Friday, October 28 is National Immigrants Day in the U.S., which gives us the opportunity to reflect on the stories and contributions of all immigrants. To honor the day, we spoke with U Krewer Mimi S., a product management business analyst, about her multicultural background and the challenges she faced adjusting to a new home.
Where were you born? I was born in Russia. My mom’s side is half Russian/half Spanish and my dad’s side is German. My grandparents live in Madrid. When I was 7, my family and I immigrated to the U.S. (Washington D.C.).
Tell us about when you arrived in the U.S. I was put into ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). Even though Washington, D.C., is a huge melting pot and booming with diversity, I had to overcome culture shock and adjust to new norms while trying to fit in and learn the language. Kids can be cruel, and I was bullied because I “talked funny” or didn’t have the latest clothes.
How did this adversity affect you? Because of this, I know what it’s like to be excluded. I know that feeling of going outside your comfort zone to make friends but being rejected. That feeling stays in the pit of your stomach. However, it taught me to be friends with the people in the same situation as me, such as the different cultural and diverse groups that were in my ESOL class. It also taught me to become an ally and advocate for anyone that has ever felt that feeling in their stomach of being excluded. Inclusivity is everything—be the ally and the voice for everyone. I am most proud of how my own experience shaped me into the person I am today.
My experience taught me to become an ally and advocate for anyone that has ever felt that feeling in their stomach of being excluded. Inclusivity is everything—be the ally and the voice for everyone.
What would you like people to know about your culture? I love traveling to different countries and immersing myself in their cultures. Because of its history, Spain can be looped in with other European countries, but Spain is very different. Keep an open mind and don’t judge a country based on bias, history, or “things you’ve heard.” Try to understand the individual. You might be surprised at what you learn and what similarities you share.
How has UKG made you feel like you belong? When I first started at UKG, I felt an instant connection. It felt like family and people were eager to meet me and learn about my background. There was a general feeling of warmth and welcome at every meeting. One of my first calls for an employee resource group focused on promoting inclusivity and being invited. A lot of people shared their stories, and I was able to connect with them right away. Even though some stories of inclusivity focused on those who encountered a form of racism or exclusion rather than on the immigration experience, it was still clear to me that we all knew that feeling in the pit of our stomachs. We all had the passion of allyship and advocacy for helping others go through it.
Interested in joining the U Krew? Explore careers at UKG.
Learn more about UKG’s employee resource groups (ERGs).
Find out how UKG is building an inclusive environment for all people.
Check out this guide for ideas on how to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization at work.