May is Asian and Pacific American Heritage (APAH) Month, which offers an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the multitudes of Asian history and culture. Garnering this deeper understanding feels especially important this year. The AAPI community has experienced 6,603 hate incidents against them from March 19, 2020, to March 31, 2021, according to Stop AAPI Hate’s national report. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there has also been a 164% increase in hate crimes against the AAPI community in 2021 alone.
Glassdoor Asian Impact Network – our Pan Asian Employee Resource Group’s mission is to celebrate and support Pan Asian multiculturalism and cultivate a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace. GAIN aims to elevate Glassdoor’s Asian community’s voices and empower our members in business decisions, product development, recruiting, and workplace culture. Additionally, GAIN strives to foster professional development, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for their members.
For Asian and Pacific American Heritage (APAH) Month, we wanted to create an editorial series that showcases the faces of our Asian employees to gain their authentic perspective of how it’s like to be Asian at work. Our goal for the Asian@Work Dairies campaign is to capture internal employees’ raw and honest experiences juggling working from home, taking care of their families, and witnessing hate crimes within the Asian communities. We want to capture these transparent and genuine conversations and share them externally to act as an example of how other employers should shed some light on this issue by offering support to this subgroup of employees.
Learn more about Sonia Moaiery, a mother of a newborn, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Glassdoor, and proud first-generation Punjabi Sikh.
Glassdoor: Thank you so much for choosing to participate in the Asian@Work Diaries series. Could you please introduce yourself?
Sonia Moaiery: I’m Sonia Moaiery, and I’m a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Glassdoor, which means I work closely with our Product, Marketing, and Sales teams to deeply understand our customers to build world-class products and bring them to market! I have been at Glassdoor for 3 years, and I just had a baby boy who is now 5 months old. I’m a first-generation Punjabi, Sikh and my husband is Persian from Iran. I’m into all things related to yoga, hot sauce, and word games!
Glassdoor: Could you please share your experience working during a global pandemic while also having to take care of your newborn? How has it been for you?
Moaiery: I’ve just returned to work from parental leave this week (it’s good to be back!), so I’m still getting the hang of working, newborn, pandemic! However, I can comment on pregnancy and parental leave in a pandemic. I found out I was pregnant a week after we closed our offices in March 2020, the experience came with pros and cons! I was able to be home on the nauseating and exhausting days. However, it was nerve-wracking to go to all the doctor appointments alone. My son had to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for two weeks after being born. It was an emotionally challenging time because only one parent was allowed to be physically with our son during this time due to covid. Spending Christmas Day in an empty NICU alone with my son was certainly a low point, but bringing him home healthy a few days later was the best present I could ask for. During leave, I really understood the idea that “it takes a village,” but in a pandemic, your village is limited or even zero. I am so incredibly grateful our moms were able to safely travel to provide us with support for a few months. It was humbling for me to realize that I needed my own mother more than ever while becoming a mother!
Glassdoor: Have you ever encountered the model minority myth in your career? If so, how did it affect you?
Moaiery: I have mostly through subtle assumptions that have been made about me. A few examples stick out from my past:
- A boss who assumed that I wanted to take on analytical tasks on a project versus more creative ones.
- A peer asked me where I’m really from when I introduced myself as a Floridian.
- A coworker gave me a “compliment” that my clients may not find me credible because of my youthful Indian skin!
While these assumptions and comments didn’t hold back my career, they added up and contributed to a lack of belonging I felt in my work community.
Glassdoor: How do you feel about the recent hate crimes against the Asian community? Have you been affected by the recent hate crimes against the Asian community and surges of COVID-19 cases in India?
Moaiery: As a Sikh American, the recent mass shooting in Indianapolis taking the lives of 4 Sikh Americans was devastating. Sikhs have long been victims of racial violence, and this attack brought new trauma to our community. It’s deeply troubling that we continue to see these patterns of violence occurring, and it weighs on me that these attacks could happen to my family and friends. Sikhs and all minorities should not have to fight for our existence continuously. However, our community is strong and resilient; we believe in what we call Chardi Kala – the idea of maintaining a mindset of joy and optimism even in the face of adversity.
Glassdoor: How has Glassdoor been supportive of your community during this tumultuous time?
Moaiery: I am so grateful to be on the founding leadership team of GAIN (Glassdoor Asian Impact Network) at Glassdoor. I have appreciated the organization’s support in starting a new ERG, especially giving us the time and space to dedicate to GAIN. Working with and getting to know my fellow GAIN leaders personally has been cathartic for me during this tough year.