Posted on May 22 2020
May is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month and we thought it would be a great idea to highlight Lucia Liu from Rock The Boat podcast. Lucia created a podcast about Asian Americans who challenge the status quo. As the host she uncovers the triumph and trials of top Asian leaders. Follow along as we find out how she became inspired to launch Rock The Boat.
Ally: Tell us about yourself and Rock The Boat.
Lucia: Rock The Boat is a podcast about Asian Americans who challenge the status quo. Our mission is to elevate the voices of Asian Americans through storytelling. Our key pillars are career development, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and mental health.
The podcast boasts prominent guests like Andrew Yang, Michelle Phan, Kevin Lin (founder of Twitch and Gold House), Adele Lim (screenwriter of Crazy Rich Asians), Patrick Lee (founder of Rotten Tomatoes) and more.
To create a greater sense of community amongst Asian American change makers, Rock The Boat also has a 1000+ strong community and we run programming around career success, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and mental health.
Ally: What inspired you to start Rock The Boat?
Lucia: I conceived of the idea of Rock The Boat when I was working on my chocolate business Lululosophy. At the time, it was very difficult to find a community of Asian American entrepreneurs. Furthermore, it was hard to find career development content that took into account my Asian upbringing and values. 5 years after the idea, I partnered up with my then Cofounder Lynne Guey (she has moved on from the podcast to pursue public policy) to finally launch Rock The Boat. What started out as a series of discussions around careers quickly turned into something more. We realized the community was hungry for Asian American stories and hungry to connect with one another.
Soon, Rock The Boat developed into a platform and community that brought together like-minded Asian Americans who want to be movers, shakers, and change-makers.
Ally: May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, what's your favorite Asian history month fact?
Lucia: May is also Mental Health Awareness Month. Studies have shown that 17.30 percent overall lifetime rate of any psychiatric disorder and a 9.19 percent 12-month rate, yet Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek mental health services than Whites (source). It’s a fact that there’s a stigma in the community to talk about mental health issues or to show our vulnerabilities. As a culture, we are also taught not to overly focus on our emotions. There’s also a lack of access to mental health professionals due to the high cost of care. In addition, there are very few Asian
However, if you think about it, mental wellbeing is a cornerstone for all the things we want to accomplish as a community whether it is to break the bamboo ceiling, encourage more civic engagement, or start our own companies.
Especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, community, mental health, and well being is more important than ever. That’s why for the month of May, Rock The Boat is hosting On The Same Boat Series, a mental health series led by Asian American mental health professionals around various COVID related topics. Some of the topics include Managing Boundaries, Managing Burnout, Dealing With Asian Parents, Understanding Emotional Triggers etc.
We are half-way through our series and have seen tremendous interest and support from the community!
Ally: You've had some pretty amazing guests on and have had some awesome candid conversations, have all of your guests found out about you organically? How do you share and spread the word?
Lucia: 90% of the guests on Rock The Boat are referrals from past guests or warm intros from people in my network. I take this to mean that speaking on Rock The Boat is a high quality experience and that we create a high quality end product.
Ally: What do you believe is the secret sauce to building a community?
Unfortunately, I don’t really think there’s a secret sauce to community building. It’s a series of small steps from offering great content, to offering access to great guests speakers, to enabling people within the community to connect with one another, to hosting and facilitating impactful events. All of these ingredients factor into a good sauce base to start. Then, it really depends on the mission of the community, its individual members, and the platform that you give your members.
What I love the most about Community is that you’re able to meet people from all walks of life who inspire you, with whom you can partner with, or who can support you. Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to connect and I hope Rock The Boat can be a great place for Asian American entrepreneurs, leaders, movers and shakers to learn, connect, and create!