When you’re raised to believe that giving back to your community is just part of life, Adobe’s value of being involved feels like a great fit. That’s what Gail Tanaka, senior marketing manager, found when she came to work here.
“I’m fourth-generation Japanese American. Helping the community has always been a part of my life,” Gail explained. “Family, community and work just go together.”
Gail is actively involved in San Francisco’s Japantown community—running her own nonprofit organization and serving on the board, as well as supporting other community organizations. Gail’s parents, both teachers, have served as strong role models.
“Because I volunteer a lot, I appreciate Adobe’s generous benefits—such as the Matching Grant program,” she said. “This provides me the opportunity to support local organizations that often have shoestring budgets, and I’m able to donate more than I could on my own.”
Feeling Part of Adobe
Gail works in Adobe’s Global Marketing organization, where she manages engagement marketing for Creative Cloud Winback and Document Cloud, reaching customers and prospects to directly drive units and revenue.
She came to Adobe less than two years ago—her first corporate job after years on the advertising agency side, working for innovative agencies including Digitas and Ogilvy. In fact, she joined the Adobe team with whom she’d worked while at an Omnicom agency.
“I already loved the people, products and company overall, so it was an easy transition,” she noted.
Asian Employee Network
Gail founded the Asian Employee Network (AEN) in San Jose, which formed in February 2016.
“When I thought about the possibility of tying in engagement of our Adobe employees more closely with each other and the Asian American community, I was fortunate to meet Kate Morris, lead, People & Inclusion, who was very supportive. This group is not just for Asian Americans,” Gail emphasized. “Many employees across all cultures attend our events.”
The network has three main goals:
- Driving professional and leadership development of Asians and Asian Americans within Adobe
- Creating networking opportunities to build relationships and enhance career potential
- Raising awareness and engagement of Asian culture and community
In addition to bringing in engaging speakers to talk about professional and leadership development, as well as partnering with other Silicon Valley Asian employee networks, the group hosts cultural events in the San Jose office.
For example, in January AEN sponsored Mochitsuki, the Japanese celebration of the new year, which included pounding rice in a big stone bowl called an Usu to make mochi (rice cakes)—and making a Japanese confection called manjū. Stanford University’s Taiko drumming ensemble entertained Adobe employees during the Mochitsuki.
AEN also celebrated Lunar New Year in February, which included Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese among other Asian heritages.
“These are fun, impactful ways to share our different Asian cultures with everyone at Adobe,” Gail said.
Gail also invited Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, to speak at Adobe last May for AEN’s celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
“He told us something that really resonates with me: When you move up, always reach down and bring someone up with you,” Gail said.
With Gail’s activities both at Adobe and in her community, it seems that this is a philosophy she has readily adopted.
Embracing Our Many Cultures
Gail values the inclusive atmosphere at Adobe that encourages cultural exchange and diversity.
“At previous jobs, I never felt comfortable talking about my culture,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve been able to integrate my Asian American heritage into my work; that’s very liberating, because it opens the door to have conversations with other Adobe employees, and to celebrate and embrace who you are as well as learn about others.”
“I’m passionate about helping others,” she said. “We all have our roles at work, but I believe that we also have a bigger role in the world, too.”
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