Our Guest Today: Tutti Taygerly
Tutti coaches cofounders and tech leaders to embrace their unique leadership style to achieve professional impact and a sustainable company culture. She focuses on working with women, people of color, and immigrants. Previously she was a design leader at design firms, startups, and large companies including Disney and Facebook. Tutti writes for Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, and Fast Company and her book Make Space to Lead shows high achievers how to reframe our relationship to work.
Tutti grew up in seven countries on three continents and is settled in San Francisco as her home base. She spends her time parenting two spirited girls, obsessively reading, and paddling out for the next wave. Find her at https://www.tuttitaygerly.com
Watch Our Interview
Hi, everyone. This is Fei from Feisworld Media. As a reminder, this is a live event, and if you are watching or listening to this after the fact on Spotify, Apple, Google, you can actually especially on Spotify, you can actually turn on video and watch it that way. I just want to remind everyone that today well, I have a very special guest,Tutti Taygerly, and we’re here to talk about hello, Tudi. A lot of different things, but one of which is how to lead and succeed as Asian American women. And this question has come up again and again for me during previous podcast recordings, even when I was interviewed on other people’s podcasts, and frankly, I always struggled to answer this, relating the effort, the work with ethnicity, our heritage. So welcome to the I’m so glad you’re here.
Okay. Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. And I have to be honest, that’s a question that I’ve struggled with for many, many years, too. And I’ve been a professional working for 25 years. I just attended my 25th college reunion, and I think it’s something I’ve only gotten comfortable with in the last handful of years.
Wow. There’s a lot to COVID And again, I was very surprised when you said you have 20 plus years in tech. I was really shocked. When did you start working, Zach? Did you graduate college when you’re, like, barely 15 years old?
Well, I had an Asian tiger mom, and as you know, in Asian cultures, education is very important. And for her, she was skipping grades because, you know, it’s kind of nice when you have a daughter who seems very smart and all of that stuff. So I actually entered and started Stanford when I was 16.
Oh, my God.
Halfway across the world was my first entry point. Well, second, but first major entry point into the US. Just moving halfway across the world to start school by myself at 16. So I guess that means that I probably started working when I was 20.
Wow. You’re really not I mean, I was just thinking, like, this is crazy. How do the years match up with your experience and your age? And you’re clearly still young. One moment before we get into the serious topics today. But you moved here when you’re 16. So did I. But you went to college, and I was just barely surviving high school here. And, you know, may I ask and you didn’t just go to any random university at 16. You went to Stanford. What was that like? What kind of you write about this as well, but I just love to know what kind of track tiger mom track do you have to be on to be at Stanford at the age of 16?
Yeah, you know, I’m a good student. I find many women are, and many Asian American women are because it’s comfortable for us to have the parameters, the guidelines, the learning that if you do X-Y-Z we’ll hit and attain some type of goal. And it starts, I think, with the educational system. If you study hard, if you work hard, if you do your homework, if you hit these particular scores on these particular tests, then you will excel. And even in my high school years, I went to an international high school in New Delhi called the American Embassy School and was a very elite school with a lot of children of diplomats. And I was there because my father worked for Tireways, so we were expats living there. I remember I had my American friends and I had my European friends. And universally it was known that the AP classes, the Advanced Placement classes, were easier. The course with my European classmates, I’m like, I’m going to do the hard things. I think there’s some Asians in that, to like, take the grit, the perseverance, to do the hard path. And I went and did the International Baccalaureate diploma, not just the classes, but the full diploma with a barrage of interviews and questions and community service components and all of that.
And I don’t think I even thought about it. It was the assumption that, of course that was what I was going to do. And that was the kind of cultural values, the lineage values that my parents had put on me with the value of education. For many Asians of a high socioeconomic class, there is the sense that, yes, you do want your children to go to a Western school, whether that’s in America and this is me from my Thai Chinese background. It’s like, whether that is in America, in England, the Oxbridges, or in Australia, because that is perceived as a superior education. And I heard this over and over again when I was interviewing many. Many Asian American women because their parents knew that the traditional. Let’s say the traditional Asian education system and I’m using Asian very broadly. But I’ve heard that consistently through talking with people from China. From India. From Myanmar. Just that there is a sense of the more traditional Asian education system. Which is rope. Memorization. Drills. All of that isn’t going to give our children this is them telling me about their parents isn’t going to give our children the ways to think creatively and strategically as a superior Western educational system.
