Oracle Professional Asian Leadership: Oracle’s fastest-growing employee resource group

Oracle Professional Asian Leadership: Oracle’s fastest-growing employee resource group


Oracle Professional Asian Leadership (OPAL) gathers for a Lunar New Year celebration in January 2020.

In its young history, the Oracle Professional Asian Leaders (OPAL) has already made a significant impact. Since 2015, the fast-growing employee resource group (ERG) has expanded to offer mentorship and networking opportunities, raise cultural awareness, and promote community engagement through various activities and events.

Each year, the group opens anywhere between three to seven new chapters. In just seven years, they’ve expanded to serve employees in five different continents and 24 cities in the United States and counting.

“So many people tell me that had it not been for OPAL, they would have left Oracle,” says Win Chang, founder and advisor of OPAL. “As an Asian, I often felt alone in my struggles. But this community was created so that you don’t have to feel that way.”

What started off as a desire for the Asian community to thrive at Oracle soon turned into a global network and family dedicated to uplifting all colleagues of Asian descent. While their growth and success has already been fortuitous, it is only the beginning of how far OPAL promises to go.

From promising beginnings to massive growth

In 2015, OPAL was founded to support Oracle employees with an interest in Asian heritage and a drive to inspire action, accountability, and inclusiveness at Oracle. The idea for OPAL was first formed thanks to a fellow employee resource group at the company: the Oracle Latinos Alliance (OLA).


“As an Asian, I often felt alone in my struggles. But this community was created so that you don’t have to feel that way.”
—Win Chang, Founder and Advisor to Oracle Professional Asian Leadership

Chang’s former manager at Oracle, also the founder of OLA, asked Chang to be a speaker for a conference that the group was hosting. “I spoke at the conference, met a lot of heartwarming people, saw this community, and thought, ‘Why don’t we have one for the Asian community?’” says Chang. “I had been at Oracle 20 years already. We have lots of Asian people, but we weren’t progressing into higher ranks, so we needed a group that would advocate for us, bring our community together, and focus on professional development, cultural awareness, and networking.”

Chang cofounded OPAL with Stephanie Tom, a former Oracle employee. At the time, Chang wondered if they could even get 50 people to join. But OPAL’s first launch event proved that the interest was strong by gathering more than 100 people.

Since they first formed, the group has hosted more than 235 events, reached more than 15,000 employees through their programming, and even earned the 2018 Employee Resource Group Leadership Award from Ascend, the largest Pan-Asian business professional membership organization in North America.

Lunar New Year celebration at Oracle Redwood Shores
OPAL celebrates Lunar New Year in January 2020.

Currently, OPAL consists of 4,000 members in 27 communities globally among the Americas, EMEA, and JAPAC regions.

For OPAL board chairperson Bo English-Wiczling, the most important objectives of the group include encouraging Asian colleagues to accelerate their professional careers and to show up as their true selves at work.

“All of those things are challenging when you’re seen as the model minority who doesn’t ask for anything,” says English-Wiczling.

Facing the hard times together

OPAL experienced the most growth during the COVID-19 pandemic when local chapter events held in-person were replaced with virtual events. This meant groups that don’t typically cross paths finally got a chance to engage with one another, says English-Wiczling.

“People were really looking for connection since we weren’t in the office, and there were more people interested in congregating virtually,” says English-Wiczling. “Rather than doing things at a local chapter level, we did them at a global level where there could be giant events to create an even bigger family.”

These events included OPAL Ohana, which was held every Friday for Oracle peers to share good news happening in their communities and provide support to those who needed it.

Last year, OPAL even hosted a speaker event featuring Dr. Russell Jeung, an Asian American studies professor who cofounded the Stop AAPI Hate coalition during the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes since the start of the pandemic.

“During lockdown, we all felt so hopeless,” says Chang. “So we created spaces like these to give us more hope, connection, and a sense of unity.”

Among the many notable successes OPAL has achieved, the one thing Chang and English-Wiczling want others to know about this community is simple—it is open to all who are supportive and inquisitive about Asian culture.

“It’s not the ‘Asian club.’ It’s the ‘We’re helping Asians’ club,’” says English-Wiczling. “If you support OPAL and you want to advance our causes, then it’s a community you should join.”

Celebrating heritage

Women learning chinese calligraphy
OPAL celebrates Lunar New Year in January 2020.

OPAL’s goal of promoting both professional development and cultural awareness is reflected through their lineup of events for this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

For instance, OPAL Burlington will host an interactive Taekwondo learning session during the first week of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Led by fourth-degree black belt Jed Caluag, attendees will learn the basic blocks, kicks, and punches of the Korean martial art and will discuss the Asian influence on the sport.

Later on in the month, OPAL members can also enjoy events, such as a “Power of Mentorship” discussion presented by OPAL and Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) and a session on the dos and don’ts of personal branding, networking, and sponsorship to accelerate to the director, VP, SVP, and EVP level.

“The people in the OPAL community are an amazing group of folks,” says English-Wiczling. “They just want to help and raise everybody up. For me, that’s the reason I’m involved.”


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