Dottie Li Keynotes Joint APA Month Program
By: Ryan McGilley
Washington, D.C.–The Federal Triangle Partnership Program held an event May 16 to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month. The program was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Dotti Li, co-founder of TransPacific Communications, is always in demand as a keynote speaker at federal programs during the Heritage Month. At the event, she delivered the keynote address on the theme, “Striving for Excellence, Leadership, and Inclusion.” She related the obstacles she had to overcome in her professional life, reflecting the hurdles faced by the AAPI professional community as a whole.
She applauded the AAPI community in the great strides it has made in advancing its presence in the commerce sector. She also noted that these great strides were eclipsing the proportion of representation in the general population.
Her message was clear: That through representation and visibility many of these barriers can be overcome. These goals can be accomplished through proper training of up and coming generations, focusing on already established professionals to pass down the skills, such as networking, through presentations and briefing opportunities.
She addressed the myth of the “model minority” and other stereotypes, such as the assumption that the AAPI community is “passive, non-confrontational, and even antisocial.” These stereotypes prevent mobility through upper levels of management in what is known as the “Bamboo Ceiling.”
She addressed the difficulties faced by non-native AAPI community members, delving on a variety of topics, from imperfect English skills to the lack of experience within American corporate structures. “You must know not only how to speak, but when to speak up,” she pointed out.
Ms. Li would like to see further participation of the AAPI community in the Federal sector. She noted: “Solving this problem requires a coordinated effort from leadership and management, EEO/Diversity Offices, affinity/employee groups and the employees themselves. All have a role to play, and everyone must be accountable and take responsibility to ensure a level playing field.”
Ryan McGilley is a National Fellow of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance (C.A.C.A.)