Learn more about my speaking and workshop topics below.
I'm building something pretty awesome and something that is missing for the adoptee and foster alumni network. Join the waitlist for a first look and invitation.
Do you want to share your experience as an adoptee or as a former foster youth? Do you want to see more resources and more opportunity specifically for our community? Let's talk.
Panel Speaker or Keynote Speaker
As an Asian American, adoptee, former foster kid, immigrant, not white enough, not Asian enough, woman of color who holds many identities that has shaped who I am, I have never felt true belonging anywhere, not in the town I grew up in, the schools I went to, my workplaces, and not even in a family. I have been left behind by 3 sets of parents, including my adoptive parents.
There are many people like me, with my shared life experiences. Yet we remain invisible in our communities, not seen as our whole selves, and only pieces of us are accepted and acknowledged depending on the environment.
It is time to create a space for people like me, transracial adoptees, those who experienced foster care, or both like I have, who have been uprooted from their culture, their community, their birth families, and placed into homes and communities where they do not truly belong, no matter how hard their new caretakers try to provide that space. We are creating that belonging for ourselves, and we need the community we live and work in to help us create it.
Panel Speaker, or Keynote Speaker, or Workshop
Asian Americans experience the biases and expectations stemming from the model minority myth. This greatly influences how we are perceived and positioned in the workplace and in society. But as we have heard from many Asian Americans, this assumption and projection of the model minority is harmful and has limited Asian Americans from achieving positions of power in organizations. We find ourselves hitting the “bamboo ceiling”, and it’s an additional ceiling the AAPI community needs to break even before tackling the glass ceiling.
We all started somewhere. Some of us are first or second-generation immigrants who are just starting to build our legacies as new Americans. Some of us have generations of history and family in this country, but systemic racism has prevented us from building wealth and having an equitable playing field. And in the workplace, we fall into the model minority trap and are unable to break it.
Where are our stories? Where is our representation? Where are our sponsors and mentors? How can we support Asian Americans better in the workplace? Grace brings over 15 years of experience navigating this and empowering AAPI professionals and their colleagues in removing the model minority bias and perceptions, and replacing that with equitable and inclusive policies and behaviors to support AAPI employees.
Panel Speaker, or Keynote Speaker, Workshop/Team Building
My many identities and my experiences as an Asian American, and also a person who had experienced homelessness, foster care, and other forms of inequities, was the reason I joined the nonprofit space. But my experience has been harmful and limiting. I have over 10 years of experience in this sector, starting from the ground up, and working my way to senior leadership levels but always being held back from the highest levels of power. I hit the bamboo and glass ceiling in this sector, but I’m determined to help change this. It’s important to inspire the future generation to build careers in this sector, and they need to see more people who look like them in real leadership roles.
We need to do better as a sector to elevate people of color, women of color, and people who have real lived experiences as the communities these organizations are serving.
The model minority myth, my invisibility as a leader in this sector is real. My experience, as a person with 15 years of experience, an MBA from a top business school, and my achievements and results in this sector speak for themselves as qualifying me as executive leadership material. But many like me never are able to achieve those levels in nonprofit organizations.
I will create a productive and safe space to share with each other and clearly understand the challenges as a leadership team or as departments, or as an entire organization. Then we will discuss and share solutions on how organizations can do better for creating leadership pathways for their AAPI colleagues. These are tools and approaches that can also be practiced with other employees who identify as a part of a marginalized community.
Panel Speaker or Keynote Speaker
I was rejected, given up, and left behind by three sets of parents. As a foster kid and adoptee into a family of 19 adopted children, I saw foster kids come in and out of the home I grew up in, and continuously saw a revolving door. I also saw a stark contrast of how certain children in my adoptive family were treated and loved compared to others, and the trauma and hurt and rejection from those experiences have shaped much of my life and my narrative. Until now.
I never knew for certain if I wanted to have children as I feared that I would not be able to be a good mom. I feared I could never create a good home and be emotionally present if I had a child, and I did not want the feeling and experiences I had to ever happen to another child, much less one I would create.
But I have a beautiful toddler now, and my perspective, my narrative, and my love for myself has shifted in ways I never could have imagined. I have loved becoming a mother and parent even more than I knew was possible and the journey has been healing, as well as hard.
There are so many complexities in becoming a parent, even if you had a great childhood and have a wonderful relationship with your parents. I want to share my unique perspective and how I navigate parenthood, and I want to share with you my hope for all people who know what it’s like to be abandoned, rejected and without family as they step into the role of becoming a parent. I am walking in your shoes and I see you - you are not alone. You are and will be a wonderful parent.