All right, I’m going off script.
No, not at all. Because what people don’t realize, tootie, is that you and I are like, running between appointments, and sometimes this is what it takes, I think, doing like the stuff that we’re doing now, having a conversation unscripted. I’m so curious about your origin stories in the book you’re working on, and I’ve had the pleasure to be interviewed by you, and you provoked a lot of questions that I really had been thinking about for a long time, didn’t really know how to answer them. It’s quite fascinating. And the reason why I mentioned going live with you so unscripted and in between appointments is because we were really kind of not brought up this way. Everything is very, you know, agenda packed. You have to be completely, utterly, 300% ready before you attempt anything. So this is totally different.
Yeah. And I was a designer. I was trained as a person doing human computer interaction at Stanford, and I worked as a product designer for 22 years. And it’s holding both of those together, which is that the products that we release out into the world, I worked on Facebook Video and Facebook Live. They have to be good, right? I mean, millions of people are going to use them. They have to be good. But yet at the same time, there’s this inherent paradox that in Silicon Valley culture, you got to experiment, you got to move fast, you’ve got to be okay with failure, and you’ve got to be okay with breaking things, and let’s just say Facebook and learn that lesson. So it’s holding the both of those. Like, as a creator, when you make stuff, it’s so hard to share it out into the world, right? Because you’re like, oh, my gosh, it’s my baby. So you want to get it to a certain level, but if it’s too perfect, then it’s too late. You got to learn to put things out messy. And that’s, I think, what you were talking about and what we’re trying to do and unlearn.
Yeah, exactly. Unlearn and relearn. And I know that people are kind of hopping on and off right now. I know it’s a little bit late, 415 PM. Eastern Standard Time, but wherever you are, throw us any questions, we’ll try to acknowledge them, and we love questions, especially live questions and tudi. You know, recently in a conversation with with a friend, I was just balancing all this idea. I just couldn’t help myself to say, hey, everything that I learned in corporate, nearly everything I learned in corporate is wrong for entrepreneurship. And I feel like I felt this urge to say that you come from Facebook, huge corporations that come from marketing consulting, and all the things I learned about knowing, when you’re ready, don’t speak up and have a plan. Have a plan signed up by 18 people. Make sure you please the stakeholders. You know what you’re talking about. All these things just do not apply for entrepreneurship. So given that your experience now as you’ve worked, and you coach cofounders tech leaders and you’ve written books, and could you tell us about what you have learned in that process of being a creator, being an entrepreneur?
Yeah, I’m going to disagree. And part of what I feel is that every single experience we have in our lives is a wonderful, great, big experiment. And if you look at the scientific method, the true purity of the scientific math method, it doesn’t actually matter if the experiment succeeds or fails. It’s more like, I’m going to do this thing and I’m going to see what happens with it. So I hear what you’re saying. You know, I’ve coached people who have had terrible, terrible bosses. And you could walk away from that being like, oh, my gosh, this is terrible. I’m not learning. They’re not helping me. They’re not helping me grow my career. There is nothing that I can do here. But one of the things that I think is most powerful and something that so many of us don’t think about because we’re in the do do checklist, go, go, is we don’t think about mindset and that state of being. And one of the things I think is super powerful is the mindset shift to be in a continual experimentation learning process. Because let’s say you’ve had two years, three years, hopefully not that long, but let’s say you’ve had three years with a really terrible boss, you have a really powerful model to be, well, that’s not me.
I’m not going to leave like that. By interacting with a really terrible boss, you can learn, this is what I want, this is how I want to show up, this is how I want to lead. This is these are the traits that I’m going to take into entrepreneurship because, no, it can’t be as you don’t have a steady paycheck, you don’t have that consistency and guarantee that safety net, if you will. But you know what, as many people in the tech world are seeing, my heart goes out to colleagues at Twitter as many people are seeing. There’s no safety net with being employed by a corporation either. It’s at will employment. And I think there’s a little bit of that mentality shift where you do think and hope that maybe in a corporate job with a steady patient gives you that. But I actually think with entrepreneurship, you hold so much more of the I don’t use the control, but the choices, choices in your own hands. So a little bit of doing versus being mindset shifts where everything is kind of learning experience.
