“Remember where you came from.”
Haven’t we all heard this statement at least once in our lives? Thanks to the popularity of DNA kits, tracing your genealogy is easier (and trendier) than ever before.
Our ancestry is important. Traditions, cultures and norms are the cornerstone of our lives. But how important is heritage when it comes to career success? And is there a place for both?
In honor of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Accenture hosted a fireside chat, Leading with Authenticity, with Rumman Chowdhury, PH.D, Accenture Senior Manager focused on Responsible AI, and MSNBC News Anchor Richard Lui. They discuss the importance of being true to yourself, creating your own success and leading with authenticity.
Your face is your first impression.
As the first Asian-American man to host a cable news show, Richard didn’t want his Asian heritage to be the driving factor in his career. In fact, he hadn’t really given it much thought. After all, he was a journalist, and that’s what mattered most. But as he looked around, he didn’t see anyone that looked like him doing the same work. He soon realized that whether it’s overt, subliminal or passive, your appearance is often what drives people’s first impressions.
Likewise, Rumman is often not only the only woman presenting on stage in a traditionally male dominated industry, she’s almost always the only South Asian woman. She quips that while you may not identify yourself as “other,” when you’re up there, it’s hard not to see your “otherness.” And with that comes responsibility. People—especially younger people—will see someone who looks like them and think, “Oh, I could do that!”
Embrace yourself and keep reinventing.
Both Rumman and Richard embrace their heritage. And they are forging ahead on their continued paths to career success and reinvention.
They offer advice on how to keep your sites set high—while also keeping your feet firmly rooted in who you are:
Keep learning. Don’t get stuck in your comfort zone; always be willing to learn and try new things.
Make lists of threes. Think about three things you think you could never do, people you think you could never meet—and then go do them/meet them.
Don’t limit yourself with a five-year plan. A plan, such as the typical “five-year plan,” can be limiting. You achieve what you’ve written down—then what?
Be open to new and different. And sometimes even “crazy and weird”. Be willing to consider new, sometimes very different, opportunities when they come your way.
Dream on paper. Write out your dreams. If there were no limits, where would you go, and what would you do?
Water more than one plant. Cultivate all your loves; your vocation does not define you. If you only “water” your career, what happens if that dies?
Balance conflicting demands. From family demands to personal needs to career responsibilities, balance is vital. Work things in as you can.
What’s your story?
Finding inspiration and using your voice to speak up for what you believe is also an important component of staying true to yourself, according to both. And sharing stories of your heritage can build an important bridge to understanding.
Richard shares a picture. It’s an important picture with the date “June 1943” taped to it, handed down by his grandfather, who was proud of his work in the U.S. shipyards during World War II. His key takeaway from this photo: We are all different, but we are the same. Be proud of where you came from, and also be proud of who you become.
Richard has dedicated much of his free time as a champion for gender equality across the globe in the HeForShe Organization. He’s also passionate about working to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, a cause near to his heart as he helps his father battle the disease.
Rumman calls herself a “vocal tech feminist,” advocating for women in the technology industry. She considers herself lucky to have been raised in a safe, secure environment in Bangladesh, before her parents immigrated to the U.S. But she knows thousands of others aren’t so lucky. She chooses to remember where she came from, creating awareness of the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar, where massive groups of Muslim Rohingyas and Hindus are fleeing the country to avoid persecution—and worse.
For both Richard and Rumman, remembering who you are is a huge part of finding your passions in life and creating your own path to where you want to go.
Be your true, authentic self. Do work that makes a difference. Create your own path to success. Find an opportunity with our team.
Copyright © 2018 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High performance. Delivered. are trademarks of Accenture.
This document makes descriptive reference to trademarks that may be owned by others. The use of such trademarks herein is not an assertion of ownership of such trademarks by Accenture and is not intended to represent or imply the existence of an association between Accenture and the lawful owners of such trademarks.