My name is Chadwick Eason and I am one of the co-founders of NABEA.
I am a project manager and have spent the past five years working in East Asia. Uprooting my life and moving to Asia presented its own unique challenges but I am a part of NABEA today because I believe more young black students should do the same.
When people ask me how I began a career path so entangled with Asia, I always respond by saying that “Leaning into my interests yielded unexpected opportunities.”
For me those interests first manifested themselves in the form of watching Japanese cartoons as a child, but seeing as I did not have the means to take action at that age I seized the opportunity to study Japanese my first year at Harvard. I followed Freshman year and Sophomore year with back-to-back summers in Shanghai attending a renewable energy conference and interning with an enterprise software provider, respectively. At school I found myself increasingly enrolling in classes about East Asia and ultimately graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a secondary field of East Asian Studies.
I took a leap of faith and moved to South Korea immediately after graduating college to begin my career at Samsung Electronics. I worked cross-functionally and cross-culturally as a project manager creating digital marketing content and as a product planner researching security software. Additionally, I volunteered as a change management consultant at HLAB, an education non-profit organization based in Tokyo.
When I first traveled to Asia, it was admittedly difficult to adjust. I saw very few people who looked like me and struggled with my identity for an entire summer. I am open about this to say that living in a different country, particularly one less diverse than the US, has its challenges but because of the experience I learned more about myself and broadened my way of thinking. Of course it helped that I had a base level of interest, but if you find yourself reading this and thinking “I have the perseverance to lean into my interests,” why not take the leap yourself?
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