Dixie N.’s 24-year career at Enterprise Holdings has brought her full circle. Her journey began right out of college, when she joined the company as an Accountant in Washington state. Since then, she’s relocated for her career to Alaska, Hawaii, Upstate New York, and most recently back home to Washington as the Group Controller.
Throughout her journey with Enterprise, Dixie has not only learned a lot about the business, but also herself. In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Dixie reflects on her journey to fully embrace her Japanese heritage.
What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?
I grew up in a small town in Eastern Washington State where my family was the only Japanese family in the area. It was important to my father that we assimilated to the local social and cultural practices, so I rarely felt comfortable talking about my ethnic background. It wasn’t until I moved to Hawaii that I started to embrace my heritage. I see AAPI Heritage Month as an opportunity for me to continue to learn about my Japanese background and pass it along to my children.
Is there an AAPI person – within Enterprise or from your personal network – who inspires you?
My time in Hawaii was an eye-opening experience. Rodrigo I., a Group Rental Manager in Hawaii, was always great about including me, and teaching me about Hawaiian and Japanese culture. He encouraged everyone on the team to be understanding and appreciate each other’s differences.
What struck me most during my time in Hawaii was how the entire team openly talked about their backgrounds and always expressed great pride in where they came from. This was the first time I truly understood what it meant to embrace your heritage, and the first time I felt fully comfortable doing so.
How does your manager or team encourage you to bring your whole self to work?
I have always felt I could bring my whole or authentic self to work. I must admit though, when I first got to Upstate New York, I was hesitant to bring chopsticks to work. I thought about my time in Hawaii and realized that I shouldn’t hesitate to be myself. It was no longer about the chopsticks; it was about connecting with people through food. Food is universal—it brings people together and I really enjoy talking with co-workers about foods they loved to eat and grew up eating.
What makes you proud to be part of the AAPI community?
My husband is Caucasian, and our children are bi-racial. I’m proud that my children proudly embrace both their Asian and Caucasian heritages. I’m also proud that in the AAPI community, we are doing what we can to protect and look out for one another.
What do you think people can do this AAPI Heritage Month to raise awareness and learn about important issues that impact the AAPI community?
I worry about the safety of my family because of the recent attacks on people in the AAPI community. My husband and children haven’t made the move to Washington yet and I am traveling back and forth to New York until school is out. There are times, when I am out and about by myself, that I look over my shoulder. I also worry about my mother who lives by herself in Eastern Washington.
My hope is that people will not only honor the traditions and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders this month, but also take time to educate themselves about important issues in the AAPI community. We need to ask questions and have more open and straightforward conversations.
What excites you about your Enterprise future?
Being Asian― Japanese specifically― I understand the positive impact and role model I can be for others. I am not aware of many Asian female Controllers within our company. I’m most excited about being in a position where I can inspire and advocate for other female and Asian team members.