Back to blog

Asian in Tech: My Experience at a Startup with Lilian Chen

Lilian Chen
May 2, 2022

This article is part of our series: “… in Tech” where we ask a team member at Snappy to give us their experience as a member of their community, specifically what working at a tech startup means to them as an individual, and on a societal level. 

It’s important to share these stories to better understand the experiences that may not be our own. Our job is not for them to educate us but to listen to their story. Each team member is simply sharing their story so that we can gain a deeper appreciation for those experiences.

I was born and raised in Queens, NY, the most diverse urban area in the world, into a large Chinese American family. I was employee #13 when I started at Snappy in December of 2018 in the New York office. From day one, it was very apparent that I was part of a small but dedicated and passionate team. I started as an Operations Manager and have since taken on a small team of my own -  Gifting Operations. 

When I’m not busy keeping Snappy’s operations running smoothly, I’m trying new food, attending shows by local artists, and getting my hands dirty while volunteering in my neighborhood. After a few years of high-growth, I'm invested in finding a work-life balance this year and taking advantage of my Peloton membership. 

Room to Grow.

While most tech companies are located in diverse cities, it's misleading to think that companies are an accurate representation of their communities. While Asians may be well represented in tech, AAPI employees are under-represented in leadership positions. Studies show Asian Americans are the least likely group in the US to be promoted into management positions, as they are often seen as "worker bees" but not strong enough to be leading individuals. It's a stereotype that millennials, like myself, are trying to break. 

Snappy is also working to combat this by focusing on retention, expanding opportunities for advancement internally, and recruiting diverse talent to come join the Snappy community at all levels. 

Pushing for social change.

AAPI Heritage Month brings communities together to spotlight issues, struggles, and the rich cultures that make us who we are. With a recent spike in Asian hate crimes, we need to acknowledge the collective trauma and fear that people in our community are experiencing. 

I hope this month gives leaders pushing for social change the stage to speak about what’s happening to the Asian community and to bring awareness, education, and protection year-round.

Looking to the future.

Snappy is a fantastic experience to work with people who look like me, both colleagues and clients alike. I am seeing vocal participation and activism, and I am in awe. Our company-wide philanthropic program, Snappy Gives Back, is also dedicating a budget to donating to AAPI organizations, and I am so excited to help with the initiative. 

Snappy has never taken diversity lightly. Whenever there was a goal to make a difference and a cultural shift, the team bridged that gap. As we are all growing our understanding of DEI, Snappy is fully willing to grow with its employees. It has been the best experience to help grow Snappy and collaborate with amazing people. I hope younger folks in the community will see themselves represented and build the confidence to say “I can be a leader too.”

Editor's note:

For more information on how Snappy is supporting Asian-owned businesses, check out our Rising Voices Collection which celebrates diversity year-round with monthly themes. This month, the collection focuses on AAPI-owned businesses! Take a peek at some of the amazing Asian-Owned Businesses featured in our collections here.

Unwrapping Joy: How Snappy Transforms the Art of Gifting In the Workplace
Read more ➔
Workplace Wellness in Healthcare: The Importance of Employee Engagement and Appreciation for Doctors, Nurses & Administrators
Read more ➔
nurses day, doctors day, healthcare employee engagement, healthcare, workplace wellness
The Best Nurses Gift Ideas (plus 3 more ways to show appreciation for Nurses Day)
Read more ➔
Nurses week appreciation ideas, nurses day, gifts for nurses, nurse appreciation