Felicity Tao

FELICITY TAO

Senior Brand Strategist at Cincinnati Bell
Founder and Current Chair of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association

 

What brought you to Cincinnati region and why did you stay?

My husband and I came to the U. S. for graduate studies in 1999, and I became an American citizen in 2016. Growing up, I never thought of immigrating to another country. I completed my college education in China and decided to pursue graduate studies in the U. S. because American universities were known for their academic excellence and the country was perceived as a beacon for freedom and democracy. The Chinese of my generation admired the U.S. as a country exemplary of diversity, tolerance, justice, and prosperity.  It’s known to attract talents from all over the world and value each individual’s talent and ideas, and I was eager to embrace that experience. My husband and I were big believers in freedom, democracy, and equal opportunities. It was not an easy decision for us to leave our families behind, but we hoped to achieve a brighter future for ourselves and our children in the US.

 

Why is it important to welcome immigrants and refugees to the Cincinnati region?

Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s one of the most important commandments to me as a Christian. Once the immigrants and refugees are in our region, they are literally our neighbors. I can’t help emphasize enough how important it is to welcome our new neighbors. As an immigrant myself, I have experience living in a welcoming neighborhood. We received gifts from our neighbors and HOA in the first week of move in, we have neighbors who will offer to watch our children when needed, and we have a number of social activities to keep our neighbors connected. We simply feel at home here and will do everything to strengthen the community. We want to be better and do better for our neighborhood. We also lived in a less welcoming community, where our neighbors avoided eye contact and kids didn’t even play with each other. We felt very isolated and eventually decided to move out of that neighborhood. Welcoming immigrants and refugees to the Cincinnati region is to help the community stay united

 

How can we create a more vibrant and welcoming region?

Everyone can do something to create a more vibrant and welcoming region. It starts with welcoming newcomers in your neighborhood doing simple things like smiling, waving, and stopping to chat. Be curious. Learn about a culture that’s different from yours. Make friends with people from different backgrounds. For those people who lead a business or a community organization, they can do more. Embrace and empower your colleagues from different backgrounds, be patient to listen to their ideas and experiences, and make efforts to invite them to your lunch table or the decision-making table. If you are a community organization leader, make sure you reach out to everyone in your community, build bridges to connect people, start cross-cultural dialogs to improve mutual understanding, and create programs to bring people together. If you are a government official, be intentional in your efforts to diversify your staff, bring visibility to minorities and improve representation of those highly under-represented groups.

 

The University of Cincinnati, which today has more than 3,000 international students, was the first investor in Cincinnati Compass. UC's early and significant support made it possible to build and launch this portal in 2016. The City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber express their sincere appreciation for UC's contribution to immigrant welcoming and integration in our region.

Founding Investors:

Founding Investors