Asians in Advertising

Asians in Advertising

AIA came to be for the simple reason that its co-founders had lived experiences with the struggles of being not only AAPI but also female AAPI individuals in the advertising industry. For most of Bernice's career as a creative director in advertising, she was the only female or Asian in

Asians in Advertising

AIA came to be for the simple reason that its co-founders had lived experiences with the struggles of being not only AAPI but also female AAPI individuals in the advertising industry. For most of Bernice's career as a creative director in advertising, she was the only female or Asian in the room. Despite the lack of representation, she didn't see her ethnicity or gender as an issue—at first. Like many Asians, she attributed the lack of promotions and being assigned projects as a result of her performance. However, she began to realize that there was an implicit bias. After meeting Jessalin and learning she had similar stories, they wanted to do something tactical to change that for the future. Being just 15 months old, it’s been incredible to see the organic growth in our community, and even more surprised how it resonates with people not just in the United States but across the world. We strongly believe it’s driven by the unmet need to connect Asians together for support, resources, and opportunities. We have a very active community with 3,200 members worldwide, we have hosted 13 virtual events so far, and each has an average of 300 sign-ups. To create more awareness around the cause, we hosted Breaking Barriers, the first-ever AAPI Advertising Summit focused on career growth with Cindy Gallop and StopAAPIHate, and 40 other incredible AAPI speakers. With the money raised, we are giving back to the community by creating 12 scholarships to help close the AAPI advancement gap by pairing recipients with API career coaches. We sold over 700 tickets to the event. We are also getting a lot of positive feedback such as “I finally feel seen and heard”, “I wish I had this when I was coming up in my career,” and we even had a few people thanking us for their new job. We have started to see other organizations include us in their resources, as well as many advertising leaders re-sharing our posts.

About the Organization:

AIA came to be for the simple reason that its co-founders had lived experiences with the struggles of being not only AAPI but also female AAPI individuals in the advertising industry. For most of Bernice's career as a creative director in advertising, she was the only female or Asian in the room. Despite the lack of representation, she didn't see her ethnicity or gender as an issue—at first. Like many Asians, she attributed the lack of promotions and being assigned projects as a result of her performance. However, she began to realize that there was an implicit bias. After meeting Jessalin and learning she had similar stories, they wanted to do something tactical to change that for the future. Being just 15 months old, it’s been incredible to see the organic growth in our community, and even more surprised how it resonates with people not just in the United States but across the world. We strongly believe it’s driven by the unmet need to connect Asians together for support, resources, and opportunities. We have a very active community with 3,200 members worldwide, we have hosted 13 virtual events so far, and each has an average of 300 sign-ups. To create more awareness around the cause, we hosted Breaking Barriers, the first-ever AAPI Advertising Summit focused on career growth with Cindy Gallop and StopAAPIHate, and 40 other incredible AAPI speakers. With the money raised, we are giving back to the community by creating 12 scholarships to help close the AAPI advancement gap by pairing recipients with API career coaches. We sold over 700 tickets to the event. We are also getting a lot of positive feedback such as “I finally feel seen and heard”, “I wish I had this when I was coming up in my career,” and we even had a few people thanking us for their new job. We have started to see other organizations include us in their resources, as well as many advertising leaders re-sharing our posts.

organizational budget

$0 - $50,000

existence for

0-5 Years

The Issue:

Asians in Advertising was created by co-founders Bernice Chao and Jessalin Lam. We had noticed the absence of employee resource groups, spaces, or platforms that focused explicitly on the underrepresentation of Asians in the field of advertising and wanted to create that space. Now, through events, conferences, and a mentorship platform, we have successfully made a place for bold questions, advice, and open discussions about the issues that the Asian community faces across the industry. Asians in Advertising (AIA) was founded in March 2021 as a free platform and community to help create opportunities and elevate Asians and Asian Americans to higher leadership positions.

The Solution:

We accomplish our objective in three different ways: NETWORKING: Networking is essential for moving up the career ladder because research says that 85% of jobs are filled through networking, and 70% of jobs are not even listed. Most AAPI face cultural barriers to asking for help from people outside their immediate circles, so we create opportunities focused on gathering. We host a yearly networking event that has garnered over 650+ sign-ups and successfully helped members of our community find new mentors, gain job referrals and subsequently new jobs, and find new friends! SPOTLIGHTING AAPI: It's important to give recognition and amplify our community. We feature our community on our Asians in Advertising podcast, social channels, and through our various events. During AAPI month, we partnered with Adweek and pocstock to showcase people of various talents in the industry, taking care to highlight diversity within the Asian diaspora and other underrepresented communities such as the LGBTQ+. We've highlighted numerous individuals who have been able to give examples of what is possible, especially for what can be seen as non-traditional career paths for AAPIs and immigrants. SKILLS: We make a conscious effort for our community to leave our events with solid takeaways, whether it be learning how to conduct informational interviews, tactics to successfully negotiate a raise or promotion, or how to approach a difficult conversation at work. We create actionable ways for our community to apply these skills back into their careers. We recently created a leadership coaching scholarship called Future Asian Leaders that will provide 15 individuals with free coaching in order to level up their careers, as well as a 6-month mentorship program called Next Gen in collaboration with the organization Asian American Advertising Foundation. In addition to the 3 ongoing initiatives above, we also hosted a two-day virtual conference in just our second year of operating called "Breaking Barriers," billed as the first-ever summit for AAPI folks in advertising, communications, and media. We had over 711 attendees and provided numerous panels, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities for attendees to benefit from.

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