Very true. And even lately I look at my year by month. Every month is different. My peak so far of income, revenue relationship this year probably around, I would say May, June, and something that you couldn’t quite anticipate, like you never quite know exactly how it’s going to work out. But, you know, for me, again, I just want to let especially part of my audience members know the fact that I don’t have kids. I am a caregiver, something I’m really proud of from my mom. Things do come up. There are a lot of appointments and, you know, I’m the sole caretaker giver, and I’m also a translator on top of that. But you tootie, like, I want people to realize that you talk about you living the bubble all the time in the tech industry, but you also are a mother of two young children. You live in San Francisco. So being an entrepreneur actually has quite the different type of requirements. It’s not like I live in Massachusetts which housing is also expensive but for you we’re talking about multiple multitudes or multiple folds of potentially my expenses for you for sure. So how does it impact you and your decisions?
I don’t even know if I’ve mindfully considered that because I think that if I had come from an intellectual frame of mind and made that decision from a cost benefit, logical cost benefit analysis, there is no way that I would have left my corporate job. I was in the middle of a divorce which from a financial perspective means everything is devastated. Cut in half, right? Everything that you thought was unified as part of you and one unit, it’s cut in half. My children are eleven and 14 now and I’m lucky enough to have 50 50 custody of them and have a great coparenting relationship with their dad. But it made zero sense for me to leave the security of a corporate job with a paycheck and health benefits when I was recovering coming out of just the financial instability of a divorce. And yet I don’t even know if it was a choice but it was something that I felt was the right time and I needed to do it. And I even edged because I don’t get me wrong, I am very very lucky and very very entitled. I have the credentials of a Stanford degree and the credentials of having worked at Facebook Oracle Series BMC funded startups from the top VC firms.
I have a pedigree. Thank you tiger mom. Thank you. Years and years of working which means that I would always have the luxury of being able to find another job if I needed to. And I say that with all humility because not everybody has. So I had that years and years of working and following that ladder and network and hard work and connections where I knew that, you know, even if this crazy, crazy thing doesn’t work out I’m going to be okay. And not everybody has that. Not many people of color or immigrants or women all have that.
I had to confront myself as well after reading your two articles for people who are new to our conversation, it’s a long form article, I really love it. My heartache as a model minority and Asian female in San Francisco, the other one on your website, which I highly recommend will post links as well. It’s called Asian privilege. And for that reason, I agree. Earlier today, prior to this I reflected the fact that one of the reasons why I feel comfortable and confident is because I’m also in a very privileged situation, being able to find another job probably easily, but I kind of choose not to. Even picking up several projects because I’m well networked and running a podcast interview over 300 people knowing people like yourself. And I realized I do have to remember that I wasn’t I haven’t always been in this position. Coming to this country at 16, knowing nearly nobody, I was scared all the time. I had to swallow a lot of the things that it was very obvious to me that it wasn’t okay. So I’m so glad that we get to talk about this. I know that it’s also a privilege to be able to talk about this on a public platform.
Not everybody is able to. So Judy, I would love to pivot a bit into some of the points that you made in these articles and your decision. Not just being entrepreneurs, producing, let’s say, very profitable YouTube videos or writing for these brand sponsorships. You chose a niche that may or may not be popular. It could be very sensitive, or some people might even some people might even turn away from. So could you help us understand the path you’re on and why you’re so passionate about it?
Absolutely. And I think for so much of my education and for my career, I thought a lot about my gender and never about my race because I did Stanford computer science classes where I was a handful of women when I worked in tech. Women are the diversity criteria, not Asian Americans, because Asian Americans, at least in Silicon Valley, are about 50 55% representation, depending on which piece of third party research you look at. For the longest time, I never thought about my race. It was always my identity as a woman. I’ve been in a feminist book club for probably twelve years now, and it was always like the lean in as sheryl Sandberg’s. Lean in is like the dad, which is, hey, here’s the way that we do this as women. And it’s only unpacking this in the last two or three years that I realized how much I denied my race because I seemingly wanted to be white. I wanted to be treated like the majority. I married a Caucasian man. My children are mixed race, many of my friends are Caucasian and many of my friends are also Asian. But there is like some of this shame almost, that it’s taken me so long to truly embrace the true intersectionality of this.
Things would happen, but I would brush them off. I remember I live in San Francisco, so supposedly a very liberal progressive, one of the most liberal cities in the US. And I remember my youngest daughter had very, very fair skin, so she looked like a white baby. And when I was on maternity leave, I was at the park taking her around. And I remember another mom kind of just being friendly because, you know, you’re sleep deprived, there’s not a lot going on. You’re looking for any adult social interaction and her having a conversation with me. And we’re talking a little bit about the demeanor of the babies. Do they sleep well? And then after a while, she was like, and do they treat you well? And I’m like, what?
