Enter the world of Tina Yan, a powerhouse of creativity and cultural pride at LifeLabs. As a first-generation Chinese-Canadian woman, Tina infuses her Senior Visual Communications Designer role with a love for elevating brand and culture.
Beyond her professional journey, Tina’s story is a testament to resilience and the beauty of embracing one’s heritage. Through Tina’s unique perspective, we’re honoured to share the magic of Lunar New Year celebrations and their vibrant traditions, which span numerous Asian countries and bring communities together in unity and joy.
How do you identify, and what are your pronouns?
I identify as a first-generation Chinese-Canadian woman, and I go by she/her.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m a Senior Visual Communications Designer, and my role within LifeLabs is to elevate our brand and culture, both externally and internally. I love all things art and design, and in my spare time, you can find me on a sunset run, playing with my pup, or watching (terrible) reality TV.
How do you and your family celebrate the Lunar New Year? Are there any special dishes, activities or traditions you hold dear during this time?
My family and I usually celebrate Lunar New Year by having a big dinner (including homemade dumplings) and watching the Spring Festival Gala or Chunwan (春晚 / Chūnwǎn), which is a big annual variety show that features music, dance, and comedy performances.
As we celebrate diversity within our organization, can you share insights into how the Lunar New Year is perceived or observed in the broader Asian Canadian community?
Because the Lunar New Year is celebrated so differently across Asia, traditions will vary greatly from culture to culture. Even within China (my family is from Beijing), different regions or cities will have slight variations in food, drink, traditions, etc.! It’s super fun to learn about these similarities and differences.
What does being an Asian Canadian mean to you? What makes you proud?
I was not born in Canada, and English is my second language, so my experience of learning a new language in a new country was not an easy transition. As with many immigrant children, I had moments as a child where I was embarrassed of my culture. However, now I’ve learned that my lived experience is what makes me unique, and I love and fully embrace the fact that I’m Chinese-Canadian. I’m also so happy to see people being curious and accepting of different cultures!
How do you balance and embrace both cultures in your daily life?
Even though my Mandarin is not great, I try to speak Mandarin with my parents to retain it as much as possible. My mom also cooks the best Chinese food, so when I go over for dinner, I always try to ask her for recipes and tips and incorporate them into my cooking. And, of course, I’m excited to return to visit my family in China and reconnect with my culture. But more importantly, I want to eat some delicious authentic Chinese food!
As LifeLabs continues to champion diversity, equity and inclusion, Tina is our inspiration, embodying her cultural pride and creativity. Her story serves as a reminder of the values that enrich our diverse workplaces and lives.
Our vision at LifeLabs is to ensure that all individuals – no matter their race, gender, beliefs, preferences, age, abilities, etc. feel accepted, respected, and valued.
Happy Lunar New Year!