Finding strength in our differences: Gathering our voices during APA Heritage Month

Last modified on May 26th, 2021


The first step in celebrating the Asian Pacific American (APA) experience is acknowledging that it’s not just a singular experience but many – a rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, histories, and achievements. Here at AppFolio, we’re fortunate to have many of these experiences represented on our team, enriching our culture and driving deeper customer connections. 

We look to our talented employees to lead and foster various initiatives that support our company culture, including this month as we celebrate APA Heritage Month. At a recent virtual learning event, AppFolians had the opportunity to hear from a licensed mental health counselor with Modern Health, who highlighted practical ways that all of us can be effective allies to our colleagues and the community at large. Ideas focused on the broad themes of educating ourselves, supporting and centering Asian voices and experiences, and using our voices to inspire action. 

We also heard from members of AppFolio’s APA employee communities, who gathered their voices to share how their unique heritage and experiences have influenced who they are today. Here are a few excerpts from those conversations.

Teddy Ho

Senior Product Manager – AppFolio Property Manager

“The thing I want to impress is that the APA community is extremely diverse, with a rich American history. My American heritage traces back over 100 years ago to my great great great uncle who settled in the Seattle area and started a manufacturing company that made Chinese noodles, wonton wrappers, and eventually, fortune cookies. I encourage everyone – whether you’re Asian or non-Asian – to reach out and listen to the stories that those in our community have to tell.

Dave Lo

Vice President of Operations – AppFolio Property Manager

“I’m ABC – American Born Chinese. My parents immigrated from Taiwan to the U.S., where I was born. As a child of immigrants, I grew up feeling caught between two cultures and wanting to assimilate. As I’ve gotten older, my worldview has evolved, and I now realize I don’t have to be the same as everyone else. There’s power in our unique experiences. I have two teenage daughters who my wife and I took to China several years ago because we wanted them to feel more connected to their Chinese heritage. I guess you could say I’ve come full circle.

Ava Schulenberg

Senior HR Coordinator

“I respect the adversity that my Korean grandparents experienced to come to America and provide my mom with a better life. I want to make them proud and show them what they did was worth it.

Guneet Singh

Senior Director, Customer Experience – AppFolio Property Manager

“I identify as a first-generation immigrant. I was born in India, but more than half of my life has been spent outside of my home country, and most of that has been in the U.S. As a Sikh American, and now the parent of young Sikh Americans, I’m motivated to make others aware of our culture, values, and beliefs – and find ways to contribute back to the community, which still faces challenges.

Yanfei Zheng

Senior Internal Auditor

“I was born in China and lived there for 20 years. My best memory from that time was Chinese New Year – it made me so happy to eat delicious meals together with my whole family, receive traditional gifts of red envelopes of money, and wear new clothes for the new year. When I think about how my experience has shaped me, I don’t take things for granted. I appreciate the time we’re in, the life my parents and I can live right now, and the resources and opportunities available to us.

Cat Allday

Vice President, AI Initiative

“I’m what’s considered a .5 generation. Born in Thailand to a Thai mother and an American father. Food is huge in Thai culture, and a part of my heritage that I’m very close to. A part that I’m less close to is the language – while Thai was my first language, I can’t speak much of it, now and that pains me. My goal is to be able to speak proficiently – one of these days, I’m taking suggestions for a great language learning software!

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