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Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

Tippy D. (She/Her) - Director, Human Resources (HR), Taco Bell Corp.

The month of May celebrates Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. AANHPI is a wide-ranging term used to describe all cultures across the continent of Asia and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia – representing approximately 50 ethnic groups and 100 languages.

This month was specifically chosen to honor the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. (May 1843), as well as to acknowledge the tremendous contribution Chinese immigrants made in completing the transcontinental railroad (May 1869).

With this year's monthly theme of “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation,” we hope to elevate visionaries and trailblazers who continue to shape the AANHPI legacy at The Bell.


“A fun fact is that I get to celebrate three New Years; American New Year in January, Chinese New Year in February, and Thai New Year in April.”

Tippy is a first-generation Chinese and Thai American who grew up in L.A. Like many Asian American families, education and hard work became Tippy’s priorities at a young age.

“Growing up with a single Asian mother, I found myself focusing on education as a ticket to greater opportunities. When I wasn’t busy studying at school, I was helping my mother with her salon, restocking shelves and washing customers’ hair. For me, being Asian meant that family and education together kept you on path to a better future.”

Being a daughter of an immigrant mother meant Tippy had to figure out the ins and outs of getting in to and going to college all by herself. Fortunately, she had amazing teachers and mentors who guided her along the way. Throughout high school and college, she also found herself repeatedly taking on the role of peer counselor, but it wasn’t until a post-college conversation with an old friend that made her realize her calling was HR.

“I always thought HR was just managing payroll and regular office stuff. It was my mentor who told me that my love for helping people get access to information or being someone who could steer peers in the right direction was an HR function.”

Thus, Tippy embarked on her career journey in HR! From Disney to NBCUniversal to Panda Express, Tippy worked in various HR roles on projects such as mergers and acquisitions. Soon after, she found her way to Taco Bell, where she currently leads Taco Bell’s HR Business Partners. Since joining, Tippy has continued to pursue her passion of helping others inside and outside of her role. Recently, she joined Girls Inc. Orange County for one of Santa Ana College’s Development Days, providing high-school girls with workplace experiences on a variety of subjects such as resumes, interviewing, networking and more.

“I relate to the community of first-generation Americans who have working-class parents and don’t know how to navigate the corporate setting, because I was that same girl. My mother could barely read English, so I didn’t have the privilege of having parents who could speak the language and know the college process in the United States. I see myself in those teens facing the same language and educational barriers, which is why I want to help as much as I can.”

Now a mother herself, Tippy shares her cultural heritage with her daughter.

“Kids that are my daughter’s age love pizza, but for her, it’ll be the traditional egg omelet from my childhood that I’ve introduced her to. This just goes to show that food is a great way to create a cultural connection.”

Tippy would love to see the future generations who identify with AANHPI community be authentic and comfortable using their voice.

“As Asian Americans, being comfortable with the unique perspective you bring to those around us, but authentic to share and talk about challenges and struggles to grow.”

Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month
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