Uniting cultures through shared experiences
Lu Stone, a first-generation Chinese immigrant, shares her journey and talks about how she continues to learn and help others in her community.
By Chelsey Sleator, Senior Manager, Communications
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month—an opportunity to celebrate cultures and traditions and highlight AAPI voices and experiences at Schwab.
Lu Stone is a Financial Consultant in Newport Beach, CA, who recently celebrated her one-year anniversary at Schwab. Lu’s story is representative of the personal evolution many immigrants may experience. She describes her journey as identifying as Chinese, creating an identity as an American, and finally to understanding what it is like to be a Chinese American.
As a first-generation immigrant, Lu moved from China to Denver, CO in 2002 as a sophomore in high school. “I was the only one who spoke Chinese at my school,” explains Lu. “It provided me with the opportunity to learn English and immerse myself in American culture.”
However, Lu always knew she wanted to be in a more diverse community. When she moved to Irvine, CA in 2018, she experienced living in a community with other immigrants for the first time.
“It was interesting living in an area where people had diverse cultural backgrounds, and by interacting with fellow immigrants, I was able to relearn the importance of being Asian in America, but most importantly what it means to be Asian American.”
After working at several other financial firms, Lu landed at Schwab and found that creating connections with colleagues of similar backgrounds through employee resource groups like Asian Professionals Inclusion Network at Schwab (APINS) or one-on-one connections with her peers, helped her feel supported. And she continued to expand her cultural presence at work.
“My unique background has helped me in so many ways, such as interacting with clients,” explained Lu. “Not only do I speak Chinese, but I am able to connect with these clients on a deeper level since we share similar backgrounds. I have learned a lot from some of my clients who are recent Chinese immigrants, including their perspective on how China has changed in the 20 years since I’ve lived there. And sharing my journey to the States has fostered a sense of comradery and trust.”
While Lu may be reluctant to admit it (explaining that humility is part of her upbringing and culture) she impacts her community through a non-profit she co-founded called the Southern California Chinese Association. The organization helps immigrants navigate things that may be challenging for them, such as applying to college, writing resumes, or even understanding that there are non-prescription drugs available at pharmacies, if needed.
“Adapting to a new culture can be overwhelming to those who do not speak the language,” she explains. “I want to be able to tell my story and help others to have more of a direct path to finding success.”
Reflecting on AAPI Heritage Month, Lu hopes this serves as an opportunity to expand and share her culture, while also uniting and sharing experiences.
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