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LaGretia Copp
Center for East Asian Studies
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Center for East Asian Studies will host a book talk with Dianne Lee

Thu, 09/29/2022

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Center for East Asian Studies will host a book talk and panel discussion with author Dianne Lee at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in the Marvin Hall Forum. The first 35 students will receive a free copy of Lee’s book, “Leveraging Stereotypes to Your Advantage: Turning Stereotypes into Opportunities, Finding Balance Between the Yin and the Yang.” There will be a book signing and refreshments after the event.

Dianne LeeGrowing up in the 1980s in Malaysia, Lee and her family lived a typical Malaysian Chinese life. Her mother started an adhesive tape packaging business in the 1980s while her father worked for a large company. After completing her secondary schooling in Malaysia, she studied at Indiana State University and remained in the U.S. after graduation. Now, as the executive director of Kitchell Construction and Project Management, she handles business development for Kitchell in the architecture, engineering and construction space, taking on client development and billion-dollar contracts.

In her book, Lee shares how she has had to turn negative situations into positive success stories, both personally and professionally. She deconstructs how society views stereotypes as mostly negative characteristics and demonstrates that if certain traits persist, they can be detrimental to one's life, but with the right approach, strategy and mindset, those negative experiences can be used as an advantage.

In a recent podcast with Womenpreneur Asia, Lee said, “I’m a very proud Chinese Malaysian, an Asian American. This is who I am. I refuse to let anybody diminish who we are and the contributions that we bring to this country. I worked really hard for my position. I work harder than a lot of other people because I’m a woman and because I’m a minority, and I work in a very Caucasian and male-dominated industry.”

After her book talk, Lee will join Nilou Vakil, associate professor of architecture, and Caroline Bennett, professor and associate chair of graduate studies in the School of Engineering, in a panel talk on women in STEM moderated by Hui Cai, chair of the architecture department.

Akiko Takeyama, the director of the Center for East Asia Studies, said the event is a way to bring together the important issues of gender, leadership, STEM and Global Asia.

“Dianne is a leader in the male-dominated architecture and construction industries,” Takeyama said. “She is committed to nurturing women and people of color in the fields. Our sponsors for this event demonstrate the wide range of interest in the intersection of these topics.”

The event is co-sponsored by the schools of Engineering and Architecture & Design, Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, and the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity.



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