8 Amazing Asian American Women To Inspire You This Month

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At CircleAround, we’re proud to amplify the accomplishments of so many amazing women. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and so this month, we are especially honored to showcase the work and stories of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Here are a few examples of innovation, creativity, and ingenuity to inspire you. 

1Building a Business Empire, Accidentally

Ellen Yin, founder and podcast host of Cubicle to CEO, became an “accidental entrepreneur” at age 23 when she quit her corporate marketing job without a backup plan. Since then, she‘s made more than seven figures in lifetime revenue in just three years. This achievement is especially momentous to her as a woman and a first-generation Asian American. “My favorite part of my role is the relationships I get to build with our brand partners, podcast guests, and students/community at large,” she explains. “Networking is my superpower!” 

2Cooking Potstickers With Care

Katie Chin has written several Chinese cookbooks based on the recipes her mother passed down to her. She provided CircleAround with a recipe for potstickers from her new book, Katie Chin's Global Family Cookbook, which she says are customarily served during Lunar New Year to symbolize wealth and prosperity. “Serve these all year round and you’re sure to feel prosperous,” she adds. “Or at least your belly will!”

3Designing Fashion With Diversity in Mind

“As a person of color, I’ve always been the minority on the design team,” says Nyla Hasan, founder of the øther collection, a ready-to-wear fashion company for bicultural identities. “Not just being mixed raced or being South Asian, but also being a Muslim. There are very few people who are Muslim or South Asian represented in the industry.” With its pieces made to order via small-batch production, the other collection blends traditional South Asian designs and craftsmanship with nods to so-called “Western” styles. 

4Kimchi With a Rich Family History

Minnie Luong is a chef who created an entire business around her family’s culinary traditions. She’s the owner of Chi Kitchen, a small business that produces fermented kimchi. Her recipe is based on her family's traditions, experimentation, and a desire to share her culture. 

5Helping Wine Professionals Succeed

Cristie Norman co-founded The United Sommeliers Foundation, a nonprofit that supports wine professionals in crises due to circumstances beyond their control. Through the United Sommeliers Foundation, Norman built a community of more than 400 sommeliers who participate in free or low-cost virtual wine education events all over Southern California. “We have given over 1,200 relief grants to people in need,” Norman tells CircleAround. “We raised nearly $1 million for COVID-19 relief in nine months.” 

6Enhancing Mushroom Jerky With Asian Flavors

To make veggie-friendly snacks without additives or processed ingredients more accessible, Gina Shi created Munchrooms — a 100% plant-based, non-GMO mushroom-jerky company based in San Francisco. A variety of Asian flavors are used to season the jerky, making it a delicious, healthy snack alternative. 

7Making Vietnamese Coffee Mainstream

Sahra Nguyen, a first-generation Vietnamese-American and daughter of Vietnamese refugees, ​​loved New York’s coffee culture, but noticed that Vietnamese bean varieties were never on the menu. She launched Nguyen Coffee Supply, which connects coffee shops, consumers, and farmers in a more direct way, through Vietnamese coffee. 

8Bridging the Gap Between Language and Culture

As someone who was born in Pakistan and raised in the U.S. since she was 2, being bilingual came naturally to Benish Shah. As she began to meet other South Asian Americans like herself, she realized how language skills varied among friends and coworkers, as did their connection to heritage. Shah helped create the English Meets Urdu series, a colorful set of three books meant for kids up to 5 years old and U.S.-born to parents of Urdu-speaking South Asian heritage. 

Tags: Inspiration, Women in Business

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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