He’s like, well, the parents And I’m like, I’m the fucking baby’s mother. Excuse me. I don’t know how friendly, explicit no.
I understand the anger. Please continue.
But it was basically because I am an Asian woman. I must be the nanny. There is no way that that white baby could be mine. And you would never see that if that was flipped with a white mother and a little Asian baby or a black baby. The assumption would be that the white mother has adopted that baby of color. So all of these instances, and I think so many of the women that I’ve talked to, while there is Asian privilege, there was an excellent article in the New York Times today that I tweeted about, about that, you know, Asian Americans do get some tailwinds, too, because there’s an assumption that we’re going to be smart. And so teachers are going to treat a little Asian American kid so much better that they’re going to treat a little Latino or a little black kid. They just are. Because there is the assumption that, hey, Asian kid, you’re going to work hard and you’re going to be smart. So there are some of these tailwinds that help us. But no matter what, there is still so much racism going on and so many microaggressions. And I was just reading the McKinsey 2022 Women in the Workplace report, which has said that so many women have stopped out of the workplace because of this pervasive microaggressions happening.
And it’s like, I’m done. I’m out. I’m done with corporate. And I get it. And it’s so much worse for intersectionality for women dealing with intersectionality of gender and race, gender and a disability, gender and not being, I don’t know so many things.
Yeah, it’s really interesting because I feel like I only started talking about acknowledging these issues recently. It’s been very hard to open it up because I think also I was thinking, reflecting earlier today, that we all have different ways of approaching this issue. For me, coming from the way I was brought up, my grandparents have always been pretty chaotic, very fingerpointing, very emotional, and very abusive. So I grew up in a place avoiding a lot of confrontations. And so for me, one of the things that I’m really comfortable doing is being a good listener, being people on my show. And if we look back, I remember every time there’s, like, the Asian Pacific Islander month, I always make a point to kind of share these stories out, to promote and highlight these voices and notice, oh, my goodness, I interviewed a lot of Asian Americans on my show. I didn’t realize it. And some people will listen to these stories, will be like, oh, interesting. I never knew this was a thing. I never knew what you guys are going through. And I find storytelling to be very powerful because on one hand, I can never really force people to listen and care for a story if they choose not to.
But the other just kind of checking it out and through a friendly conversation, maybe even learning something unexpected, whether it’s, I don’t know, zoom or YouTube or business, and it happens to be an Asian American who is talking about it. And people kind of just light up and they realize, oh, I never really learned. I never connected. I never feel connected to another Asian person. And now I do. And another way that I’ve approached some of my colleagues is they will come up to me and say, I really want to try dim sum. Could you take me? And I say, you know what? If you go to Chinatown on your own, I bet you’re going to be okay, but I’ll be very happy to be your liaison and chauffeur to introduce you to it. So what are I guess in a way that I want people to listen to this, to realize, hey, we’re not judging you, we’re not criticizing you. What are some of the ways that maybe people can begin to understand and relate to and be helpful or be of value to our cause?
A couple of things. I think that in the aftermath of Black Lives Matter, people have become a lot more educated about what it means to be an antiracist. And I think there’s a lot of fear of being accidentally racist. One of the benefits I have because I have two very woke children and also two very woke nieces in my early 20s is they call me out all the time for being racist. I think we’re all accidentally racist unintentionally because these are the systems and behaviors that we’ve grown up with. So one of the things I don’t want to hold people back is a fear of offending, a fear of saying the wrong thing, a fear of coming off as someone unkind. So the thing I would have people hold on to is really that curiosity. Yes, do your own work, do your education, find someone you know really well and can have some of these open conversations with, but be super curious. Like to your example, someone actually genuinely coming up and say, hey, I’ve always wanted to try dim sum, but I don’t know where to go. You know, if I go into Chinatown, I’m afraid of looking foolish because it’s not my world, it’s somewhere else.
