TIAA Makes Big Waves Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May, TIAA employees participated in multiple events that celebrated Asian culture, traditions, and the value and fun of inclusion of others.

TIAA’s Asian-American professionals employee resource group (ERG), Engage, with the support of the TIAA Inclusion and Diversity team, hosted exciting programs that created more awareness of the Asian culture, but also brought other ERGs together as united teams.

On Saturday, May 18, the Engage ERG hosted TIAA’s 7th corporate participation in the Charlotte Asian Festival DRAGON BOAT Race. In Charlotte, around 10,000 people attended the Charlotte Asian Festival. 

This year, TIAA’s Engage ERG coordinated a national effort with Dragon Boat teams in Charlotte, Denver, Dallas and Jacksonville. Each city hosts Asian Festivals scheduled throughout the year; Charlotte being the first of the scheduled races in 2019. Engage also partnered with other TIAA ERGs to show true inclusion and diversity at each location.

As a top corporate competitor in Charlotte, TIAA’s three boats filled with 63 diverse employee paddlers “Operated as One Team” and brought home two 1st place gold medals and one 2nd place silver medal placements in their respective divisions.

“Dragon boating is a traditional Asian water sport where 22 individuals must operate collectively as one to achieve top speed and a common goal,” said Randy Crow, a Dragon boat head coach and Human Resources & Associate Communications Business Manager at TIAA. “Living our values on and off the boat, TIAA paddlers understand that every position matters and success on the water requires hard work, humility and teamwork.”

The Charlotte team will race again in July at the Charlotte Dragon Boat Knockout Race. Two of the Charlotte team coaches will compete in the World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Thailand in August, as part of Team USA. The Denver and Dallas boat teams will race in their Dragon Boat festivals this summer.

The Engage ERG made it a mission this year to create a true cross-ERG event with multiple offices and ERGs from other cultures, obtaining employee participants from diverse backgrounds — exhibiting true inclusion, partnership, and even branding for the company.

“Engage sponsored several teams that brought together a diverse group of associates who experienced something bigger than themselves, while making lasting connections and friendships,” Crow said.

As a Team USA regional coach, Crow is one of the few selected so far from TIAA to compete in the world race in Thailand.

Other events organized by Engage included a partnership with Ascend, an Asian American professionals organization. On May 23, Engage and Ascend hosted an external career development event focused on leading with your authentic self. Wen-Fu Wu, Managing Director, Head of Asset Allocation for TIAA, gave the keynote speech, with Richard Tsui, Senior Director in Nuveen Real Estate, introducing him.

Engage is also planning a career development event for TIAA employees this summer, featuring senior Asian-American leaders on the topic of leveraging diverse backgrounds for the success of TIAA, and how people can bring their authentic selves to work.

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month celebrates and pays tribute to the contributions and generations of Asian/Pacific Americans that impacted American history, society and culture. The origin of Asian/Pacific-American Heritage Month dates back to the 95th Congress (1977-1978) when five joint resolutions were introduced proposing that in May it be designated to commemorate the accomplishments of Asian/Pacific Americans.


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