For Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APIHM), we celebrate all of the rich culture, traditions, and history of Asians and Pacific Islanders. This year, our employee resource group Asians@ chose the theme Roots: Growing Your Story. This month’s theme is about “origins” — the idea that where we came from is part of what makes us who we are now. We spoke with Dropboxers about what this theme means to them.
Q: What is your name, what office do you work out of, and how long have you been at Dropbox?
A: My name is Pooja Raman. I work out of the Austin office and have been at Dropbox since April 2018.
Q: What’s your current role in helping make the world work better?
A: I am a customer success manager for enterprise accounts. I take over an account once they have purchased Dropbox for their business and make sure they have a successful deployment. I help nurture the accounts and solve any collaboration issues they may face throughout the length of their contract.
Q: In your time at Dropbox, what’s something you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?
A: Within a few months of joining, I took on the role of co-lead of the ATX Asians ERG and helped transform it from a group of two people to almost 20. By stepping up and recruiting more members to the group, we have been able to showcase our rich history and culture through events such as Diwali Family Night and a Lunar New Year celebration.
Q: What does this year’s theme, Roots: Growing Your Story, mean to you?
A: I was super excited for this theme as it was being developed. Roots to me is not only knowing where you came from but being able to intertwine them with the roots that you create yourself. I also believe that roots does not have to be a geographic location — it can be a feeling, a moment, a place in time, etc. Roots means being able to weave my Indian culture and heritage with my American culture — both of which are continuously developing over time.
Q: Roots need nurture to grow; resources like water, soil, air, and sunlight are all necessary to stay healthy. What helps grow your roots?
A: My family, my coworkers and friends, and my dog Eli keep my roots growing.
Q: Are there any Asian or Pacific Islander leaders or role models that you look up to? How have they shaped who you are today?
A: I have always loved and looked up to Mindy Kaling. She steered away from the “traditional Asian career path” of being a doctor (just like her parents) or engineer and chose to follow her dreams of pursuing a career in the film industry. I also admire that she is an advocate for body image and does not care what anyone thinks of her.
Q: What topic or topics do you feel are top of mind for you and the Asian community that you belong to and why?
A: One of the biggest ongoing issues in India is the idea that fair skin is seen as beautiful and feminine, while dark skin is seen as the opposite. Being South Indian, my skin is naturally dark, and I remember, while growing up, my aunts and uncles would always make a point to call that out. This would make me feel ashamed of my skin color to the point where I would stop going outside in the summers and try skin lightening solutions. Fast forward many years — today, I am proud of my skin color, and I hope others feel the same. There have been many South Asian beauty campaigns that showcase women of darker skin tones, letting the world know that we are beautiful, too. We still have a long way to go, but I know we are heading in the right direction.
Q: And lastly, what are you most excited for with this year’s APIHM at Dropbox?
A: Other than all the really exciting events we have planned in the Austin office, I am most excited about sharing my culture and my fellow Dropboxers’ cultures with the rest of the office! I am so passionate about where my roots began, and I cannot wait to share that with everyone else.