As America continues celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this May, the theme of “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation” resonates with many individuals nationwide. It’s a period of reflection and recognition — a time to honor the rich tapestry of Asian cultures that form an integral part of America’s identity and heritage. This month is not only about acknowledging the past and present achievements of AAPI individuals but also about shining a light on the pathways for future growth.

In the corporate world, supporting AAPI employees extends beyond a month-long celebration. It’s an ongoing effort to build and maintain inclusive cultures within organizations. Kyndryl, a forward-thinking technology company, stands at the forefront of this initiative. By creating career leadership opportunities, Kyndryl is making a positive impact, empowering AAPI communities with the skills and solutions needed to thrive in the technology sector.

But Kyndryl’s approach transcends skills development. The company understands that fostering the advancement of AAPI individuals in the workplace is a multifaceted mission. It's about providing platforms for AAPI employees to share their unique experiences and insights, drawn from diverse cultural backgrounds. Through resource groups and participatory initiatives, Kyndryl offers a space for these voices to be heard and celebrated.

Here, six Kyndryl employees talk about the meaningful insights they've gained through their AAPI culture and heritage, and the powerful role inclusive practices can play in driving innovation. 

Faith Taylor

SVP, Global Sustainability, ESG and Impact Officer
Kyndryl Global Corporate Affairs

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How has your AAPI heritage shaped you?

My father is African American, born in Arkansas, and my mom is Japanese and was born in Japan. My dad always said we have the best of both worlds, and I agree. My rich background has given me a unique perspective and blend of bridging and understanding cultural differences. My upbringing was based on universal values, such as to always put family first, have a strong work ethic, strive to learn and do better, communicate with honesty and integrity, and value people regardless of their economic, heritage or cultural background or orientation.

Rajesh Jaluka

Vice President and CTO
US Government and Healthcare

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Who has inspired you and impacted your life?

My father has always been an inspiration. Throughout his life, he worked with limited resources, which caused him to be economical, valuing frugality and mindfulness. I have applied this mentality to my personal and professional life and have instilled the same values within my children.

What AAPI-specific challenges have you had to overcome during your career?

As an AAPI in the workplace, you often must work harder to make your ideas heard. You must overcome additional hurdles and greater scrutiny. You don’t always get credit or may be forced to share credit with those who have better communication skills.

Carol Lin 

Strategy, Solutions and Alliances
Marketing Program Manager

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How has your AAPI heritage shaped you?

I love bridging gaps and bringing people together to ensure we’re driving toward the same shared goals. As a program manager, I’m surrounded by such a diverse group of intellects, talent and culture, which makes me thoroughly enjoy helping people work faster and more easily.

How does your AAPI heritage bring you joy?

I’m lucky to have grown up as a Chinese American in New York City. I spent my weekends in the city’s Chinatown section, surrounded by a community of other first-generation families who didn’t have a strong local network. What brings me joy about my Chinese American culture is the emphasis on community, which starkly differs from the Western concept of individualism. 

Curtis Jordan

Associate Director
Security Intelligence

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What steps can technology companies take to create more inclusive cultures, particularly for the AAPI community?

It comes down to intentionality — be intentional about hiring and promoting inclusive cultures. One of the things I love that we do here at Kyndryl is to celebrate the holidays and festivals of the AAPI community. It’s an easy way to make people feel seen, teach and learn about our colleagues’ cultures, and genuinely enjoy the diversity within the AAPI community. It provides an opportunity to learn from the history, knowledge and joy of many unique cultures, as well as appreciate how each unique AAPI culture contributes to the richness of American life.

Shabeena Alam 

Delivery Partner

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How has your AAPI heritage shaped you?

In India, I grew up in a varied and rich culture that influenced my views and identity. I learned to value the diversity and wisdom of different cultures, languages, religions and arts. Equally, seeing the struggles against poverty, injustice and discrimination taught me the importance of resilience, fairness and empathy. When I moved to the U.S. at age 10, I brought these foundational values with me. They guide me daily, helping me to connect deeply with others, champion fairness and lead with compassion. At Kyndryl, my goal is to foster a culture of unity and inclusivity, where we all contribute our best, driving meaningful change together.

What advice do you have for young AAPI professionals?

Find a mentor. When you are new to something, there are many things you don't know. Let someone who has experience guide you through it. You already face many obstacles, and having a mentor can help you overcome some of them. Learn from those who have done it before so you can be ready for what’s next. Being prepared makes a big difference.

Rajeev Puri

Vice President & CTO
US Manufacturing & Energy Sector

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What do you enjoy most about your current role?

My actions are shaping Kyndryl’s future for the better. I love solving problems, and as the CTO for the manufacturing and energy market, I work with our customers, partners and Kyndryl teams on a daily basis to solve deep industry challenges. I also enjoy helping to grow Kyndryl talent within the company.

What is your proudest career accomplishment?

I am proud to be a Kyndryl Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor/Innovator. A Distinguished Engineer title represents top technical talent within the company. The Kyndryl Distinguished Engineer community brings top technical talent that is deep and battle-tested to our clients. I am proud to be part of this group.