May 4, 2022

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month at 2K

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States. This is a time for celebrating the societal and cultural contributions that generations of AAPIs have made, as well as to acknowledge and educate ourselves about the challenges they’ve faced throughout history. In honor of this month, we’d like to introduce you to five of our AAPI colleagues, all of whom contribute positively to life at 2K and other Take-Two labels on a daily basis, not only with their work, but also with the diverse perspectives and ideas that they bring to our team. Let’s meet them!

Alex Geronimo (2K)

Growth Live Services Manager / Filipino

Tell us about your current role and responsibilities:

I'm a Live Services Manager on the Growth team, leading commercial live services strategy on 2K’s non-NBA sports franchises.

What is your heritage, and what does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?

I'm Filipino. My parents moved to Canada when I was 5, and thankfully I grew up in a very multicultural city (Toronto). I know that there are a lot of kids out there with Asian heritage, who might not be as fortunate to have that same experience as me – maybe they are growing up somewhere where other kids in their school don’t look like them or they don’t have role models that they can relate to. I am happy that AAPI Heritage Month is shining light upon our cultures and giving us representation, hopefully helping the next generation see that there are plenty of others like them who they can look up to.

How did you get started in your career in games?

I have loved games ever since I first picked up Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and love pretty much every sport, so naturally, a career in sports games was always a dream. When a role opened up to work on sports titles at 2K, it seemed like a great fit and the perfect time to make the move into gaming from digital media.

What’s something that you think people can do to gain awareness about the AAPI community this month?

The easy answer here is food. It’s normally a simple gateway to be introduced to a culture and some of its history, but you can only get so much from that and I feel that we need to go beyond that to really learn. I would suggest for people to really find out more about our experiences and identities. There are a lot of good reads out there (recommendation: ‘Minor Feelings’ by Cathy Park Hong; also looking forward to Simu Liu’s book ‘We Were Dreamers’, which documents his life with immigrant parents in Toronto – not so different from my story, except I wasn’t the first Asian superhero lead in a Marvel film). There is also a good podcast called Asian Enough that can help people better understand our cultures and experiences, which in turn, will help them become better allies to the community.

What is your favorite food from your heritage and why?

There is a Filipino dessert called “Halo-Halo,” which translates to “Mix.” It is a mix of every dessert jammed into one bowl, think: ice cream, coconut, flan, fruit, tapioca, and MORE. You don’t ever need to choose which dessert you want because you get all of them!

Kathleen Gar Ming Fong (Dots Game Studio)

Operations Lead / Australian-born Chinese

Tell us about your current role and responsibilities:

I am the Operations Lead at Dots. My role is unique and I wear many hats - I am responsible for overseeing all people related operations, facilities management and supporting the executive team. I'm also part of our culture committee and help take part in pushing our DE&I efforts forward.

What is your heritage, and what does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you? 

I'm an Australian-born Chinese. AAPI Heritage Month means a lot to me, now more than ever. It's a time for me to reflect on my roots and how far my family has come. As a child of immigrant parents growing up in Australia, for a long time I did not know where I belonged and found myself switching between identities. I've learned to embrace it all, and AAPI Heritage month is a reminder for me to celebrate and be proud of all the wonderful things about being Chinese. 

How did you get started in your career in games? 

It was a complete accident! I started off working at a tech-startup that was down the hallway from Dots and I always admired the company from afar and loved playing Two Dots on my commute. I was very excited to join the team when they reached out and haven't looked back :)

What’s something that you think people can do to gain awareness about the AAPI community this month? 

Experiencing the diverse cultures and learning more about them is a great way of raising awareness. Support any local AAPI businesses; go out to eat at Asian restaurants and take some time to read about AAPI history. 

What is your favorite food from your heritage and why? 

There are too many to name, but my favorite is the classic Cantonese comfort dish, tomato and egg (蕃茄炒蛋).

Gajan Kulasingham (2K)

2K Core Games Social Media Manager / Sri Lankan

Tell us about your current role and responsibilities:

I’m a 2K Community & Social Media Manager working specifically on the Firaxis Titles. I’m currently leading the social strategy for Civilization and Marvel’s Midnight Suns.

What is your heritage, and what does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?

I’m Sri Lankan and proud of it. AAPI Heritage Month means a lot to me as it allows me to tell people more about where I’m from. I feel like most people don’t even know where Sri Lanka is located. I always become overjoyed whenever I encounter anyone who’s heard of it when I mention it. 

How did you get started in your career in games?

I got started in the gaming industry about 14 years ago, with my start coming in games media at IGN. I worked as a database editor there for about a year before moving to GameSpot, where I spent the next 9 years of my life. GameSpot is where I grew the most, wearing multiple hats during my tenure there, including social media, design, SEO, and promo placement.  

What’s something that you think people can do to gain awareness about the AAPI community this month?

