May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month!

There will come a time in everyone’s life when they finally realize and begin to step into their purpose; they adorn the covering of their identity and wear it proudly, comfortably, and unapologetically. At least, this is a hope. Some people figure it all out quickly, either because they are naturally endowed with a certain self-assuredness and confidence or because their environments affirm and uplift them. But for many people, the journey of self-discovery is an elusive one, a labyrinth of question and self-doubt.

Asset 48 blog

As a first-generation daughter of immigrant parents, I grew up navigating multiple worlds and realities. I grew up in a household built by the hopes and dreams of my Vietnamese parents who escaped the war, then stepped out into an environment that was both familiar and foreign; the only one I had known yet one where I felt like a stranger. My parents began their new life, and ours, in a rural town outside of Chicago. Though Chicago is known for its beautiful architecture, cold winters, and diversity, it looks completely different once you venture 40 to 60 miles outside the city limits.

My parents wanted my brother and I to have a head start. They wanted us to have the things they never had - the security, comfort, and education. They wanted us to have options and for our futures to be bright and filled with possibilities. Broken English, their language was love, morals, and determination. We learned our ABCs outside in the world, where we also learned laws, social dynamics, and how to wear masks to become chameleons to keep others comfortable and keep smiles on our faces. Trying to fit in isn’t bad; it’s just what kids do. Everyone wants to make friends and be liked, but when you’re the only Vietnamese girl in every class, in every room, you don’t realize exactly how much you’ve been shrinking and hiding yourself until you become an adult.

Asset 52 blog

This habit of being the only one followed me into my professional career. I entered the staffing industry about ten years ago as a recruiter. Around that same time, DEI programs began becoming popular. Diversity initiatives and employee resource groups (ERGs) were common, and although these should have interested me, I was hesitant. The same spaces that would welcome me, I rejected. I didn’t want to participate just because I was a minority. The assumption of automatic interest or obligation was unsettling as I was always randomly selected to participate.

As I grew in my career, I began leaning more toward the diversity and inclusion aspects. I met peers throughout my career that had similar journeys to me, and that was one of the first times I didn’t feel like an anomaly. There was a multicultural community, and being a part of that woke something up in me. From then on, I wanted to create more community, spaces, and opportunities for people like me—and people not like me

Asset 47 blog

I found myself in a position where I had acquired knowledge, experience, and insight, and I decided to leverage and capitalize on that to help others gain the opportunities I didn’t have. I wanted to help others get a head start like my parents gave me.

Being a part of a company such as Synergis that embraces DEI and is focusing on continuous growth within the space is something I want to be a part of. It’s hard work that makes me proud. The possibilities and support are more than you can ask for. An incredible area that I have been able to help pioneer during my time here was an internal women’s summit which focused on many areas from health to wealth. The success of this event was phenomenal, it was women supporting women and something we will do annually. Other areas I have been able to help bring to the company are heritage inspired events, spotlighting diversity throughout our marketing, and DEI driven content. Looking forward to helping with the growth of DEI at Synergis.

Asset 45 blog

Creating opportunities for others by participating in and growing different DEI programs is something I believe would make my parents proud today. Usually, immigrant parents need to see something tangible like a paycheck, a corner office, or a title to validate your accomplishments. But I think creating a bridge for others to cross will let them know that their sacrifices didn’t go in vain - that their daughter is building, working, growing, and becoming her authentic self. Embracing my culture more as an adult, it feels like I’m being reintroduced to myself. I have the chance to love my inner child for everything she did, endured, and buried deep inside so I could exist with smiles and friends, get through school, and become the proud person I am today.

Joselyn Rand

Executive Director of Marketing

Let's get started.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.