AANHPI Heritage Month
At Taco Bell, we empower our teams to be fearless, embrace difference and drive change. We believe that each one of us has a story to tell.
The month of May celebrates Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. 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).
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. There is incredible depth and richness of diversity found within the AANHPI community, and this month is devoted to recognizing and elevating their cultural influence.
To honor and celebrate this month and the AANHPI community at The Bell, we will share their stories every week in the month of May in hopes that they not only educate but inspire you to drive positive and intentional impact within your community.
Throughout the year, we will continue sharing the incredible stories of our Taco Bell teams; the sharing and celebration doesn’t stop here.
Pragna P. – Area Coach, Taco Bell Corp
Pragna had always strived to pursue her dreams, and in 2010, she began her search for a job in hopes of achieving success – wherever she went. While her search was difficult, Pragna overcame these obstacles and eventually produced a flourishing career.
But how did it happen? Well, through countless job applications, she got an interview at her local Taco Bell. The Restaurant General Manager (RGM) at the time, Bryon, as well as her other mentor, Parabhjeet, saw something in Pragna, that she herself had yet to discover, and encouraged her to demonstrate this passion and perseverance in her new role. It wasn’t easy for Pragna to lean in, but once she did, she too saw what they saw in her and was grateful for the guidance and trust they provided.
Through their guidance and Pragna’s skills, she was able to become an Area Coach and support a larger team than she could have ever imagined. There is no doubt that she has made her mentors proud – by not only climbing up the ladder, but also utilizing the lessons Bryon and Parabhjeet taught her. “I always wanted to be as successful as my mentors, so I followed in their footsteps. I am where I am today because I had good mentors and I was ready to work,” she said.
Being a good mentor and having a great work ethic is only one side of the coin. Coming from a large family, Pragna knew how different every single one of us can be. Each one of her family members or friends is different in personality, has experienced different things – the list goes on – and that’s where the other side of being a leader comes in. Early on, she was able to learn to adapt to different situations. This knowledge allowed her to be open-minded to everyone she meets and learn from them.
So, for her, a month like AANHPI Heritage Month is a time to take stock of what you’ve learned, learn some more, and celebrate diverse communities and all their differences.
“I have a great appreciation for diversity and respect for every individual,” she said. “As a woman of color, I can encourage others to do the same... one of the ways we can do this today is supporting the Taco Bell Foundation where the goal is to provide more opportunities especially for [young people].”
After 13 years at The Bell®, Pragna can proudly say that she works at a place where she feels like she’s part of a community that accepts and celebrates her culture and can freely interact with people from different backgrounds. And that’s why equality is something that Pragna practices every day – she knows that her team and peers need to have a safe space where they can be themselves, and that’s Taco Bell.
As a leader, she wants her team to freely express their culture, feel like they belong and are motivated day-in and day-out. She believes that this is why she is successful today and wants to, “... motivate others within the organization and remind them that perseverance is the key to success.” And if you keep your eye on the ball, persevere and lean into all that Taco Bell has to offer, you too can achieve your dreams – just like Pragna.