This is going to sound simple, and perhaps obvious, but one thing I feel people can do to gain awareness about the AAPI community this month is to listen. Listen to the stories we have to share and the struggles we deal with. It’s only when you take the time to listen to people and learn that you can truly grow in your awareness.

What is your favorite food from your heritage and why?

Sri Lankan food has all sorts of amazing food, especially when it comes to curry, but one of my favorite foods to eat is Egg Hoppers, or Egg Appams as my parents call it. It’s basically a bowl-shaped pancake with an egg in the middle that’s meant to be eaten alongside curry. And if you ask me, the spicier the curry, the better the taste.

DuckSoo Choi (Private Division)

Product Manager, Online Games / Korean

Tell us about your current role and responsibilities:

As a Product Manager of Online Games I'm responsible for preparing for the live service production of future titles. I'm currently working as a lead producer for one of our new titles as well as a live producer for another while also overseeing the telemetry implementations on other Private Division games.

What is your heritage, and what does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?

I'm a Korean American who was born and raised in South Korea for most of my youth. I came to the U.S. during my  high school years to study abroad and stayed on. As I spent my formative years in South Korea, my Korean values and traditions were instilled into me that I follow without question, like making mi yuk guk (a type of soup made with beef and seaweed) on birthdays even though I don't like it, and how to bow to elders on New Years Day vs. ancestral memorial celebrations. I am proud of these as they make me feel part of Korean culture. 

To me, AAPI Heritage Month means a recognition of AAPI people as part of the U.S. and our history in this country. I still vividly remember feeling dread and displaced when learning the histories of the L.A. Chinese Massacre in 1871, the Japanese Internment camps in 1942, and the L.A. riot that burned Ktown down to ashes in 1992. Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month has helped me find AAPI erg at T2 and find a sense of belonging. It's really awesome to see us come together to celebrate our contributions and diversities.

How did you get started in your career in games?

I started as a CS/QA back in 2005 on MapleStory Global, a Korean MMORPG that was about to open its service in North America. I was really lucky to join the team right before the launch of the game as there was an endless amount of work to be done and lots of opportunities to wear different hats along the way, which helped to shape my career in games. I'm proud to have been a part of it and to see the game still going strong today. 

What’s something that you think people can do to gain awareness about the AAPI community this month?

Ask your AAPI colleague about the best restaurant in town they recommend from their culture. Give that a go, or even better, go with your colleague. You'll be amazed at what you have been missing out on.

What is your favorite food from your heritage and why?

Gah! I have to say this is the hardest question. If I have to choose one, it is pyongyang naengmyeon, a cold buckwheat noodle soup made out of clear beef/pork broth originating from the capital of North Korea. I love it because despite being a simple soup that many people consider bland, it really grows on you. It is also a good reminder of Korea's divided history, and I dream of the day that I might travel to North Korea to taste it in its birthplace when the country is united.  

Coffy David-Shea (2K)

Technology Senior Technical Program Manager / Chinese Filipino

Tell us about your current role and responsibilities:

I'm a Senior Technical Program Manager - responsible for managing 2k technology programs and initiatives partnering with the various studios and the cross-functional teams within 2K. 

What is your heritage, and what does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?

Chinese-Filipino. I see AAPI Heritage Month as an opportunity to reflect on AAPI history and culture, and create awareness.

How did you get started in your career in games?

I have always been interested in content, publishing, and licensing. I majored in film and was a producer at an anime company before working as a program manager at various tech companies. I consider my career at 2K coming home to the entertainment/creative field. It’s a great place to be in because gaming is an intersection of storytelling and technology. There's never a dull moment as there is always an opportunity to learn and level up, and you’re working on products that bring people joy.  

What’s something that you think people can do to gain awareness about the AAPI community this month?

There are so many ways!  Depending on your preference you can do the following: 

  • Movies / Show - check out AAPI titles on your streaming apps. I recently saw Pixar’s Turning Red. If you like stand up, check out Jo Koy and Ali Wong. 
  • Books - check out manga or novels/short stories by AAPI writers. Oishinbo is a long-running Japanese cooking manga series written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki.
  • Language - learn a few words in any of the AAPI languages. If you have distributed teams in any of the AAPI countries, learn how to say “Hello, how may I help you?” in their language. 
  • Food - pick a restaurant in your neighborhood or learn how to make an AAPI dish.

What is your favorite food from your heritage and why?

Fried Scallion Pancake, because it reminds me of my grandma when she used to take me to the market and make these at home. Also, Halo Halo (Mix Mix) is an awesome dessert which is a mix of so many things. It reminds me of “merienda” (Snack) time with friends and family.

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Thank you to everyone above for openly sharing stories of their respective heritages and starts in the games industry. We firmly believe that diversity makes us better, and one of our most crucial company values is "Come As You Are." We're always excited to welcome new people with diverse ideas and perspectives, because we want our workforce and our games to be every bit as diverse and inclusive as our audience. All our employees deserve to feel accepted and listened to, equipped to do their best work, no matter how they identify and connect with their peers.