Voices of the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business

Article by Rubianny Alvarado

Millennials are a source of mystery to everyone including themselves. Baby boomers have dominated the work place for the past decades however the rise of millennials in professional work environments has been evident now more than ever. The Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC) showcased three award winners of The Voices of the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business shed light into what it’s like working with and as a millennial in current society.

Jennifer Cheng, partner at Reed Smith LLP, shared her experience as not just a millennial in the work place but also as an Asian woman. One particular event in her career that has majorly impacted her career as a minority was when a client would not work with her because he preferred “someone with more grey hair.” While this may seem as just an innocent comment, this is the viewpoint of many clients when working with minorities and women. Cheng noted that while she may be young her experience is outstanding; she went back to the client and demanded he meet with her. He agreed under the condition that there would be at least someone with more “grey hairs” present.

While Cheng was able to win over the client that does not take away from the struggle she had to go through in order to even meet with him. While she may have had higher qualifications than the other men in the room she had to work ten times harder in order for her voice to be heard. This is the same for many other millennial minorities regardless of gender.

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