Lunar New Year: Year of The Tiger and DEI
Lunar New Year | Chinese New Year | February 1, 2022
As a Chinese woman, the celebration of Chinese New Year is a very important aspect of my life and cultural values. It’s a time for family reunion with the most important part of the celebration being the family dinner. My family comes together from across cities in south and southwest China to feast on traditional foods, like fish, meat rolls, Hunan bacon, dumplings, and more.
Lunar New Year, also referred to as Chinese New Year, is the annual Spring Festival for many countries, predominantly China, but also Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Tibet and others. The holiday is tied to the Chinese lunar calendar, starting on a different day each year depending on the first new moon of the calendar. This year, it begins February 1.
The story shared around this celebration is that one of the most important deities of the Chinese culture, the Jade Emperor, challenged the animals of the kingdom to a race with the first-place winner gaining the emperor’s favor. Every year symbolizes and celebrates one of the 12 zodiac signs, or one of the 12 animals in the race. 2022 is the year of the Tiger.
So, how does this relate to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)? Let me explain more.
“Tigers are extremely competitive people, known for their courage and ambition. Tigers are ambitious, but they’re also extremely generous with a drive to help others. Tigers want to win, but they’re also always seeking justice.” (source)
Reading the description at this point in my life and career reminds me of my work as a DEI champion at Jabil. To be an advocate, you must be courageous, ambitious, generous and seek justice for others.
The competitive nature of the Tiger is centered around its drive to come in first place for the Great Race. Much like this, being passionate about DEI means you need to be full of energy to try to “win” the great race for equity and inclusion.
The courage of the Tiger demonstrates the ability to overcome a fear or push through something difficult or challenging. I have felt the challenge of getting people to truly understand and create a DEI culture. There’s a fear of change or fear of the unknown. It takes courage to push diversity, equity and inclusion efforts wherever you work and live.
Ambition is the strong desire to achieve something, requiring determination and strong work ethic, and is what propelled the Tiger to try to win the race. To me, I use my ambition to become an enabler and supporter of others’ growth, especially people who historically haven’t had equal opportunities.
The generous side of the Tiger is one that shows kindness toward others, giving more than is expected. Only if you truly care and are willing to invest extra time in the work will you be a strong DEI champion. I’ve learned how to be a better listener and share what I learn to speak up for those who need help and support. It’s about using your time, resources, and passion to take action for others.
Seeking justice is the work to achieve just, fair treatment and in the case of the Tiger, getting rid of evil. One area of work I’m dedicated to is helping build open, equitable and fair career paths for all, regardless of their ability, characteristic or life experiences.
Everyone can be an ambassador of DEI, no matter if they are a Tiger or a Snake like me.