Speaking Out with the Asian Employee Network

Here at Adobe, our Employee Networks play an important role in bringing our employees together to build community and foster an inclusive workplace. This month, we pay tribute to Asian Pacific American Heritage by celebrating the work that’s being done by our Asian Employee Network (AEN) and the experiences of some of its members.

Leading by example and sharing cultures

For Fanny Armstrong, Senior Manager for Employee Experience Solutions, her tenure as a site co-lead with AEN hasn’t been long, but it’s been incredibly impactful. Having been an AEN co-lead for a few months now, Fanny recounted why she decided to take the volunteer role. “A turning point for me was when I took an Asian Leadership Program at Stanford. This program was recommended to me by one of the AEN members, and it really opened my eyes to the problems that many Asians face in the industry. When I was later asked if I wanted to become a co-lead for AEN, I felt that was a chance for me to give back to my community and help others.”

Gladys Liu (center) and Fanny Armstrong (second from the right) celebrating Lunar New Year back in February.

Since then, Fanny’s been working hard to drive leadership and professional development of Asians and Asian Americans, creating networking opportunities to build relationships, and raising the overall awareness of Asian cultures and community. “I want to get my friends out of their shell and get them out in their community. I find that leading by example is the best way to do this. Being part of the network has opened a lot of opportunities for me and has made me look inward and think more about my heritage, and why I’m proud to be Asian.”

As for Krantee Bhangalay, Computer Scientist, Creative Cloud and site lead for our Seattle Asian Employee Network, she gets involved in a slightly different way. “I’ve always loved bringing people together. The network provides a good platform for us to connect and learn from each other.”

AEN hosting Holi, the Festival of Colors.

Of our employee networks, the Asian Employee Network is one of the most diverse groups, bringing together employees from a variety of ethnicities—Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, and more! And one of the surefire ways to bind these cultures together is through the simple act of sharing food. “Food is a big part of sharing and experiencing cultures. My favorite memories with AEN revolve around most of the festivals we organize. We always have lots of food when we celebrate events. Food brings people and culture together—it’s the thread of society.”

Speaking out and overcoming setbacks

Gladys Liu, Senior Director of Service Life Cycle and Product Operations, who is also the AEN Executive Sponsor, explains that the main goal this year is to make sure the Asian Employee Network “can bring more awareness and promotion of Asian cultures, while also providing more career growth opportunities.” To double-down on their mission, Gladys and her team drove the creation of Adobe’s first ever Asian Employee Network Leadership Summit.

Guest speakers Dr. Yanbing Li, SVP and GM at VMware (left) and Catherine Chiu, Founding Partner of Falcon Associates (right), engage with the audience.

“With the Summit, we wanted to make sure we focused a lot on our theme: Speaking Out. All of us have interesting stories and opinions to share, but we don’t always have the courage to speak up. One of the main goals of the AEN Leadership Summit was to provide inspiration and confidence in public speaking,” Gladys says.

Kristi Yamaguchi (left) sharing her experience with AEN Co-Lead Gail Tanaka (right) and Adobe employees during the Summit.

The Summit brought together AEN members who wanted to improve their leadership skills and listen to executive guest speakers from companies like VMware and Falcon Associates. Additionally, all our employees got the chance to listen to the keynote speaker—Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. Kristi shared her inspiring success story winning her 1992 Olympic Gold Medal in figure skating, as well as her experience as a New York Times bestselling children’s author, philanthropist of her Always Dream Foundation, and champion of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. In explaining her inspiring story, Kristi shared a valuable lesson in how discouragement and setbacks can be the catalyst for something brighter.

With the success of this year’s AEN Summit, the team can’t wait to start planning for the years ahead!

Read more about our employee networks and the employees that breathe life into them: