New York (June 13, 2012) — Asian Pacific Americans are among the most influential and important sectors of U.S. society often overlooked by marketers and major corporations, business leaders and experts said at Asia Society’s fourth annual Diversity Leadership Forum, hosted by Time Warner, on Monday.
Even with annual “purchasing power of $509 billion,” Asian Americans don’t always get consideration by marketers, said Saul Gitlin, Executive Vice President of Strategic Services at Kang & Lee Advertising, which was ranked the #1 Asian Multicultural Agency by Advertising Age in April 2012.
“They’re amongst the most attractive ‘kids in the house’ who for some reason aren’t getting invited out,” Gitlin told a packed crowd. “We’re constantly trying to shine a spotlight on the Asian-American demographic.”
The comments were reiterated by actor Sendhil Ramamurthy of Heroes fame, who said a tendency to ignore Asian-Americans permeates into the entertainment industry. The general lack of Asian faces in popular culture highlights their invisibility in all aspects of society beyond certain stereotypical roles, he said.
“Asians play certain characters,” Ramamurthy said. “They play the doctor, or they play the smart guy. That’s very much still the case.”
Asia Society’s 2012 Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey, released at the forum, picked up on similar issues in the workplace. Just 49 percent of APA employees feel they “belong” in the companies that employ them. Coupled with the lack of APA senior leaders and role models, this indicates that companies are overlooking APAs both inside and outside their corporate walls. The survey, available on Amazon.com, explores many other facets of the APA employee experience.
The event culminated in an awards ceremony honoring companies at the forefront of promoting APA leaders and global diversity, with KPMG LLP winning the top honor of “Overall Best Employer for Asian Pacific Americans.” Besides the award winners, one additional company was recognized for Distinguished Practice in each category.
Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders and institutions of the United States and Asia. www.AsiaSociety.org