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News | May 6, 2021

DLA Distribution spotlights Nina Lee

By Kylie Young, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

In honor of Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution spotlights Nina Lee, a management analyst in the Learning and Development Branch at DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California.

The Defense Department pays tribute to the generations of Asian American and Pacific Islanders who have enriched the nation’s history and who continue to be pivotal to the success of the country. Asian-American and Pacific Islanders encompass a diverse group of cultures, ethnicities, races and languages. They include all Americans who can trace their ancestry back to the Asian continent and the many Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

Lee graduated from California State University with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems. She began working at DLA Distribution as a Workforce Recruitment Program intern as an office automation assistant in the Transport Division. Before becoming a management analyst in the Learning and Development Branch, she has worked as a transportation assistant and an administrative support assistant in the Human Resources Liaison Office.

Lee believes that it is extremely important to recognize Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month because it brings awareness to various Asian cultures.

“It is very important to recognize Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month because it brings awareness to various cultures and diversities that contribute to the melting pot that makes America great,” Lee stated. “As a Hmong American, we have a unique culture and customs that is different from other Asian nationalities. Yet, as Americans, we also want to achieve the ‘American Dream.’”

A common misconception about Lee’s heritage that she would like to correct is how Hmong Americans are only just one of the many Asian nationalities in the United States.

“A misconception about my heritage is an identity issue,” Lee said. “Hmong Americans are one of the more than 30 Asian nationalities/ethnic groups in the United States and our language is different,” Lee said. “As war casualties, the Hmong were sponsored and settled in different parts of the world with no country to return to. The United States is one of the countries that we have made our home.”

“One thing that is unique about the Hmong culture is the Hmong New Year. The biggest Hmong New Year is held in Fresno, California, where Hmong Americans from all over the United States attend, wearing beautiful, traditional clothing. The food, traditional souvenirs and clothes and the dancing and singing performances during the New Year Celebration are popular.”

While it is important to Lee for DLA to recognize this month, it is also important to her that the DLA Distribution workforce recognizes why we are celebrating this month to begin with.

“One thing that the DLA workforce should take away from celebrating this particular month is to be aware of the different cultures and diversities that build America. With the recent increase in anti-Asian discriminations, please remember the history of how Asian-Americans have contributed to America and how America is great because of the different cultures and diversities.”

Lee is but one of many within the entire DLA Distribution workforce that brings cultural lessons and mindset to the table that enhances and betters DLA.