Proudly Sharing My CultureBy Kevin Tran, T-Mobile
As a first-generation Chinese American, cultural festivals and events such as the Lunar New Year allowed me and others to learn, reflect and reconnect with our heritage and traditions. Growing up in a small town, where the demographic breakdown varied tremendously, meant I saw and experienced different celebrations and festivals with my friends that had different backgrounds from my own. Of course, my parents did their best to immerse my brother and I in our culture and heritage, but I appreciated that they also encouraged us to learn and participate in events in our community that celebrated traditions beyond our own. But I always looked forward to the Lunar New Year, as it was the time of year where I got to proudly share my culture and practices with my friends and celebrate our community.
In the Asian culture, there are other major festivals, such as The Autumn Moon Festival, but the Lunar New Year specifically was a time for celebration and a chance to start anew. There are traditions that I remember from a young age such as deep cleaning the house (which usually resulted in me with a towel or sponge getting into tight spots and corners), preparing traditional foods and sweets for the family and visitors, and wearing new, red clothes to usher in the new year.
Now, as an employee of T-Mobile, I’ve seen how the company puts in the effort to ensure that if they recognize and celebrate alongside with the community, that they do it right. When I was supporting the leadership team in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Signature store was wrapped to celebrate the Lunar New Year and I recall the conversations and verifications of proper decorum for the celebration, accuracy of Chinese character use and greetings. I was proud to see the effort a company the size of T-Mobile would go through to ensure details in practices and customs of various cultures are observed correctly – for our employees, our customers and our local communities.
After nearly 15 years with T-Mobile, I have seen how the company has grown and changed by disrupting the wireless industry, all the while, remaining focused on putting customers and employees first. This remains true as more employees participate and the company invests resources into our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion chapters initiatives, and our chapters reflect the employees that serve in those communities. The way T-Mobile promotes diversity, equity and inclusion resonates across the company, despite obvious regional or cultural differences. Working with teams remotely across the country has allowed me to connect with people in places I that I may not have met or engaged with before. Now, I have people reach out and wish me a happy Lunar New Year, similar to how I would reach out during other celebrations such as Hannukah, Diwali and others. It’s as if my childhood experience in my small town, celebrating various cultures, has followed me to T-Mobile and how we all look to celebrate one another and our unique cultures and experience. And this Lunar New Year, I can be proud of my own culture and the level of acceptance T-Mobile encourages and the culture T-Mobile has built among its employees and the community. Happy Lunar New Year!