I might not speak the language. It might be really chaotic. Like, that’s me. You could ask the same question with, like, what is this strange food? Can you introduce me to it energy that maybe superior patronizing, that’s like a little bit commanding. Or you can ask the question and have the interaction with genuine curiosity. So I would say for allies, don’t be afraid of offending. It’s worse not to say anything, and it’s worse not to ask the question and to pretend that it’s not happening now. I had the privilege of supporting several groups of Asian Americans at a back in, I think this was March, April and the Spring. They were based in New York City. And if you remember, there were a string of just terrible antiaging hate crimes in New York then. And I was supporting this group of Asian Americans holding listening circles, helping hold space to them, which their company had very generously had the opportunity to support them. And they said some of the worst things was when their colleagues wouldn’t say anything at all and it was business as usual, normal, just, you know, run down the agenda, run down the meetings when like inside they were dying.
They were wondering, can I even get on a subway platform? Yeah, just all of these things. So I think the biggest thing for allies is going to be messy. You’re going to make mistakes, but don’t be afraid to have the conversations and stay curious about it.
I love it. Thank you so much for sharing. And when I was reading your article, I too felt that now in my very late 30s, I’m going to be 40 next year and thinking, yeah, it’s.
Going to be good. I love my 40s.
Exactly. I always tell people in their 20s how much I love being in my thirty s. I mean, literally the best decade yet. And I have to say that really in a way that all these events that you described hurt me now so much more than my twenty s. And there’s kind of an indescribable pain involved. And I agree with you that I remember some of my friends who would text me to say, hey, I don’t know how to say this and this is not okay. And they’re saying, I’m not assuming, but if you’re having a difficult time, please know I’m here, you can call me. So that was really, really kind approach. And then they’re also sometimes I feel like I once opened up to someone I really trust and I thought it was a really good friend of mine and his response was like, why are you overreacting? Why this doesn’t apply to you. Crimes happen everywhere. So I remember how much it hurt me to hear that in a very even going into the conversation, not knowing what he’s going to say, but to hear that was really hurtful. So thank you for breaking it down.
You’re going to say something to the.
No, I was just going to say, oh, that hurts. That is so hard.
Yeah, it was.
And I’m sure that he still thinks about that moment. Yeah, we all have our own self judgment and who knows what he was going through then.
I think so many times when you’re having that conversation, the person on the other end is dealing with their own shit. They’re not truly listening. They’re thinking of the impact of them. Maybe they’re thinking back to other incidents. Yeah, but I bet Him is a good friend. I bet he regrets that.
To the oh, thank you. I remember exactly as a friend, I was like, I don’t think I can talk to that person for a while. And we kind of recover through other conversations and segues. But speaking, which I think I want to acknowledge this because you’re the person I trust, and I know that you’ve done so much research interviewing other Asian women and to actually talk about how to lead and how to succeed. So first I must acknowledge that whenever we used to talk about lead and succeed, that means, oh, Elon Musk, maybe we shouldn’t talk about him, but he’s like, now such a controversial character, and there’s like, the good and the bad in the middle and but also in general, we’re not just talking about money, be the CEO or getting moved up how to climb the corporate ladder. I want your help to more broadly, maybe define help us understand what you mean by lead and succeed as Asian American women.
No, absolutely. You started with Elon Musk as an example, and I think that is a really, really good one because if you were to ask most people genuinely, what does a leader look like? It’s going to be a man. It’s going to be a white man. And this I know the world of Silicon Valley and technology really well, but it’s going to be a visionary leader, someone who’s passionate, someone who’s extroverted, outgoing, can paint the picture and take everyone there. That’s a little bit of a prototype in our collective prototype of this is the imprint of a leader. And I don’t know if there’s good or bad about this is the history of where we are in this country with the weight of decades and generations. And that’s okay. It’s the system that we live within. When I talk to women about what does it mean to lead and succeed as an Asian American woman, I’m going to break it down to a couple of things. First of all, many, many people I talk to and work with and I still make the same mistake equate leadership with management, there is a sense of I’m not a leader.
I don’t manage people. I don’t have a team. I’m not important. So I want to break that down right now, which is I believe that everybody is a leader. I collaborate and do bought leadership with one of my dear friends, Jim Herman, who’s a coach. And we’ve created a Leadership North Star model, which is when I lead, there are kind of four axes to hit this North Star of my leadership. In the center of me, leadership starts with me, which is understanding what lights me up, what energizes me, what are my values, what do I do that I really, really love? And some people don’t know this.
