pan-Asian professional in the accounting industry, I want to help younger professionals navigate their career by sharing my experiences and providing guidance specific to them. In my career, I have had several mentors who did that for me, and I believe the best way to show my appreciation is to pay it forward.
 

How has being Pan-Asian in the accounting profession changed over the course of your career or since you were young?

Looking back to when I first started my career, there were fewer senior-level Pan-Asian professionals relative to junior levels. This made me question the long-term prospects of staying in public accounting. It is good to see the increase in senior-level Pan-Asian professionals through the years. I hope this continuing progress is encouraging for Pan-Asian professionals.
 
 
Professional Headshot of Thu Huynh Thu Huynh
Creative Services Manager


How have you commemorated the month in the past? In light of recent events, how might this change?

I have commemorated APAHM in the past by listening to the stories that are told by my parents and “elders.” Especially when looking through old photographs of my family from Vietnam, these stories of hardships and labor, perseverance and love become more vivid and powerful. From time to time, I share these compelling stories with my friends and anyone who is willing to listen, so they too can know where Pan-Asians have been and how we came to be where we are today. In light of the tragic recent events that have devastated the Pan-Asian community, the only change for me is that this is provoking me to celebrate more and harder than ever before. It's important to raise awareness about the discrimination we are experiencing, but it is also important to let the world know that this will not stop us from sharing our stories and from living our lives. There are deep Pan-Asian roots in the U.S., and the contributions that we've made have dramatically influenced moments in American history. Therefore, we refuse to be invisible and will fight to be seen and heard. I will continue to tell these stories and I hope to pass them down for generations to come.
 

What does it mean to you to be a Pan-Asian professional in the accounting industry?

Historically speaking, minorities have faced a lot of hurdles navigating the accounting world. Although it is still challenging to include more people of color in the industry, the profession continues to strive for improvements. Nonetheless, being a Pan-Asian professional in the accounting industry means I am one step closer to breaking the “glass ceiling,” especially in a manager role. I come from a working-class immigrant family, so to be in a professional position in such a robust industry is a huge step for me. I’m proud to say I’m where I am today in my career and as a person because of the sacrifices my parents made to provide me with a better life!
 


 
Professional Headshot of Ihita Kabir Ihita Kabir
Public Sector Contracts & Compliance Manager


How have you commemorated the month in the past? In light of recent events, how might this change?

In the past, my APAHM efforts have focused on learning and celebration. I am usually drawn to opportunities that deepen my knowledge of the diverse Pan-Asian diaspora while also celebrating our identities and making space for joy in our existence. However, this year, it is especially critical to educate others, push back on anti-Asian hate, and stand in solidarity with other marginalized ethnic groups. We must collectively speak up for social justice in all spaces — from the boardrooms to our homes.
 

What do you appreciate about BDO’s focus on diversity and inclusion?

I appreciate BDO’s continued efforts to do the right thing, speak up and leverage resources — both internally and externally — to continue sharpening our knowledge and position on social justice issues and how we can increase representation and amplification beyond tokenism.
 
 
Professional Headshot of Binita Pradhan Binita Pradhan
Assurance Partner and West Region Third Party Attestation Practice Leader

 

What does it mean to you to be a Pan-Asian professional in the accounting industry?

I am a woman and an Asian — that’s the “meta” data about me. The stereotype is that Pan-Asians tend to go into more medical and engineering fields, but there are some great Pan-Asian role models within BDO alone in this industry and I am proud to be part of the partner group serving alongside these colleagues.

 

What do you appreciate about BDO’s focus on diversity and inclusion?

BDO is taking a definitive stance against racism and related violence, and stands proudly in solidarity with all our colleagues of color against these matters. Our leaders, such as CEO Wayne Berson, Chief People Officer Cathy Moy and others, have also made it clear what BDO stands for. We all recognize there is more work to be done, but we are tackling these issues head on within BDO and I am proud to be part of this family, where I see efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion both from the bottom up and the top down.