Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Meet Mickaela, Creative Design Manager
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, our Asian American Business Resource Group (BRG) is excited to highlight several of our Team Members all month long. This month is a time to connect with our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific American Team Members and neighbors in celebration of the incredible diversity from South Asian and Southeast Asian to East Asian, West Asian, and Pacific Island cultures and beyond.
This week's #TeamMemberTuesday is featuring Mickaela, Creative Design Manager on our Digital Brand and Marketing Operations team out of San Francisco, CA!
What is your job title? And what do you love most about your job?
I’m the Creative Design Manager on the Giant Eagle Creative Team. I love that my job encourages me to collaborate with talented individuals; and allows me to express my creativity to help develop our brand identity.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Honestly, one of my proudest accomplishments was dropping out of a university to pursue the career I have now. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t take that leap of faith in myself and my talent. It’s been a challenging road, but I’m all the better for it—not to mention much more fulfilled!
What does Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
To me, AAPI Heritage Month is a time of celebration and reflection. As an immigrant of the Philippines, I grew up in a household that upheld many traditions yet openly evolved to living in a new country. While I do feel truly blended as both a Pacific Islander and an American, AAPI Heritage Month is a special time for me to acknowledge my roots and learn the rich history of where I was born.
Is there anything special that you do to commemorate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month?
How I like to celebrate is by hearing stories from my parents or older relatives. I love to hear their stories of growing up in the Philippines, how they made their way to America, and how they adjusted to a new life. I’m about the age they were when they immigrated, so I can make a deeper connection to their stories and really put myself in their shoes. I also try and learn any historical facts that I didn’t previously know about the Philippines to help connect me more to my culture.
How has your heritage and the experience of being Asian in the U.S. shaped the person you are today?
For the most part, growing up, I’ve felt very aligned with American culture and wouldn’t separate out my being Asian as any factor that set me apart. However, there have been moments growing up where I was able to enlighten someone on certain cultural customs that perhaps most Americans weren’t familiar with; and being able to share my Asian culture would be really exciting and fulfilling for me. Also—this is not to say that this is an attribute exclusive to Asian Americans—but I learned a lot about perseverance, hard work, dedication and respect from my parents and other elders. These qualities definitely helped to shape how I navigated through life in many ways.
Does your family have any traditions that are especially important to you?
The simplest way we keep traditions alive is through food! We cook traditional dishes for many meals, share food, eat together, and just generally reconnect with each other at the setting of the dining table. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s one of the most prominent ways we stay connected to our heritage, and each other.
What are some interesting hobbies or talents that most people may not know about you?
In another life, I would have pursued a career in music. I play 5 different instruments, love to sing, and have performed in many musicals growing up. With a little more confidence and training, I’m convinced I could’ve gone somewhere in that industry! I would also love to be a voice actor, immortalized as the voice of an iconic cartoon character. Maybe someday!