A Message from Michele Kang During AAPI Heritage Month

As an entrepreneur and now professional sports team owner, I can tell you that the values and discipline my parents and teachers instilled in me growing up in Korea have been the principal sources of my strength. They have guided me through a constantly changing and challenging business world, whether in technology, healthcare, or sports.

Headshot of CEO Michele Kang smiling with arms folded.

“When I came to the United States over 40 years ago, I embraced my being an AAPI as an advantage; I did not see it as a barrier.”

Throughout my business career, I observed that the most successful people were the ones who wanted to learn, and that meant they sought out and listened to people with a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints. It’s harder to learn from people who see things exactly like you do.

I’d like to leave you with three thoughts as we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.

  1. I call on members of the AAPI community to aspire to be leaders in whatever you do, whether it is a profession or trade, your own business, or any organization. And as you do this, you should view your rich background as an advantage, because that is what it is. Don’t be apologetic and accept implicit or explicit AAPI stereotypes.
  2. Build strong relationships and support each other. Speak up in support of fellow AAPIs or anyone in need, whether within an organization, in public or in private. No act of support is ever too small. We never know what one act or word of support can do for someone. Lend and leverage what you have to help and advance others.
  3. Last but not least is to get engaged in the community and give back. Some of us have been very fortunate in our lives and I consider it an absolute duty to help bring others along with us. Get engaged in your civic, cultural, community, and political processes. It is our job to leave this world a better place for the next generation of AAPIs.

This message is an excerpt from the M&T Bank Asian American Pacific Islander Thought Leadership event in partnership with NBC4 and Telemundo 44.



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