Jae Requiro remembers her friend’s story vividly: Following a meeting in which her friend was the only Asian American woman, a male colleague said to her, “You’re not at all like my Asian wife, you speak up.”
“It was a big slap in her face. She didn’t even know what to say to him,” says Requiro, who is Filipino-American and a manager of diversity consulting and inclusion strategies atToyota Motor North America,No. 41 onThe 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.
Stereotypes are like a slap to the face because they shock and sting. They are usually uttered without much forethought and reveal the speaker’s ignorance. And in corporate settings, they can reveal why someone is excluded from after-work networking events or passed over for promotion.Asian-American executives too often find themselves fighting to disprove the “model minority” stereotype, a group that works hard, is rarely controversial, but ultimately is not “American” enough for leadership opportunities.