The term "glass ceiling” has been circulating since the late 80′s but there’s a new ceiling cropping up – the "bamboo ceiling.” The term is used to describe the difficulty Asian American professionals have in reaching the C-suite due to cultural and racial barriers. Jane Hyun, author of "Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” described in a recent NPR interview the differences in workplace culture in Asia versus the United States. "You can actually go in unannounced and unscheduled, to have this very informal relationship with a manager. I didn’t see that as a possibility because I thought hard work was working alone at your desk,” said Hyun in the interview.
ASCEND, an eight-year-old organization, has made it their mission to help Asian American professionals as they reach their career goals. The organization boasts 16 professional chapters and 28 student chapters across the country.
Asian Americans have always been the backbone of corporate America,” said Kamesh Nagarajan, President of ASCEND’s New York chapter. "We’re working on raising their visibility and make them feel more comfortable [in corporate America].”
Jeff Chin, National President of Ascend, Greg Fleming – President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Kamesh Nagarajan at the NY Metro Chapter’s IAG Conference in April 2013
It’s really about empowerment,” Nagarajan said. "And finding out how we can help each other.”