The Otter Cross-Cultural Center (OC3) and the Otter Student Union hosted a virtual event on Monday, March 7, to celebrate International Womxn’s Day. The event featured a moderated panel and Q&A section with the hosts of the well-known podcast, AsianBossGirl (ABG).
The event was emceed by OC3’s student coordinator, Valerie Ordonez, who introduced the panel and championed the questioning.
International Womxn’s Day Celebration is dedicated to uplifting women and honoring their achievements towards gender equity, feminist practices, and intersectional approaches to their work.
AsianBossGirl began as a podcast in 2017 and has since expanded into a multimedia company.
AsianBossGirl started between three friends balancing corporate careers in finance, technology, & media. On the podcast, hosts Janet Wang, Melody Cheng, and Helen Wu discuss their experiences as Asian American women working, dating, and living in LA.
Unfortunately, Helen Wu could not attend the virtual event as she is on maternity leave.
Wang answered her questions from an Asian American woman who grew up in a predominantly white area, which caused her to struggle with feeling like an “outsider” while growing up.
It wasn’t until later in life that Wang felt genuinely connected with her cultural identity.
“I think a lot of my development was glossed over until I got to college,” Wang said. “It wasn’t until later, with AsianBossGirl and meeting Mel and Helen, that I was blessed with the opportunity to really celebrate my culture and to think deeply about how my culture plays into who I am as a person, my traits, my habits, my values, and my character. ”
Cheng offered a different perspective, stating that she never really questioned her identity growing up because of her strong Asian American upbringing.
Ordonez asked the hosts a series of questions about their success stories and how they stay undeterred when pursuing their passion projects.
One piece of advice that the hosts recommended was getting comfortable with the concept of pivoting from one idea to the next.
“The one thing we do a lot is pivot,” Cheng answered. “At ABG, we’re always working on a lot of projects, and we’ve been pivoting so much, and I will say that it sucks when your expectations don’t get met, but try not to take things so personally. Learn to take what you did right and learn from what you did wrong and then move on to the next thing, because the longer you linger on this negative feeling; you are not solving anything.”
Wang also credits her ability to stay focused on her goals to her fellow co-founders.
“There were so many points where we hit roadblocks when first starting the podcast, but what set ABG apart from other passion projects I have been a part of is 100% the fact that I had Mel and Helen because of the team and accountability they provided,” Wang said. “We know that we are relying on each other, so we are always going to keep going and be persistent. We do not stop; we just change and keep going.”
A prominent concept coined in the ABG podcast is the term “The Gray Zone,” which refers to an unpredictable time in your life that you feel you aren’t “prepared” for, such as post-graduate school.
Ordonez asked for advice on how a person should navigate this confusing and challenging time.
“One thing I had to learn how to do was surrender to this time and know that this time will not be forever,” said Cheng. “Each time you go through it, it gets easier. Teach yourself how to console yourself through self-reflection and journaling and also try to find some foundational activities to set your day.”
Wang explained that she is entering a new mindset of growth and forgiveness at her current age. She encourages people going through their own Gray Zone to use it as an opportunity for growth.
“Each period of transition is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, but only if you do the self-work and do the self-reflecting on why you’re making the changes that you are,” Wang said. “The more you go through life transitions, the more you’ll learn to trust yourself.”
The second half of the event was opened to the audience in a Q&A moderated by Cultural Engagement Student Coordinator Karla Garcia.
Audience members asked for advice on starting their own podcast and staying motivated.
“I would say just to do it,” said Wang. “I would say it depends on your personality, but it is helpful to get other people to join in versus just going at it solo. Nowadays, podcasting is so available for everyone, so just try it.”
Both Cheng and Wang journal regularly to build confidence and stay motivated towards their goals and recommend that others try journaling to remain disciplined within their plans.
The OC3 closed the event by reminding students of upcoming events. Look out for OC3’s Herstory Adventure on March 14 and their forthcoming Social Justice Dialogue on March 17.