Can take years or decades to figure this out and know it. But you run a bunch of small experiments and you can watch and you can learn, and if you don’t know, you can follow the models. There is a conventional leadership model of climbing up a corporate career ladder and emulating these models of leaders around. You can play with that, it might work for you, it might not. But it’s really kind of moodling on what is leadership for me? And then you express leadership through all the different parts of work that you do. And there are three axes of this North Star. The first is projects. We all have projects and make things for you. Your projects might be your podcast, for someone else, it might be an accountant, it might be financial models and spreadsheets. For a designer, it might be making screens and prototypes, for an engineer, it might be code, for someone else, it might be making presentations. How do you express your leadership and the craft of the work that you make? Because the mistake people make is thinking that their bosses have all the answers. But no, you’re the one closest to the work that you’re doing.
So it’s expressing your leadership. We’re like trusting that because you’ve spent these 8 hours today or these 6 hours today intimately playing with the cells on the spreadsheet because you know what’s happening with it. And so it’s trusting that it’s leadership through the projects and processes you do. Axis of it is people. Leadership is expressed with relationships and the people you interact with. And I found that people starting in their career as individual contributors, you think a lot about the performance, the work that you do, but as you rise up the ground, you spend more time. Leadership is about relationship currency, like the trust, the relationships that you build with people. So think about just your impact on other people. How can you help other people? How can you build relationships with your peers and how can you build relationships with the people above you? That’s the impact in business. A lot of people talk about ROI return on investment. Someone a very long time ago in my one of my coaching communities talked about ROI instead being ripples of impact. What are the ripples of impact you can leave on the people around you?
And then the last facet of leadership is, I call it either at the community or the work level. It’s the legacy. What is it that you can do and leave behind to give back to the greater good, to the greater group of people, whoever it is? Because I think we teach what we most need to learn and it’s through the sharing and giving back of this. Whether it’s a church group, a PTA, you know, your small organization, your small team within your organization, or perhaps it’s greater diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for your bigger company. Perhaps it’s like the building of a community of entrepreneurs. What is it that you give back to this bigger community so that’s a leadership North Star method like these four facets me, the projects that I do, the people that I impact, and then this greater community, I love it definition of leadership. And that’s how I get people to like, go deeper into your leadership.
This is something that I feel like it’s absolutely worth writing an article about and for us to reflect. And something that resonated with me is definitely through what you do. Like for me, creating YouTube videos, creating podcast content, writing on my blog, leadership Express through people relationships, community and legacy. And truly a lot of what I create these days, I’ve been feeling this way since my early 30s is if I’m gone, would I be missed? Who does this impact? Does it what I create make somebody day better? Even just feeling better for ten to 15 minutes? That would do it. It’s simple. I don’t think we need to overthink it all the time, like in terms of monetary sort of accumulations or something. Could it be just simple that we do something like simple gratitude we’re expressing to other people? That maybe would have been enough?
Yeah. And then I realized I didn’t quite talk about the AsianAmerican piece of it because that is one of the central thesis and tenets of my next book that I’m working on right now. You sue, when leadership starts with you, you are not just you. You are your lineage, your cultural values, the way that you’ve been brought up, the way that your parents brought you up, your grandparents brought them, just the whole weight and joy of all these cultural expectations and behaviors. People talk about nature versus nurture, yet all of these behaviors around a culture or a group of people are passed down generationally through epigenetics. It’s finally this being proven what many people knew. And I think when we talk about leadership Starts with you, especially with the super successful Asian American professional women that I’ve interviewed. The title I’ve chosen for my book is Hardworking Rebels. Because these are immigrants who have like a foot in both worlds, a foot in America and a foot in the world that they came from. And what leadership is like for them is merging these traditional values where many actually, I’m not even going to say many every single Asian American woman that I’ve spoken to has talked about that drive, that resilience, that hardworkingness, has hardworking nature.
And I don’t know how much of that is being Asian. I think a lot of it and how much of that is being an immigrant, because I see that as themes from many other immigrant cultures as well, having that hardworking part, but then also having to sometimes turn away and discard lineage values because that’s what you need to do to be successful in a new world, in a new country. In a professional workplace in America. So, for example, many Asian cultures value humility. And there’s a Japanese saying that says if you’re the nail that sticks up, you’re going to get handed down. And there is an immigrant quality too, especially if you’re in undocumented immigrant, where you’re not sneaking up, you’re not standing out. That’s not safe. And yet if we go back to what’s the virtue of a leader, the standard view of a leader, and how corporate America works and how entrepreneurship works, which is you need to have self advocacy. You need to talk about yourself. You need to talk about, if not yourself, a trick, a strategy that’s worked for many women is you talk about your team, you talk about the other women around you.
