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ABASD Bestows ‘Excellence in Equity’ Award: T-Mobile Extending Services into the AAPI Community

T-Mobile U.S. has been fighting the good fight for equity as part of the company’s nationally recognized diversity initiatives, initiatives T-Mobile stepped up after its acquisition of Sprint in 2020.

Early on, after the merger allowed T-Mobile to become the country’s second-largest wireless carrier in the United States, the company filed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Communications Commission with plans to create initiatives to improve diversity.

Included in those plans for diversity were the areas of corporate governance, workforce recruitment and retention, and procurement and entrepreneurship.

Within a year – and during the height of the pandemic – the Asian Business Association of San Diego partnered with T-Mobile in 2021 to fully fund a study by the ABASD that examined the Asian American Pacific Islander business community in the San Diego region and the impact the pandemic was having on their well-being.

ABASD gala host and emcee Lee Ann Kim said that the results from that study are helping “to better shape how ABA is able to deliver its services as a small business development center.”

For T-Mobile’s part in working toward a better future for businesses in the AAPI community in the San Diego region, ABASD awarded its Excellence in Equity award to T-Mobile.

Founded in 1990, ABASD represents the interests of more than 30,000 Asian Pacific Islander-owned businesses in San Diego County.

Julian Canete
President and CEO
California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce

The award was presented to T-Mobile and accepted by California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Julian Canete – the former director of public policy and strategic partnerships for the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and who serves on T-Mobile’s California Diversity Council — at the ABASD’s gala on May 19 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

“One thing as chairman of CDC we are proud of the work that (T-Mobile has) done,” Canete said. “And they have only been successful in supporting organizations like ABA because of what ABA and (ABASD President and CEO Jason Paguio), who sits on our council, gives back to them. And T-Mobile’s achievements have all been because of the input that we receive from ABASD through Jason and others on that council.”

Kim said that the T-Mobile funded study discovered that 1 in 10 AAPI businesses in 2021 reported dealing with discrimination or hate. It showed a need for education for business owners to learn how to report incidents of hate and how to reach out to resources that would be culturally tailored to them.

“The study was so successful that not only has T-Mobile committed to statewide study for AAPI-owned businesses and committed to doing this over three years but ABA is now working with AAPI data to dig even deeper to produce the study,” Kim said.

Canete said that T-Mobile does more than “walk the walk.”

“Now over the past couple of years as they moved in and purchased Sprint throughout the nation, they are not only helping small businesses, but creating jobs for our diverse communities throughout Californa as well,” he said. “I’m proud to be able to chair our council as well as serve there with Jason. On behalf of T-Mobile, they are very proud of the ABA and support their efforts.”

Paguio referred to the survey and said that it was done to better understand the impact of AAPI businesses on the region and to find out what their biggest needs are.

He said there are more than 9,100 Asian and Pacific Islander businesses in the San Diego region as well as more than 24,000 self-employed AAPI residents in San Diego County. The study showed that the businesses create more than 90,000 jobs and have a $5 billion impact to the region.

T-Mobile itself produced a corporate responsibility report in 2021 that tackled the subject of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The corporate report said that the company’s workforce – heralding 60% of T-Mobile employees as people of color — reflects the communities it serves and positions T-Mobile to deliver incredible experiences for its customers. Following its merger with Sprint, T-Mobile launched a five-year Equity In Action plan.

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