What does being a member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community mean to you?

Anthony Garcia: It means a lot. I am very proud to be a part of this community. My mom is Filipino so I was raised around the Asian American culture. Seeing how hard my mom worked as a single mother really influenced my work ethic. I value her example as a hard worker and how she serves the community. To me, being a member of the AAPI community also means continuing to learn about different heritages in the community.

 

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career thus far?

AG: I feel like I am living my most rewarding moment now. Beyond working full-time for Tyson & Mendes, my cousin and I started our own company in 2019. We now have the #1 hat cleaner company in the world, Crown Kleen™. Being a part of the Tyson & Mendes workforce has been a blessing to me. Being in the legal field, we did all the legal background before launching our business, we patented our idea, got the trademark, and then built our foundation. It’s been really exciting getting to see our business grow so quickly and thrive. I’m still not used to being recognized on the street from our product launches or swap meets though!

While I am working within two careers, I make sure to prioritize my family. I have two daughters who are four and five years old, and an amazing wife. I work very hard in everything I do to put my family in a comfortable position where they have everything they need. I am really blessed with the opportunities I have and the position I am currently in. Hard work pays off, and I am seeing this now.

 

Any advice you wish you had given yourself prior to beginning your career?

AG: If I could go back in time, I would build more relationships with people and make sure to strengthen the connections I made from the beginning.

 

Is there anything you wish your work community knew about the AAPI community and culture?

AG: I think board members and people in positions of power should reach out to the community more. We are experiencing rough times, and we are seeing this everywhere. It’s really tough for me to see this stuff. I think people need to be more vocal about the violence and injustice that is going on. You can’t just do one thing and expect it to be enough, you have to keep going. If you want to be known for being inclusive and diverse, you have to keep doing what you are known for! Don’t stop.

 

How do you maintain a balance between your two full-time careers and personal life?

AG: Being half Filipino and half American, I’m dealing with aspects from different cultures. So when people see me, they don’t necessarily know what to expect. I like to engage customers and give them background into who I am as a person, a lot of which comes from my heritage as a member of the AAPI community. I always tell my story. I started working when I was 13 years old. My mom was a single mother. After she divorced my real dad, I was the one bringing home the groceries to my mom’s apartment. We grew up in Oceanside, and my mom worked two jobs as a nurse. I went to a local liquor store one day and asked if they were hiring. The owner was taken aback, and at first said they couldn’t hire me because I was only 13. Then he suggested I could stock the shelves with fruit, sodas, stuff like that. I worked there for two years and always brought groceries home. My mom eventually started wondering if I was taking everything from the store without them knowing. I assured her I wasn’t, but we drove to the liquor store and my mom asked, “Hey, sir! Is my son working for you?” The gentleman, Ron, responded “Yes, ma’am, your son came in asking for a job.” My mom broke down immediately and cried—she couldn’t believe I was doing this for our family. This is the story I tell clients, what I tell my kids, too—you have to work hard for what you have.

 

Do you have any family traditions you would like to share?

AG: My daughter just started kindergarten—she’s super smart, just like her mom. We like to take the little ones to the park, and the girls love it. We try to get outside as a family when we can. My five-year-old is more of an outdoorswoman than anything—she loves seeing the trees, birds, and taking in nature. Her birthday is coming up, and we are planning a camping trip for her!

 

Are there any additional initiatives, actions, or resources you wish Tyson & Mendes would provide to employees?

AG: To me, the [Employee Resource] groups (“ERGs”) are a great start. It’s difficult with the pandemic of course, but ideally, I would like to see people meet in the Tyson & Mendes ERGs, and then take that as an opportunity to go somewhere with new people and experience a different culture and environment together.

 

What would you want your work community to know about the AAPI community and culture?

AG: To me, I think it would be most valuable for people to experience different environments. I would want people to go out and experience different cultures for themselves, not just see it on television and social media. To go out in a new environment and gain new perspectives, that is the icing on the cake. It would be a huge benefit in my eyes for people to know where other people and groups come from and to experience that from their own communities.

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