Sabrina JiEon Hwang on Creating Space for the Pan-Asian Community
May 31, 2023
NYC-based Global Account Manager Sabrina JiEon Hwang has a passion for community—and her sparkly personality and confident voice make her a perfect fit to lead one.
We recently sat down with Sabrina to hear more about her part in leading Pan Asian Alliance, Publicis Groupe’s new business resource group (BRG) for Pan-Asian identifying colleagues and allies. Sabrina was kind enough to share the harrowing personal experience that drove her to get involved, the group’s mission, and details about their incredible programming.
Sabrina JiEon Hwang, Global Account Manager, CJ
Hi Sabrina! Tell us more about yourself.
Sabrina: Hi! I’m from Korea, born and raised. I came to the US when I was 16 for high school and have lived here ever since. I’m a Global Account Manager at CJ, and I’m responsible for publisher recruitment and growth in the Korea and Japan markets. I was also recently elected as a Co-Lead on the board of Publicis Groupe’s Pan Asian Alliance BRG. As a co-lead, I guide our PAA group to build programming that reflects our values and advocates for our community across Publicis agencies and within the industry.
For folks that may not already know, what’s a BRG and what do they offer CJ and Groupe employees?
Sabrina: Business resources groups are like after-school clubs. Folks with similar interests and passions get together and support one another in a community. BRGs can be whatever you want to make of them. You can simply attend some of the events that are hosted by BRGs for fun, connect with other members and make friends, or get more involved and help with BRG programming.
Tell us more about Pan Asian Alliance! What is it? Who does it serve? What brings you all together?
Sabrina: Pan Asian Alliance (PAA) is a BRG for all Pan-Asian identifying colleagues and allies at Publicis Groupe North America. We have two core pillars we serve: community and education. Through community and education, our mission is to create greater visibility, action, and impact for our well-being and growth. We want to see more recognition and opportunities through our efforts.We want to be the North Star for Pan-Asian folks in our industry—the constant in this ever-changing world, to provide direction and guidance. Through our alliance, we want to be that constant for our community and friends.
What led you to form Pan Asian Alliance?
Sabrina: I was verbally assaulted on the subway in 2021. This hate crime led me to seek a community of folks who I can relate with more. CJ’s CEO, Mayur Kshetramade, heard about my story, offered me comfort, and connected me with Helen Lin, Publicis Groupe’s Global CDO. Helen kindly introduced me to a group of folks who were trying to establish a BRG for AAPI colleagues.
Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing, driven, passionate people who’ve dedicated their efforts to establish what is now Pan Asian Alliance. We all wanted to create a welcoming space that uplifts our community for AAPI visibility and advocacy across all Publicis Groupe agencies.
What’s your favorite part about being part of this group?
Sabrina: My favorite part about being part of PAA is meeting and being empowered by smart, kind-hearted, folks who make me feel understood.
I wouldn’t have imagined becoming a co-lead of such a large community a few years ago. Since joining PAA, I’ve connected with so many folks from all different levels and agencies across Publicis Groupe who look like me or come from similar backgrounds, and that familiarity gives a feeling of comfort and confidence. It also helps that everyone I’ve met through PAA has been so supportive and genuine! I’ve never felt more confident and comfortable being myself at work, and this support is what ultimately led me to run for office on the PAA board this year. I’m so proud to lead such a magnificent community.
What has Pan Asian Alliance done so far and what are you looking forward to?
Sabrina: Pan Asian Alliance has hosted some fantastic programming such as conversations with renowned authors like Eric Kim from NYT Cooking and Cathy Park Hong, the author of Minor Feelings (2021), as well as our “Coffee Chat with C-Suite” series that features intimate interviews with Asian leaders at Publicis Groupe.
This is the first year with an official board for PAA, which means we have more hands and brainpower for even more awesome programming! We have big plans to focus on representing more Asian cultures, exploring intersectional identities among Asians, and making meaningful connections through mentorship and in-person events.
How can CJ’ers and other Groupe employees join or get involved with Pan Asian Alliance?
Sabrina: For our allies, please take the time to join our events or read our content on Marcel! PAA members put a lot of effort into creating events and content and we hope more and more people enjoy them and learn more about our culture! You can follow our PAA Marcel page and watch the past events here.
For our AAPI colleagues, please join our community and share your thoughts and experiences! We’re always in need of volunteers and contributors.
Lastly, I’d like to encourage all Publicis Groupe employees to subscribe to our newsletter via Marcel!