220: Blended – Immigration and Identity

It’s episode 12, and that means it’s been a whole year of Blended! This year has flown by – I’ve hosted some incredible guests and it’s been a real honor that they’ve opened up, and shared their stories with us – in a lot of cases they’ve been really sensitive, personal topics and yet they’ve thrown themselves into it with authenticity and humor so that, as a group, we’ve been able to start to break down stigma and create a safe space for people to ask questions, learn, grow and work through their own belief systems and experiences. We’ve tackled some huge topics – social inequality, racism, sexism, trans rights – and we don’t plan on stopping now!

Today in episode 12, ‘Immigration and Identity,’ I’m joined by an amazing new group of supply chain and DEI professionals to tackle the, sometimes controversial, subject of immigration. I’ve interviewed so many first and second-generation immigrations on Let’s Talk Supply Chain™, and that aspect of the guest’s identity, more often than not, really helps to shape who they are as people, their ambition and aspirations. It’s always a fantastic talking point, so we thought it really deserved a show of its own. Our panelists share their personal journeys and we tackle the challenges and biases as well as the joys and successes of immigrant experiences.



[03.04] Introductions to our Blended panelists.

  • Stefanie – Product Manger at Terminal 49
  • Martha – Global Snr. IT Manager of Enterprise & Corp Systems at McKesson
  • Sneha – Demand Planning/Operations Program Manager at Crane
  • Shana – Associate Director of Product Management, International Supply Chain at Wayfair

“It wasn’t actually until I went to college that I had my first experience where I felt different.” – Shana

[08.57] The group defines the word ‘immigration.’

[12.13] The panel discusses their personal experiences of immigration.

“I learned to appreciate how diverse my home city of Mombasa was, and I saw that in the US it’s often not as tolerant as it should be for a first world country – it was a huge surprise.” – Martha

[34.47] The group reflects on their accents and the impact of ‘sounding different.’

  • Bias
  • Self-consciousness
  • Identity
  • Integration

“I tried to hide my accent, that bias is there… but my accent is a core part of my being so I don’t hide it anymore and I’m happy with the way I am – but it took me some years to learn that.” – Sneha

[47.23] The panel discusses the word immigrant, and what it means to them.

  • Context: facts vs assumptions
  • Intention, bias and misuse
  • When do you stop calling someone an immigrant?
  • The controversial use of the word ‘alien’

“There’s always a culture struggle of ‘who do I identify with?’ Do I let go of my Asian culture so I can blend in more, or be more Chinese but have a conflict of ‘who am I?’” – Stefanie

[56.55] The group reflects on the widespread Asian hate experienced following the start of the pandemic, and the nuances around the word ‘Asian.’

  • The fear felt by many Asian communities
  • One word to represent so many different people
  • Two-way communication – being open to both asking, and answering, questions
  • Allyship

“We all come from a different ethnicity, we all have our own unique identities – and we would like to be respected for where we come from.” Sneha

[1.19.42] The panelists each give their sum-up from today’s discussion around what we can we do to celebrate diversity through immigration, to create opportunities and to elevate voices.

  • Be a change agent: use your position to amplify voices – Shana
  • We have a responsibility to each other as human beings, and everything begins with love – Martha
  • Leaders need to have more empathy, and connect with immigrants more – Stefanie
  • Embrace everyone, and stop filtering people by ethnicity or immigration status – Sneha



You can connect with Stefanie, Martha, Sneha and Shana over on LinkedIn.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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