You talk about the work. You don’t want to talk about yourself, that’s a little scary. But you talk about the work. So it’s finding how you can can talk about the work that you’ve done. One of the women I talked to recently had a brilliant, brilliant quote, which is, you know, if someone who’s brought up as Asian American, it might feel like if you’re talking about yourself, you’re like shouting it from the tops of the wall, that you’re like, bragging and you’re just like yelling, look at me. But there’s no way. Even if you like, turn your braggingness to like a level ten, it’s barely going to hit and register as a level maybe two.
A white man might be doing it. So turn it up.
So how do we turn it up? I love this topic. Self advocacy for Asian American women. Women of color, minority women. I love kind of the we call thought starter, conversation starter. Like, how do you begin to say advocate, promote yourself, your work. How do we start?
First place is about getting right with reality. Who are you? What are you good at? Let’s start with what are you good at? I talked to so many Asian women when I was mentoring them, when I was managing them, where sometimes if you ask someone, what is it that you’re good at? The first answer the question is, oh, here’s what I’m working on. You know, I’m trying to speak up more in meetings. I’m trying to be more confident. But no, what are you good at? That can be a really, really hard question for someone to answer. And there are tools that can help you with it. There are tools like Myers, Briggs or Strengths Finder that can actually pull out your strengths. So that’s where I would start with an understanding of what are your strengths, what are you good at, what is the work you do that is valued? And if you have a supportive manager, supportive colleagues, you can ask them to pull that out. And I’d say the first part of selfadvocacy is believing that you are good at that and learning to trust yourself, that you are good at that. And sometimes that can be really hard.
So that’s where we rely on our community and other people. And this is also where you try to look at the data and the work. A trick and tool that I give to many people is to write it down at the end of each week. Just write down what you’ve done, because we forget. Write it all down and maybe after six months you can look back and you can pull out beams and treads and be like, oh my God, look at all this stuff. Like you were saying, how did you practice? Have a celebration practice, just not taught culturally.
I love what you’re saying this. I would like to add to that as well as I think who you seek feedback from is really important. I think it feels trivial, like the way that we’re brought up. You should know who are your friends, who are your enemies. And sometimes the line’s a little bit blurred and it’s difficult to tell. Sometimes at work, sometimes in one of your articles, you described the way that you thought is the right way to behave at work. Because look at how well it worked out for all these white men, for other people, I should follow this path. I’ve heard that feedback, like people I work specifically telling me, you should do this. You see, this is an example. This is a path to success, which I firmly disagreed with. So I think if you are to seek feedback, go for like a few different people at work, but also, I think, get out of work. Get out of work. Going to join either a small mastermind or going to trusted some trusted family and friends, but also people that you seek out on your own. For me, I feel so privileged to have spoken with 350 people on my podcast.
I always have somebody to go to for different matters. That’s a privilege, by the way. So I always feel like, wow, when I thought I was doing the wrong right, things have all the right answers. Like, in retrospect. I’m so glad now I have a second opinion. So that was fascinating to me, that type of learning.
No, absolutely. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m a coach. Because having my own coaches, I got my first coach maybe 1213 years ago. This is someone who is entirely on your side, in your corner. Someone who works for you, not your company, but someone who works for you in the best of possible coaching relationships. And someone who’s really to put up a mirror to say, well, you know, we’ve been talking about this pattern for a long time. Are you willing to make some changes? Or someone who actually will be like your cheerleader and say, hey, let’s stop for a moment and actually truly celebrate that breakthrough you had in your last leadership meeting where the feedback that you got was phenomenal and you’re not letting yourself celebrate this. This is someone who can help you uncover all these things that are happening. And you can do it as well with a mentor or a personal board of directors that sometimes people are really busy. And there’s something about having a long relationship with someone on your side who’s seen you through all the peaks and valleys of a career that I think is magical.
Right now I have two coaches and I’ve always had something learned about coaching multiple coaches in my life to help me learn and grow on all of these different facets of things I’m looking to improve.
Wow. Interesting that you mentioned two coaches. Do you mind talking about the benefits of having two different people or I don’t know, two or more to go?
