In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are featuring members and leaders of our APAN (Asian Professionals at Nasdaq) employee resource group (ERG) to learn more about their roles at Nasdaq, the impact they drive every day and how other groups can be allies to the Asian community at large. We spoke with Verai Sewgobind, Executive Assistant the Office of the President, Nasdaq Stock Exchange, about how pride for her heritage was instilled in her by her parents.
Can you please tell us about your role at Nasdaq?
I have been with Nasdaq for over seven and a half years, primarily supporting our President, Nelson Griggs, and other senior executives as needed. Our Corporate Platforms team in New York knows me as the ultimate event planner extraordinaire!
As part of the APAN (Asian Professionals at Nasdaq) network, which APAN event at Nasdaq has been your favorite?
One of my favorite events at Nasdaq was our Holi celebration in 2019. I am so proud of Nasdaq for acknowledging and representing such an auspicious holiday in my culture. Holi represents the arrival of spring, the blossoming of love, and the celebration of life. We had so much fun coming together and filling the air in Time Square with all the beautiful colors of spring. It was a great way of uniting all our colleagues at Nasdaq!
Who in the APAN community would you consider a role model and why?
I could say my parents are my role models, but they are more like my superheroes! They migrated to the United States in the late 60s with big dreams and little pockets. While working several jobs, they simultaneously raised their family and sponsored and financially supported their parents and siblings, allowing them to also migrate to the United States.
During that time my parents also purchased their first home and were living the American dream. They adapted to a new way of life while preserving their customs and beliefs. To this day, they continue to assist their community here, and in their village in Guyana. They taught me that with dedication and hard work anything and everything is achievable. My parents have instilled in me respect for myself, and to always be kind and uplift others.
Beyond my parents, Indra Nooyi is an Indian American businesswomen and leader who I admire. Indra came from a humble background, Madras where my Nanni was born (now Chennai), and became a top leadership role at PepsiCo. She was CEO from 2006-2018. The fifth chairman and CEO in PepsiCo’s 42-year history, Nooyi was the first woman to lead the soft-drink and snack-food giant, and one of only 11 female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies. She also aggressively pursued international expansion. Under her leadership, PepsiCo’s revenues increased from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017.
What does Asian American culture represent to you?
As an Asian American, I am proud to say my culture represents unity, equality and respect for all. My parents were born in Guyana, a country in South America, where families migrated from India, Africa, England, China, Portugal and other various countries. Despite their differences, when they arrived in Guyana, together they formed a community and gained their independence. My culture represents love, strength and resilience.
How does working for a technology company advance collaboration in the AAPI community?
Technology can help people communicate efficiently at a faster rate, no matter the distance between them. In the AAPI community at Nasdaq, our colleagues are all around the world. Communication via teams, email and zoom keep us all in sync.