Editor’s Note: Best Buy is proud to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Read on for the stories of three of our employees. (Photo Credits, from left above: McKenna Walker, Gayathri Ramadoss, and Sasha Thomson)
Regardless of the job title, good leadership often comes down to building strong relationships and being an advocate for others.
Cheng Yang, Vidhya Subramanian and Scott Nishimura are three of our leaders who demonstrate this every day. Get to know them and discover how they lean on their cultural and personal experiences to support others at and outside of Best Buy.
Cheng Yang, Experience Manager (Roseville, Minnesota)
If there’s one thing that Cheng Yang is clear about, it’s his passion to help others grow their careers.
“My biggest thing is to help others see the things they can do, to find their hidden talents,” Cheng said.
Cheng is first-generation Hmong American and grew up in Blaine, Minnesota, with his two brothers and parents. He started his Best Buy career in 2005 and held several roles until leaving the company in 2012. He returned to Best Buy in 2019 and worked his way up to an experience manager at Store 7 in Roseville, Minnesota, where he supports a positive customer experience by building relationships.
“I was on cloud nine being back,” he said.
Because of his experience at Best Buy and other companies, Cheng felt prepared to take on this new role and encourage employees to reach their goals — just like his mentors did for him. He shares stories about his culture and career path to build connections with his team, and he helps employees to pursue their passions.
Outside of work, Cheng stays connected to the Hmong community through music. Learning cultural music taught him to speak his native language more fluently and feel more included in the Hmong community.
He also co-hosts a podcast, Modern Hmong Men. It covers topics like mental health, dating and current events through the lens of the Minnesota Hmong experience.
“I want to be a voice for other people who maybe haven’t found their voice in the community,” he said.
As he leans into his calling to help others, he also wants to keep his culture at the center of everything he does.
“For me it’s taking pride in who you are and where you come from. To be a good leader, I’ve got to uphold my culture as best I can,” he said.
Vidhya Subramanian, Associate Director of Accessibility and Design Operations (Seattle, Washington)
When it comes to making our digital and retail stores more accessible, Vidhya Subramanian is paving the way at Best Buy.
She leads the team working to ensure our customer and employee experiences are inclusive and partners with our stores to uphold the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes partnering with our store teams to provide scooters for customers with mobility disabilities, making product pick-up lockers wheelchair accessible, and creating tools to support people with visual impairments.
“We are advocates for our customers with disabilities,” she said.
In 1999, Vidhya and her husband moved from Chennai, India, to the U.S. for work. As she pursued her career in software engineering, she came across various accessibility initiatives and recognized the need to get more involved. Vidhya landed her first accessibility role, and quickly developed a passion for the work.
“Anytime someone asked for accessibility resources I would raise my hand to help,” she said.
When she’s not at work, Vidhya regularly volunteers with organizations focused on accessibility for blind and low-vision people. She’s also passionate about sharing her Indian culture and traditions, such as Navrathri, a nine-day doll festival, with her children and the greater community.
“I want to pass on my traditions and values on to my family and share my culture with my neighbors,” she said.
Whether it’s at Best Buy or in her community, Vidhya wants to be part of creating a more inclusive world.
“If you can find a job where it doesn’t feel like a job, then it’s fun,” she said. “I’m having fun and doing what I love.”
Scott Nishimura, Inventory Control Manager (Goodyear, Arizona)
Scott Nishimura has seen the power of relationships both in his career and personal life. With the support of mentors and leaders, he’s developed skills that have helped him become a better manager and create spaces where others feel welcomed.
“One thing that has helped me is staying people-focused,” said Scott, who grew up as a fourth-generation Asian American in Pasadena, California.
He learned early on from his family about the importance of relationships and cultural pride. Scott remembers his grandparents sharing stories about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The internment camps were a difficult chapter in history, but the stories Scott heard were about overcoming challenges and being resilient. They’re an important part of the fabric of his family — and that of his tight-knit community in California.
Throughout his career, Scott has continued to use the values from his community to build strong connections. He often will bond with colleagues over personal stories about his mixed Japanese, Chinese and Korean heritage.
“People are naturally curious. So, it’s nice to teach people about my culture,” Scott said.
He leads with a people-first mindset to build trust with his team.
“Taking the time to develop a strong relationship with everyone on my team has been a crucial part of my leadership style,” Scott said.
Scotts wants to be remembered as a leader who respected everyone and always did his best to treat others fairly. Because of the support from his mentors and the success he’s found in his career, Scott wants to pass on these lessons.
“I want to help others implement a plan of action [for their careers], so they can be successful in the end,” he said.
Click here to visit our Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month landing page on BestBuy.com.