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Inspirational Quotes in Honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Month

Indra Nooyi PepsiCo CEO

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PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is an advocate for science and technical education.

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, to honor the rich history and accomplishments of AAPIs throughout the history of the United States. AARP is proud to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with articles that showcase AAPI accomplishments and culture. 

In the second article of our series, we revisit some of the most inspirational quotes from well-known Asian Americans.

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education:

“One of the things that my experience has taught me is that if you are trained as a scientist in your youth — through your high school and college — if you stay with the STEM disciplines, you can learn pretty much all of the subjects as you move along in life. And your scientific disciplines play a very important role, and ground you very well as you move into positions of higher and higher authority, whatever the job is. It’s very hard to learn science later on in life. One of the pleas I would have for most young people today is, ‘stay with STEM as long as you can.’ ” 

Chef Martin Yan on if he'll retire:

"People always say, why don’t you retire? If I enjoy what I’m doing, why should I retire? I went to see Lionel Richie. This guy is about 70 years old. Still singing and jumping around! All these entertainers and actors and Supreme Court justices. If you feel that you’re making a contribution and enjoy what you do, why retire?"

entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki

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Entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki believes in promoting diversity in the workplace.

Tech guru Guy Kawasaki on entrepreneurs who fell into the trap of hiring people just like them:

“I think that leads to weakness. We need different genders, ethnicity, sexual orientation, races, creeds, colors ... you name it. Instead, hire to complement. If you’re good at engineering, hire someone who can sell. If you’re good for selling, hire someone who can make the product.”

Broadcast journalist Ann Curry on her 2012 exit from NBC's Today show:

"I'm not going to say it wasn't hard. But I had to let go. And I learned that when you not only let go, but open your arms wide and learn the lessons, that an experience — no matter how bad — can teach you. That's when you rise."

Playwright David Henry Hwang on advice he would give to young playwrights:

“It’s important to hear your work and see your work. It’s important to stage it. Nobody knows if it’s going to be successful, so you might as well write what you believe in.”

Sculptor Maya Lin on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial:

"It is not a memorial to politics, war or controversy," Lin said, her voice cracking with emotion, "but to all the men and women who served. It leaves the individual with the freedom of reflection and contemplation, where he is at once part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a part of our memorialized history."

Family caregiver and retired Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba on caregiving:

“I want to raise awareness about family caregiving. The Asian community — regardless of ethnicity — is very quiet about it. We don't expose our family issues. We tend to be a bit more private about that until there's a crisis. It's not a common topic around the dinner table to ask, 'Hey, Mom and Dad. What's your plan for your health after you retire?' We tend to not dwell on the caregiving part — quitting our jobs, caring for our parents.”

Fashion designer Vera Wang

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Fashion designer Vera Wang was also a figure skater.

Fashion designer and former figure skater Vera Wang on fashion designed for women’s bodies: 

“All those years of skating and dancing have carried over. I can't design anything without thinking of how a woman's body will look and move when she's wearing it.”

Actor Tamlyn Tomita on identity:

“I was born in Okinawa, but on a U.S. Army base. And my father is Japanese American which means that he is second generation. But my mom was born in the Philippines and raised in Okinawa. So, how do you know where you are generationally from? I can claim all three legitimately, but I like to say that I am third-generation American.”

More on AAPI Heritage Month

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