We’re continuing our celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, when we celebrate the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched our history and are instrumental to our future success.
At Quantcast, we’re taking the time to shine the spotlight on our team members with Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. This week, I spoke with Rodney Champaco, Senior Manager, Technical Client Services, to discuss his role at Quantcast, who inspires him, and the importance of this month.
1. First, tell the world about your role at Quantcast.
I started at Quantcast as an Account Manager six years ago. After a year and a half, I joined our Customer Success team because I have a passion for all things operational and the people behind them. I’m now a Senior Manager in Technical Client Services, overseeing our teams in New York, Chicago, and Toronto. I’m proud of the dedication the Client Services team puts into the setup, management, and technical aspects of our client’s campaigns. They take pride in ensuring both our clients and the sales teams they support are happy.
2. As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), can you tell us why it’s important to you?
APAHM reminds me to take pride in my roots and where my family came from. For me, that’s the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, where “America’s Day Begins.” Although I was born and raised in the United States, my upbringing centered around the indigenous Chamorro values of respect, cooperation, and treating others with kindness, generosity, and dignity. I also grew up around delicious Chamorro foods, a distinct language, and was a part of cultural dancing groups.
Outside of recognizing my own culture, this month has been a time to celebrate the influence and contributions of all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I also think it’s an important time to acknowledge the anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. and other parts of the world. That recognition has been critical in understanding the struggles the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has overcome, and it’s never been more important than now with the spike in AAPI hate and discrimination.
3. What leaders have inspired you?
There are so many inspirational leaders that come to mind. Personally, I feel very fortunate to have lived under Barack Obama’s administration. Obama, who was influenced by growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, inspired me with his victory speech in 2008: “And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.” Leadership themes of positivity and resilience have always driven me to lead in a similar way.
Another person who comes to mind is Gary Locke. When I lived in Seattle, he was the governor of Washington from 1997 to 2005. Gary Locke is one of only six elected governors of AAPI descent (one of only three outside of Hawaii). He later served under President Obama as the first Chinese American U.S. ambassador to China. It was very inspiring to see an AAPI person serve at such a high level in politics.
Lastly, as a kid I was very much inspired by Bruce Lee. Even though he passed away at a young age, he left a profound legacy. When I was growing up, there were barely any other AAPI actors in movies or TV. His iconic presence gave AAPI children permission to dream and know that it was possible to be successful on a big stage. And, quite frankly, Bruce Lee made it cool to be AAPI.
4. What advice would you give to other AAPI individuals in tech?
I’d recommend speaking up more in every interaction–1:1s, internal meetings, client calls, etc. I’ve always been comfortable in any forum asking questions, thanks to my own curious nature. I’ve also been surrounded by leaders and peers throughout my career, especially with Quantcast, who have encouraged me to be heard. That philosophy is often in contrast to AAPI being raised to be respectful of others. That loosely translates to being mindful of what they say, not wasting other people’s time, or holding back dissent against others. Unfortunately, that mindset restricts the exchange of ideas and feedback through open, honest communication. While I’m surrounded by strong AAPI voices, I’d like more of us to be heard in tech.
5. And lastly, as we’ve all had the shared experience of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, can you share with us your bright spots over the past year?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the additional time with my family. Before the pandemic, I was spending at least two hours a day travelling to and from the office. Without the commute, working from home has meant so much more time with my wife and five-year-old daughter, Natalia. If not for the pandemic, my relationship would be completely different with her. I wouldn’t have evolved into a parent who’s more patient and communicative. I’ve also seen how caring and instrumental my wife has been in Natalia’s development. While the experience has certainly had its challenges, there have been a lot more laughs and love as a family.
As we continue celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we look forward to highlighting more of our inspiring team members here on the blog, like Diana Sull, Lead Product Marketing Manager.
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