A Q&A with HR professional, Filipino-American Katie Apolinario

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Katie Apolinario

Courtesy of Katie Apolinario

Katie Apolinario, is an Asian-American-identified leadership development analyst for the Virginia-based hospitality company Hilton. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, Asian American women are the closest demographic to bridging the wage gap with white men.

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, Asian-American women are the closest demographic to bridging the wage gap with white men — an even narrower gap than that of white women.

The study found that Asian women make 87 cents for every dollar white men make, compared to 82 cents for white women.

Some of this monetary success can be attributed to education. According to the Institute of Education Science’s National Center for Education Statistics, 54 percent of Asian American women have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 44 percent of white men. White women fell slightly higher at 56 percent.

We spoke with Katie Apolinario, a Virginia-based Filipino-American human resources professional for Hilton, to get an inside look at the professional life of a member of the group closest to bridging the wage gap with white men.

What are your responsibilities as a leadership development analyst for Hilton? How long have you held this position?

In my role, I support the senior managers with our Leadership Development Programs and support the senior director in the Talent Reviews and Management side. I’ve been here five months and counting.

Can you walk us through a “day in the life” in your position?

I start my days reading up on the latest about leadership on sites like HBR.ORG, INC.COM, and WIRED.COM. We’re constantly thinking about ways to improve our leadership programs as well as innovate on new ones. We also want to ensure that our larger company is reading up on leadership, so I post relevant articles on our Twitter account. Follow us at @HiltonLdrshpDev.

What do you find most rewarding about your position? The most difficult?  

The most rewarding is that I get to be a part of all of our programs in one way or another, supporting the senior managers as they need it. The most difficult is that there are many things happening at once, all the time. It’s important to be aware of what the day’s priorities are and be flexible with the changes that come our way.

How did you get this position? Can you talk about the process of applying, interviewing and networking?

I was contacted by a recruiter and invited for an interview not long after. My journey is not the standard Hilton experience, as I’m actually a contractor in this role. The company that recruited me has a long history with Hilton.

What is your role within the National Association of Asian American Professionals? What are your responsibilities in this position?

I’m current the vice president of the NAAAP-DC chapter. In this role, I’m responsible for managing our events like, community service, social networking, professional development and so forth. I’m new to the role, so I look forward to diving into our 2017 events.

Why might it be important for a professional to join a professional organization like NAAAP?

Networking! It’s a great way to expand social and professional circles. We also aim to provide professional development workshops for our community, so I think this is really helpful for anyone at any stage in their career.

In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a great leader in the professional world?

Leaders with empathy — at the end of the day, they are leading people.

Could you talk a little bit about navigating the professional world as an Asian-American women? Have you ran into any barriers or relied on mentors or other resources to help you succeed?

Not yet — I’ve only been in the workforce for such a short time. Fortunately, I’ve not felt like I’ve had any barriers based on my racial background.

What are your ultimate career goals, moving forward?

I intend to stay in the Learning and Talent realm of HR, and I want to be a thought leader in that area.

Any advice for up-and-coming professionals — specifically women or minorities?

Each day is a new opportunity to be the best version of yourself.