Breaking barriers through innovation

Asian american pacific islander heritage

We applaud the many contributions, innovations and achievements of AAPI individuals throughout history. As an innovative firm, we honor our AAPI colleagues by championing their growth.

May 2024

May is a time for growth; trees are budding, and flowers are blooming. So, it’s fitting that the theme for this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is dedicated to growth — “Advancing leaders through innovation.”

We proudly celebrate AAPI Month with a series of events and activities that showcase the vibrancy and richness of the community, and honor our AAPI colleagues this month and year-round by supporting their career advancement.

We partnered with national organizations like the Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM), National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) and Ascend, which are dedicated to the mentorship and development of AAPI professionals. These partnerships not only provide significant opportunities for our employees to develop their skills and grow their careers, but also drive our company’s innovation and strengthen our diversity and inclusion efforts.

“The month of May provides an excellent opportunity to recognize and appreciate the dynamic ways in which AAPI individuals enrich both our company and our society,” said Brad Hu, chief risk officer and executive sponsor of State Street’s Asian Professionals Alliance (APA).

“As a company, we strive to promote an environment where our 40,000-plus global workforce feels seen, heard, valued and empowered to unleash their full innovative potential. The work organizations like AAAIM, NAAAP and Ascend do is vital, not only for advancing AAPI leaders within State Street, but to improving the state of AAPI equity around the globe, as well.”

To better understand the importance of these partnerships and gain some perspective on what it means to be AAPI at our firm, we caught up with two AAPI colleagues.

Andrea au fi

Andrea Au
Chief Operating Officer, Investments, State Street Global Advisors

Andrea Au is a firm believer in change. It’s been key to her success at State Street. The now chief operating officer of Investments at State Street Global Advisors has held multiple positions since starting at the company more than 20 years ago.

After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she started her career in Boston as a litigation consultant. A couple of years later, she joined State Street Global Advisors as a quantitative researcher and began working her way up, holding various positions within the business, serving as chief risk operating officer and the chief of staff to the CEO. She also spearheaded several special projects, including the launch of State Street Global Advisors' Poland office and onboarding State Street Global Advisors as a client of State Street Alpha® and Charles River Development.

Within each role, Andrea gained new insights into the firm and a renewed desire to keep growing professionally. As she gained new skills and more experience, she became more confident too, and that eventually led her to join AAAIM Boston — an organization dedicated to supporting the advancement of AAPI investment managers.

Through mentorship, networking, promoting access to capital and educating the industry and public at large about prejudice experienced by AAPI professionals, AAAIM seeks to transform the investment management industry to reflect the capabilities of underrepresented demographics.

Though her affiliation with AAAIM is recent, Andrea is a strong proponent of getting involved with professional organizations early in one’s career.

“Being involved in AAAIM has given me opportunities to meet with people who are not otherwise within my normal circle, allowing me to learn about their strengths and hear about their challenges,” said Andrea. “I have also had the opportunity to interact with other senior leaders and gain insights into their career growth and learn from their experience. It gave me a different perspective which in turn helped me grow and become a better leader,” she added.

Andrea recognizes the negative impact of unconscious bias and stereotypes in the workplace, acknowledging that she herself fell victim to the stereotype of keeping one’s head down and working hard.

“Early in my career, I thought that if I worked really hard and did a good job, then people would notice, and I would get promoted,” she recalls.
While her hard work did pay off, she often wonders if her career trajectory would have benefitted further from an earlier involvement with networking groups like AAAIM.

“Knowing your strengths, finding your voice and breaking stereotypes are critical steps in shaping perceptions and advancing career paths.”

Andrea believes that networking and participation in career development programs and mentorships can benefit everyone, helping to show others who they are beyond the stereotypes and allowing them to realize their full potential. She encourages individuals to take advantage of the resources provided by the firm and professional groups to bring meaningful change and impact into their professional and personal lives.

Kenneth wong final

Kenneth C.Y. Wong
Vice President, Global Delivery, State Street

Kenneth Wong joined State Street straight out of college 13 years ago. He started as an associate in our Client Service department and has since moved into various operational and transformation roles within the organization. By most measures, Kenneth acknowledges, he has a great career at State Street, and he credits his supportive managers and mentors for opening doors and providing opportunities.

When COVID-19 hit, he found himself re-examining his career priorities. He was working for State Street India at the time, setting up our Bangalore and Hyderabad offices. During the lockdown, he had a realization of sorts, he says.

“COVID upended the career development of many colleagues in the initial stages of their career. As someone who benefited directly from the help and support given by the community here at State Street, it is only right that I help address this and start paying it forward.”

Upon returning to Boston and to the office, Kenneth did just that. He accepted a friend’s invitation to join and volunteer with APA, and immediately got to work, even if that meant going a little out of his comfort zone. He now spearheads APA’s professional development programs and manages our external partnership with NAAAP’s Boston chapter.

“I personally feel that at higher levels of management, AAPI professionals are underrepresented. State Street has made great strides in recent years, but work remains to be done,” he said.

He is seeking to change that through his work with NAAAP, a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating, supporting and promoting Asian American leaders through professional development, community service engagements and industry connections.

For Kenneth, getting out of his comfort zone (e.g., reaching out to and collaborating with colleagues and others in the broader community) has not only boosted his confidence and his career, but his personal life too. It has also allowed him to expand his social network.

“In my experience, it does pay off, and that's why I'm trying to give back and encourage other people to do it,” he said. “One of the key skillsets that all successful leaders possess is being able to mentor, nurture and develop the people around you as well as yourself. There is no leader here at State Street or elsewhere who got to their position without the support of all those around them.”

Like Andrea, Kenneth believes getting involved with professional organizations early on is beneficial to both employees and employers. Tapping into the knowledge and experience of someone further along than yourself is the best way to accelerate your career, he said.

Whether through professional organizations, mentorship programs or employee resource groups, we strive to empower all employees to build their talents and skills, and forge their unique career paths. We value a workplace culture that not only celebrates diversity, but also harnesses its power to foster inclusion and act as a catalyst to advance leadership through innovation.


Stay updated

Please send me State Street’s latest Insights.