In May, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, honoring generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and contributed to this country’s success. At Quantcast, we are shining the spotlight on exceptional team members, starting with Tran Pham. In this interview, she tells us why it’s important to celebrate diversity, how cultural values have shaped her way of interacting with others, and what advice she would offer to other AAPI individuals in tech.
1. First, tell the world about your role at Quantcast.
2. Why have you chosen to take on this role in Diversity Leadership at Quantcast?
I am very passionate about DEI&B initiatives and taking on a co-lead position with you gives me the opportunity to make an impact at Quantcast and within tech. I believe that providing a safe space for underrepresented groups is key to helping people feel a sense of belonging. This role also gives me the opportunity to speak up for others and help enact changes or bring feedback to processes or policies that might not have taken the experiences of people of color into consideration.
3. As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, can you tell us why it’s important to you?
It’s important to me to be able to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month because I never felt like my identity as a Vietnamese person was something to celebrate. I felt like my culture, traditions, and food were so different from the norm that I had to hide from that identity. It wasn’t until later in my life and after meeting women with similar stories to mine that I realized that being Vietnamese has played a huge role in who I am as a woman and an ally.
I can now proudly say that I am a daughter of Vietnamese refugees who survived a devastating war and immigrated to a country where they were not welcomed to provide a life for their children that was not possible in their home country.
4. What cultural values or traditions are most important to you?
My family has always emphasized the importance of community and sharing what we have with others. My parents grew up in a rural beach town in Nha Trang, Vietnam, where there wasn’t electricity or even running water. Neighbors would share resources and trade supplies to make ends meet. My paternal grandmother had eggs for the neighborhood while my mother’s family built homes in their community.
The concept of community is something that resonates so much with me that I always want to be able to help others, whether it’s connecting them to someone in my network or reviewing and editing something they’ve written. Even when I cook, I cook to feed an entire basketball team, just so I can share with friends.
Another important part of my culture is food. Food is the love language of Vietnamese parents. I can hardly recall my parents ever explicitly saying “I love you,” but I can always remember my dad asking if I’ve eaten yet. My father worked as a landscaper so he did manual work outside in the heat, 6 days out of the week. No matter how tired he was, on his one day off, he made sure to always make us breakfast so we could enjoy it together as a family. It was usually fried rice. Food became the way I express myself and has always been a way for me to show love.
5. Do you have any role models who have inspired you?
The women in my life inspire me everyday. From the women I know in education, helping students with mental health issues, to the women in law, advocating for change and immigrant rights, to the mothers raising the next generation of leaders, I am always in awe of the little and big things that we as women of color can accomplish.
6. What advice would you give to other AAPI individuals in tech?
Be brave and share your story. I think society and media have continuously portrayed AAPI individuals in a single light, but we all have different traditions, cultures, and experiences. We also struggle with racism, colorism, sexism, and microaggressions within our own communities. It’s okay to celebrate what might be considered weird to others, because by sharing our stories, we make them more commonplace.
I also would advise AAPI individuals to continue to be allies to underrepresented groups and participate in ERG groups so that we can continue to amplify our voices as well as others.
7. And lastly, as we’ve all had the shared experience of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, can you share with us one of your bright spots over the past two years?
My dog and partner have been the bright spot over the last two years. Since travel was restricted, we went on more hikes and local road trips, giving me a new love for nature.
Check out other recent employee spotlights in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility with Alex Concas and Black History Month with Angelique Zobitz and Brittany Hebb. As we continue to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, we’ll also be highlighting another remarkable team member.