Three barriers that keep Asian Americans from the C-suite

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As the anti-Asian hate movement takes hold, the general public is gaining more understanding of the long-standing racism against Asians. Aside from the news-grabbing xenophobic violence, however, there also needs to be a discourse on the implicit biases keeping Asians from the C-suite, despite a seemingly healthy pipeline of talent.

There hasn’t been a lot of research on this front, though many of us in Corporate America share similar lived experiences and mental baggage. From my recent experience of moderating a panel on breaking barriers in the workplace as Asian women, the barriers we confront boil down to three themes.


The vaccine rollout is ending my envy for people outside of the Bay Area

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When California opened up vaccinations to everybody 16 years and older in mid-April, you could feel the budding optimism in the air. After a year of being too disappointed to hope, I then finally allowed myself to ask my kids what they wanted to do after the lockdown is over.

“Swimming, watching a movie while eating in a dine-in theatre, traveling,” they quickly rattled off from their list of wishes. …


For years, I didn’t speak out against anti-Asian racism. But now, I can’t stay silent, and neither should anyone else

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When a stranger asks you where you’re from, the question is often not as simple as it seems. As an Asian American, when someone asks me that question, I run through a quick mental calculation to figure out what they really mean.

Some people just use it as an innocuous way to start a conversation. Others, however, have an underlying assumption: To them, someone like me can never truly be an American. They’re really asking, “Which foreign country are you really from? …


I learned 3 ways to help manage her emotional meltdowns

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My 10-year-old daughter tested me as a mother. I have been using the pandemic lockdown and difficulty with distance learning as an excuse for our struggles. It’s a convenient excuse; everybody can understand the challenges arising from the prolonged social isolation. The truth, however, is that our struggles started long before the pandemic. They were destined to come to a head sooner or later.

I bonded easily with my first daughter, an easy-going kid who smiled plenty. When the second one arrived, right off the bat, she was different and had a mind of her own. For a good part…


With good due diligence, you increase your chance of finding a fit that pays off not only professionally but also financially and personally

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As a two-time startup CMO, startup board member, and VC partner, I have been asked frequently on the topic of CMO: how to search for one, what criteria to look for, and how to ascend to the top marketing job.

As alluring as it sounds, the startup CMO job is full of ambiguity and challenges. Per this Forbes article, CMOs have the shortest lifespan in the C-suite, a mere three years on average in many industries. For startups, the lifespan is much shorter given the very nature of instability and churns in the startup world. …


No matter how exhausted we are, the pressure is more intense than ever

5 stages of a person holding their arms out to a puppy on the left side of the image, to standing straight with their hands on their head in the center, to holding their arms out to a toddler at the right side of the image. In the background is a huge metal hamster wheel.
5 stages of a person holding their arms out to a puppy on the left side of the image, to standing straight with their hands on their head in the center, to holding their arms out to a toddler at the right side of the image. In the background is a huge metal hamster wheel.
Illustration by Randi Pace for The Bold Italic

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been the household nomad. Depending on the distance learning and work meeting schedules of my two kids and husband, I can be found in the office, the kitchen, the garage, the patio, or even the treehouse (not kidding). I review my schedule for the next day every night. …


Adapt and experiment social media use for well being in today’s workplace

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My 12-year-old pug is going deaf. I am sure of it. I started to suspect it when she did not respond when I called her name, Genie, named after “Genie in a bottle.” As a pug, she had the quintessential expression of turning her head in puzzlement when she heard her name in quick succession. Recently though, I noticed that she did not turn towards me anymore at the sound of her name. Then gradually more signs emerged. When I approached her while she was asleep, she often jerked awake, unaware of my footsteps towards her up to that point.

Eva Tsai

Executive at Google, startup board director and advisor. Words in The Bold Italic | P.S. I Love You | Better Marketing | Motherwell.

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