Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) History Month: a celebration of diversity

This year, to commemorate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we sat down a few members of our team to discuss their heritage, inspiration and the legacy they hope to leave behind.

Name: Amy Kadomatsu

Title: chief executive officer

Years at ComplySci: almost four years

Q: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) is a term that encompasses a vast quantity of cultures, regions and traditions. Can you speak a little about your specific heritage and any traditions that are especially important to you?

I’m a 4th generation Japanese American and grew up in Los Angeles, CA. One of the traditions I remember most about growing up is the annual “mochitsuki”, where we would gather with our family to make homemade sweet rice cakes (mochi). It was an event for the generations to come together before the new year. You can now find them in freezer cases around the world (mochi ice cream, anyone?) and it always reminds me of time spent with family and friends.

I also started Japanese classical dance, or nihon-buyo, when I was 3 ½ years old. It was my mom’s way of keeping me close to my culture and I took lessons and performed through college, even getting my professional name – Hanayagi Rokuemi – when I was 14 years old. My childhood centered around dancing, and I loved it! I now sponsor an annual scholarship for rising college freshman in my sensei’s honor.

Q: Who inspired you as a young professional first getting into this industry?

I am too old and can’t recall!

Q: What is your professional philosophy? And how did you develop it?

Over time, I figured out that I have a few “mantras” that I live by. It’s harder to know them at the start of you career, easier as you are able to look back and see what connects the dots from one part of your career to another. In any event, one of my mantras is to always ask “what else.” It’s this inner voice that drives me to see what else we can do to move forward, make things better for our clients, make things better for our employees. I have a fundamental belief that we can always learn and try new things and asking “what else” allows us to think differently, think boldy about our future!

Q: Why do you think diversity and inclusion is so important in today’s business world?

Mining for diversity of thought is one of my responsibilities as CEO. It is natural, then, for this to extend to diversity in backgrounds of the folks on my Executive Leadership Team and Board. So I tell people to lean in to diversity, which begets more diversity and ultimately leads to ambitious and bold ideas!

Q: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

I hope that clients will remember that we, the ComplySci portfolio of companies, helped them to feel confident that nothing was missed. That we understand them and are just like them – obsessed with covering all the bases, checking all the boxes and not letting anything slip through the cracks.

I hope that we see an incredible ecosystem of successful professionals who have been alumna of the ComplySci portfolio of companies and that they felt that their time with us was a time of learning and professional development; a time that changed the trajectory of their future opportunity.

Name: Rahul Rahman

Title: vice president, business development

Years at ComplySci: less than a year

Q: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) is a term that encompasses a vast quantity of cultures, regions and traditions. Can you speak a little about your specific heritage and any traditions that are especially important to you?

Coming from a south-Asian background, specifically Bangladesh, my cultural traditions give me comfort such as in the food and the traditional clothing that are meant to reflect an individual identity while being unified as a group of people.

Q: Who inspired you as a young professional first getting into this industry?

My earliest mentors were my parents. As immigrants, they engrained in me that understanding the diversity of people will help you grow as an individual in all walks of life.

Q: What is your professional philosophy? And how did you develop it?

Being from the melting pot that is NYC, I am a big believer in teamwork and collaboration. Working together towards common goals helps people come together and the sum is always better than its individual parts.

Q: Why do you think diversity and inclusion is so important in today’s business world?

Diversity brings about different points of view from all walks of life and that perspective can help you see things that you were blind to before.

Q: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

My hope is to leave a legacy that teaches my children that everyone brings about a unique contribution to this world and that those contributions will only make us better together, not apart.

Name: Helen Johnson

Title: chief technology officer

Years at ComplySci: one month

Q: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) is a term that encompasses a vast quantity of cultures, regions and traditions. Can you speak a little about your specific heritage and any traditions that are especially important to you?

I’m Chinese but immigrated to the US as a young child from Taiwan.  The one thing that has always stood out for me is the Chinese view of family and family is defined not only by blood.  More importantly everything regarding family for us centered around food.  There were always dinner parties, potlucks, gatherings growing up with all the adults and children. It really was more of a village as a family than just immediate. So, as I got older and started our own family that’s one thing I’ve carried over. I want to know my children’s friends and their parents. Along that front we would host various holiday parties and include not only the kids but their entire family. My favorite holiday party of course is Chinese New Year. 

Q: Who inspired you as a young professional first getting into this industry?

One of the owners of the first company I worked for.  No matter how successful the company became, he was the same person. He never let the success change who he was or how he behaved towards anyone.  Success never got to his head, and he was one of the smartest and yet most humble man I knew.

Q: What is your professional philosophy? And how did you develop it?

Be true to yourself and always do the right thing. 

With lots of trial and error and lessons learned. I was also fortunate that I had some amazing mentors and sponsors along the way in my career that showed me what leadership meant and how their behaviors and attitudes made me feel.

Q: Why do you think diversity and inclusion is so important in today’s business world?

It’s important to surround yourself with people who have different views and experiences as they will help challenge the way we think to be more inclusive and thoughtful. We live in a world that is constantly evolving and it’s important to evolve and to adapt. 

Q: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

That success comes in many forms and for each person that definition is different.  So respect one another for the choices they make for their lives.

Name: Robert Tran

Title: head of software engineering

Years at illumis: almost three years

Q: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) is a term that encompasses a vast quantity of cultures, regions and traditions. Can you speak a little about your specific heritage and any traditions that are especially important to you?

I was born and raised in Florida, but my parents immigrated from Vietnam over 30 years ago. My dearest traditions are all about Vietnamese food!

Q: Who inspired you as a young professional first getting into this industry?

My family and my siblings – I have 14 of them – have always and continue to be my inspiration.

Q: What is your professional philosophy? And how did you develop it?

A few things in my philosophy that I hold onto:
1. People are the most important thing.
2. Trust is the most important thing.
3. Time is the most important thing.
These were developed from the numerous people and the numerous types of people that I’ve been privileged to work with!

Q: Why do you think diversity and inclusion is so important in today’s business world?

I think that diversity and inclusion help to build a shared empathy about who we work with and what problems we work on. Otherwise, it is impossible for a business to consciously make the world a better place.

Q: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

To always leave things better than I found it, and that I was someone who could always be counted on for anything!