When Serena joined Enterprise Holdings nine years ago as a summer intern in Dallas, she didn’t see anyone who looked like her.
She used that as motivation throughout her career to help coach and mentor others, which she embraced as a member of the Diversity Advisory Council. Her determination and aspirations paid off, as she was recently promoted to Regional Risk Manager in Houston.
“Representation is important, but it’s also important to me to me that I’m recognized for my leadership, performance, and reputation – and that I happen to be a minority female,” she says.
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, read more about how Serena celebrates her Taiwanese heritage and how her mother’s inspiration to be the best aligns with the opportunities Serena finds at Enterprise.
Tell us about your heritage.
I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to the U.S. when I was 2 years old. I was raised in a very traditional and conservative household. My heritage is traditionally very patriarchal and patrilineal, but I grew up in a very female-dominated home.
In my culture, families are incredibly close-knit and extended, and there are typically multiple generations living together in a single household. Meals are seen as bringing the family together and can last for hours.
Festivals also have a major role in our society and can last for days. There are several major celebrations based on the lunar calendar like the Lantern Festival, Lunar New Year Festivals (lasts for 2-3 weeks), Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and many more.
How do you celebrate your Asian Pacific Islander (API) heritage?
As I have gotten older, I have grown to appreciate my culture more and more and try to celebrate as much as I can by taking part in the rituals of the major celebrations. My entire family lives on the West Coast, so I am not able to celebrate my culture with them as often as I like. My favorite memories are family-style meals when my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all together and my cousins and I watch the elders of the family fight over the check at the end.
Who inspires you?
My mom inspires and pushes me to be the best person I can be. Growing up she taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to and not let any cultural, generational, or gender barriers hold me back. I was orphaned by my biological mother because I am her firstborn and not a son. My biological father chose alcoholism over family. Growing up my adopted parents were my role models. They broke barriers by being the first in their generation to be completely self-sufficient, have an open arm to other ethnicities, and did not let their ethnicity or gender hold them back.
What brought you to Enterprise, and what keeps you here?
One of the things that’s important to me and attracted me to Enterprise is opportunity. The opportunities are limitless and one of my favorite things about Enterprise is that typically everyone starts at the same level which allows us to relate to each other very well. I have been blessed with great mentors in my career that have helped develop me personally and professionally and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.