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SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 259: Addressing Mental Health Stigmas in Asian Cultures

Explore the intersection of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month in this episode of Diverse: a SWE podcast!

To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month while acknowledging that May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, the SWE Asian Connections Affinity Group shines a light on mental health stigmas in Asian cultures in this episode.

Dr. Katherine Nguyen Williams, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and supervising psychologist at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, discusses the cultural nuances she has encountered in addressing mental health within the Asian community.

Vandana Khanna, head of global digital finance transformation at Kenvue, shares her personal experiences and discusses how companies can better promote mental health awareness. Sarah Koenig, associate director for manufacturing cost modeling at Pratt & Whitney, a division of RTX, moderates this important conversation.

Listen to the episode on SWE’s websiteSpotifyApple Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Speaker: Dr. Katherine Nguyen Williams

Katherine Nguyen Williams square headshot

Dr. Katherine Nguyen Williams is a licensed child and adolescent psychologist, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and the supervising psychologist at Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego, Department of Outpatient Psychiatry. Dr. Nguyen Williams trains mental health clinicians on evidence-based treatments, as well as maintains an active clinical practice.

She is the author of the Psychology Today parenting blog The Modern Child which has been published in countries around the world. She is the host of Ask Dr. Kat, with topics spanning from common teen issues to racism/anti-racism. She was featured in the PBS documentary You Know the Drill, a film about teen anxiety/depression and active school shooter drills.

Dr. Nguyen Williams is also author of the mental health treatment manual, Modular CBT for Children and Adolescents with Depression: A Clinician’s Guide to Individualized Treatment and the foundational textbook Child Psychopathology. She is a frequent public speaker with topics ranging from parenting strategies to the global mental health crisis.

Speaker: Vandana Khanna

Vandana Khanna square headshotVandana Khanna has 20+ years of experience across CPG, Retail and Pharma industries. She currently leads the overall finance solution design for digital transformation using S4 Hana and manages the global project investment and automation of global business processes resulting in value creation at Kenvue, a spinoff of Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health division as a senior director/ head of global finance transformation. She has worked for Unilever, Verizon, and PepsiCo in the past.

She holds an MBA in finance and technology from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh and has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), India.

She is an avid supporter of women in STEM and a champion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. She has set up brand new ERGs across organizations to attract, cultivate, and retain diverse talent and increase visibility. She also has experience on several nonprofit boards like Easter Seals that serves and supports disabled individuals.

Host: Sarah Koenig

Sarah Koenig square headshot

Sarah Koenig is the associate director for manufacturing cost modeling at Pratt and Whitney, a division of RTX. She is responsible for overseeing the creation of manufacturing cost models in support of negotiations with suppliers and partners, as well as cost estimation models as a part of manufacturing readiness.

Previously, she spent 5 years in industrial management, taking on roles of increasing responsibility culminating in leading the incorporation and industrialization of key configuration changes on the Next Generation Product Family (NGPF) Regional Jet family of engines.

She began her career as a member of the Manufacturing Engineering Development (MED) Program at Pratt and Whitney, completing roles in both manufacturing and quality. Upon completion of the MED Program, she took roles of increasing responsibility in manufacturing, supply chain, and project management, including joining the Operations Leadership Program at United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

Sarah is a SWE life member and has held leadership roles at the section, region, and Society level. She currently holds the role of Senator on the SWE Senate. Outside of SWE, she is on the board of directors for Camp Mujigae, a Korean heritage camp primarily serving the Korean adoptee community.

She graduated from the International Engineering Program at the University of Rhode Island, earning both a B.S. in industrial engineering and a B.A. in French and has stayed connected to her alma mater by serving on two industry advisory boards for its College of Engineering. She also holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Sarah is also an advisor to RTX ASPIRES, the Asian-American Leadership Forum ERG at Pratt and Whitney. Outside of work and volunteering, she enjoys running, spending time with her family, and anything related to Disney.

Diverse: a SWE podcast has been recognized as a top women in STEM podcast and a top engineering podcast!


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