Lattice Life

‘When our communities thrive, so do we’ — Jaz Lau and Jeenie Yoon on leading Lattice’s API ERG

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May 2, 2024

Jeenie Yoon has been Lattice’s Customer Education Program Manager for almost 1.5 years and co-chairs the Asian and Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group (API at Lattice) with Jaz Lau, a Senior Product Adoption Consultant who has been at Lattice for 2.5 years.

We sat down with Jeenie and Jaz to talk about what brought them to Lattice, their path to ERG leadership, and more.

What brought you both to Lattice?

Jeenie: I was looking for an opportunity to build something new and a former colleague of mine posted about the first ever Customer Education Program Manager role around the time I started looking! I reached out, learned more about the role, and was lucky enough to be selected to lead the customer academy, Lattice University

Jaz: I love being in the start-up and scaleup world, and was looking for something new and exciting to pursue. Lattice reached out as they began to build their London office. I was really impressed by the enthusiasm and culture that every Lattician demonstrated during my interview, and took the leap without looking back!

What inspired you to lead API at Lattice?

Jeenie: On a personal note, I was searching for a community and an opportunity to continue my experiences as a leader. I also believe API-identifying individuals have unique challenges and experiences in the workplace that deserve to be highlighted. For example, Asian-identifying employees are rarely seen as having “leadership potential” because some may be soft-spoken or reluctant to speak up in meeting spaces. As corporations tend to be biased towards extroverts, and many (though not all) Asians will often wait to be invited into a conversation (often a cultural inclination), it means many Asians are overlooked for opportunities for leadership because existing leaders aren’t taking the time to invite Asian employees into the conversation. For a company focused on empowering HR, addressing these experiences is the first step towards creating more equality at work. 

Jaz: I joined LOUD — the previous incarnation of our diversity group at Lattice — pretty much the day I joined the company! As diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) evolved at the organisation, I knew I wanted to be involved in sharing and shaping what that future looked like. As a former teacher, education remains important to me — it felt like it was the right time to blend those talents into my role at Lattice! I was a little daunted by the prospect, but it’s been a fantastic learning experience. As I’m part of our smaller London office, it’s been a great way to meet more of my fellow Latticians and think about my role more holistically. 

Can you share a bit about the mission and goals of API at Lattice?

Jaz: API at Lattice advocates and fosters a sense of inclusion dedicated to supporting the diverse and multicultural Asian and Pacific Islander employees through community, empowerment, and education. We aim to create a safe space where API members of diverse backgrounds can gather to learn and grow from their peers, feel valued, receive support, and be part of a community that celebrates each other, while advocating for and spreading awareness of the API experience.

What are some of the challenges in running API at Lattice? 

Jeenie: I think probably the hardest challenge is making a space for everyone under the wide banner of “API.” First, combining “Asian” and “Pacific Islander” into one group has been the subject of much debate and a lot of activists advocate for separating these two communities out because the culture and experiences of those two groups are vastly different. 

Second, the geographic locations that encompass “Asia and the Pacific Islands” are vast. By creating an “API” group, we are covering every country from China to Pakistan to Azerbaijan to Aotearoa (New Zealand). It’s impossible for a group of employees to adequately represent the unique cultural, religious, and social aspects of all of the geographic spaces that fall under “Asia and the Pacific Islands.” Most ERGs overly focus on the East and Southeast Asian experiences, failing to represent South and Central Asians. It’s a problem when an Indian-identifying employee doesn’t feel included in the API group. It’s a sign we need to do better. 

How does API at Lattice engage with the broader community, both internally and externally?

Firstly, and importantly, the ERG isn’t just for people that identify within the community, but allies too. We have four pillars of impact:

  • Culture: We believe that by promoting inclusion, raising awareness, and dispelling myths, we can help to raise the cultural competence of the organization while building connections.
  • Career: We believe that having initiatives designed to help the career advancement, professional development, and continued education of ERG members contributes to having a diverse workforce of the future.
  • Community: We believe that Lattice has the ability to impact change in the world and we are an extension of that. When our communities thrive, so do we.
  • Commerce: We believe that ERGs have the ability to advance company goals, programs, and initiatives by serving as strategic partners.

We hold monthly events that align with the pillars and partner with other organisations (shout out to Lunar Accel) to ensure we’re making a wide and positive impact for our community. 

How does your ERG celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month?

This evolves yearly as we’re still early on in the journey, but some of the cool things we have planned this year are:

  • Blog posts highlighting members of our community
  • A Courageous Conversation in tandem with Power to Fly
  • Social hours for in-office and remote colleagues
  • A customer panel to discuss how their ERGs serve their diverse communities

What advice do you have for other companies looking to establish or strengthen their support for API ERGs or DEIB initiatives in general?

Jeenie: Identify the goals of your ERG and communicate transparently. The activities of your group (and the engagement of its members) should be determined by the purpose of your organization. For example, if you’re trying to encourage networking between API employees, make sure your ERG’s events include opportunities for networking. If you’re trying to influence larger DEIB work at your company, demand a seat at the table with executives on a regular basis and get involved with DEIB initiatives. 

Center your community’s needs, and, whenever possible, communicate transparently about what you’re doing and why. It builds trust with your members and enhances meaningful engagement. Also, if you’re going to include “PI” in API, make sure you’re centering some content and events around the Pacific Islander experience as well. 

What’s something you’re passionate about outside of work?

Jeenie: I love to sing! I have been singing my whole life, attended college on a classical vocal scholarship, and have been with various semi-professional ensembles. I’m currently with Tapestry Choir, in NYC, a 35-person choral group that aims to celebrate diversity through music. This season we’re highlighting contemporary women composers! 

Jaz: I’m really big on volunteering! I volunteer with Olio, a local food waste charity, and also am the National Chair of JETAA UK, an alumni group of teachers. I also think that representation is something that holds true external to my work life, too, so I’m always finding interesting diversity events and spaces to attend and learn more about different communities. My go-to resources include:

And a few UK-specific shoutouts:

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