I remember once I was speaking with a group of design people turned entrepreneurs. I was like, yeah, I have four coaches right now. And they were all like, what? What is this? So I have a little bit of a passion for learning and growing. So right now, my two coaches are pretty straightforward. One of my coaches is our mutual acquaintance, Dorie Clark. She is coach, really. I work with her to build more of my brand. I very specifically started working with her because I wanted to be published in Harvard Business Review. That happened through a lot of the work and the coaching, and I wanted to amplify and take my business to the next level. And that’s something that she did. And I especially chose her because she was someone whose career I could see it as a model. One of the things that I’ve learned since becoming an entrepreneur and a coach is that I’m a writer. I’m pretty comfortable on video and speaking, but in terms of deeper thought, leadership, and research, I’m a writer. That Hidori Clark is someone who does that, and he does that in her career. That’s one of my two coaches.
The other one of my coaches is a spiritual leader. He’s helping me better understand my intuition, my energy, my capacity, a lot more of trusting myself and just that inner intuitive nature. Two parts of things that I am really working on. Yeah. When I had four coaches, I was working with a relationship coach. My partner and I were working with a relationship coach. And there was something else specifically that I was working on. I can’t remember what it was at this point for like the fourth one, but I typically will have a business coach and then something that I’m working on on the personal side as well. But they almost always overlap and blend for me. Yeah.
Wow, that’s so interesting. I work with a lot of coaches and speakers on their marketing messages, but primarily these days on like, video marketing and how do we purpose their content for social media. But I just love talking, working with speakers, authors, and coaches to kind of distill their message and produce like, a video format so people get to experience to a certain degree who they are, how they you know, how they kind of carry themselves. There’s something like, very intuitive about seeing someone hearing their voices before you make a decision. As opposed to just a landing page with text?
Absolutely. I mean, it’s humans. A landing page with text is one modality, one intellectual modality. When you get to audio and video too, it’s bringing more of the experience alive.
Yeah, so true. So I know that you probably have another.
Yeah, for sure. So I know you’re super busy too. We have five minutes or so left, and I realized that one of the things maybe we can give it as a shout out is we would love to know know you. You might not know when your book gonna come out or be published, but I know right now you’re in this period where you’re trying to connect with successful women, asian American women, but I know that you also interviewed a lot of people. Could you maybe let us know who you’re looking to connect with? What would be the type of people who could?
Yeah. I’m going to have two shout outs, and I think that primarily starting in January, I’m going to be ready to do a lot of speaking because I’ve had a lot of insights and learnings and themes from my book. I want to shift a lot of stereotypes and perceptions, including one stereotype that Asian Americans are good worker bees but bad leaders. So I have about a year’s worth of research and themes and trends to share. So I actually would think that it would greatly benefit many, many Asian Americans in corporations or outside of corporations. I’d love to have to connect with people who want to hear this message and want to bring this message in into the organization. Into their employee resource group. Into their coach community. Who want to hear more about what the Asian American female experience is. How to support it. And how there’s actually commonalities between leading as an other. Leading as a minority. Leading as someone who feels like an outsider that I think is universally applicable to many. Many different groups of people. So that would be the shout out right now.
Love it. It feels to me like this is a necessary addition to what’s common right now in Dei. Like you mentioned your articles, it feels very still, little generic, and it’s not very specific. So what types of organizations, I may ask, would be your primary target? Well, I think many companies would benefit from your teaching, but who are you thinking about going after first?
I mean, I say this to a lot of people that I support. I go with the people who want to listen to this. So honestly, there’s so many Asian Americans in the United States. There is no target. I’ve spoken to many tech organizations. That’s my natural affinity. But I’ve been really surprised to have people come and say, hey, I work for the AARP. Come and talk to us about it. I’ve been surprised to say, hey, I would love to have you come and talk about this in my coaching group and my coaching mastermind. I don’t have anything more specific than that, because everybody understands what’s happening with race and gender, and I think it’s pretty universal to want to have more leadership and more success on our own terms. So fortunately, we don’t have any specific dream targets.
I love it. This is fantastic. And for people who want to connect with you, I just want to remind you guys, wherever you are, there’s a pretty long description, and two D’s website is there, which is Tudi, is it Tigerly? Right? And she’s also on social media, so please do get in touch. I would love to see where this conversation goes, and I just want to take a moment to thank everyone. I think ten or so people are able to hop on during the live broadcast and please check it out. Please do us a favor and share this conversation with one other person or really help us spread the message. And with that said, tody, shall we go offline now?
That sounds wonderful.
Okay, bye bye.
Thank you so much. Bye, everyone.
Thank you. Bye.
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