To commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Jessica Reeves, SVP of Operations, is excited to share her journey as a technology executive with South Korean roots.
While I was born in South Korea, I was adopted at just three months of age, so while my parents made sure that my two siblings (also from South Korea) and I knew where we came from, all I’ve really known is American culture. I grew up in a rural town in Ohio and was one of the only Asian American kids in a graduating class of under 100. I honestly didn’t even notice my “minority” status until I graduated from college and entered the corporate world, as my hometown and adolescent experience was very inclusive and loving.
Upon entering said corporate world, there were a number of times when people said to me, “I don’t know if they will take you seriously because you are A) a woman, and B) an Asian woman.” This puzzled me, as I’ve always been strong-willed and confident and never thought being Asian would affect my credibility in the business world. Despite the warnings I’ve received over the years, I’m happy to say that I’ve never felt ostracized for being a woman or for being Asian—though I understand there are many Asian women who have had entirely different experiences.
When I reflect on my journey as an Asian American woman in corporate America, I can tease out a few things that I feel have contributed to my success. First of all, the aforementioned strong will and confidence have come in handy. I’ve always believed in myself, propelling myself into my career head-and-heart-first and working hard to achieve my goals. I’ve found that if you consistently believe you can get the job done and then execute on that belief, other people become confident in you, too. Plus, I’ve had amazing mentors of all genders and ethnicities who shared their knowledge and modeled success. I can’t overstate how important it is to connect with mentors who can serve as guides and invest in your professional development.
In my current role as SVP of Operations at Anaconda, I look around and feel a sense of belonging. Our founder and CEO is Asian, and we have many talented Asian American employees across departments. I feel valued for my achievements and abilities, and I feel proud to work alongside other hard-working, passionate, and open-minded people. Reflecting on my experience and on Anaconda’s vigorous diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, I also feel hopeful. I hope and anticipate that Asian Americans will continue to feel more and more empowered to pursue their dreams and achieve success in their chosen fields. Just remember: believing in our future starts with believing in yourself.