Skip to main content

Search Jobs

Connecting Cultures and Fostering Inclusion at Schwab.  

By: Chelsey S., Sr Manager, Communications

Mary W. learned that sharing more of herself and her culture created more opportunity for her. It’s what led her to start the newest chapter of APINS in St. Louis.

Mary W. describes her arrival to the United States in the most American way—through baseball:

"It was October 2004, and the Cardinals were playing the Red Sox in the World Series. That’s when my husband got a job in St. Louis, and we moved here from China. Unfortunately, the Cardinals lost."

The Cardinals eventually won the World Series two years later, and three years after that, in 2009, Mary started a job at Scottrade, which led her to Ameritrade, and now Schwab.

It’s been nearly 15 years since she started her career, where she currently works in Supervision & Controls. At first, Mary didn’t venture outside of her team much.

“I heard about employee resource groups (ERGs), but I never thought they related to me,” she says.

But a couple of years ago she started to get involved in activities around campus, and she realized that they created an opportunity to build a network and provide a platform to present and share. So when she was asked to put something together for Lunar New Year she jumped at the opportunity.

In 2023, under Mary’s leadership, over 200 St. Louis employees celebrated their first Lunar New Year together with a display of cultural costumes, traditional food, Chinese calligraphy, and a dragon borrowed from the Chinese language school. It was a huge success.

“After that I said, okay, since we have an Asian population here and we don’t have an APINs ERG, why don’t we launch one?”

And she did just that. She launched Schwab’s newest chapter of the Asian Professionals Inclusion Network at Schwab (APINS) a few months later. In their first partial year, the group had five events including a Diwali celebration, an International Passport Day with tables representing 11 different countries, and they even had an employee-powered dragon boat in the Gateway Dragon Boat Festival, where they placed 2nd in their division and 7th overall out of 30 teams. You might say the St. Louis APINS ERG literally came out of the gate running…or paddling.

Connecting Culture and Business

“We aim to be inclusive,” says Mary, of APINS. “We want others to join us so we can introduce Asian cultures.”

In fact, the importance of representing culture is one of the things that Mary has learned since starting the ERG.

“You could just say, hello, how is your day and smile and nod your head. Or instead, you could speak up and say, I’m from Asia, here’s my culture here’s the things I’d like to share with you… the food… the personality… And that will have more of an impact on people, and that will allow the people around you to get to know you well,” she says.

Since Mary has taken a more active role in sharing, she’s been approached by different business units to share more about her herself and her work. She’s been able to utilize APINS as a bridge to connect the business to culture, and as a result, she’s found so much more enrichment at work.