Interview Series #5: Susana Chen

Founder of Asian Creative Collective!

This week I interviewed Susana Chen, the founder of Asian Creative Collective - a platform to empower & celebrate Asian talent around the world. Besides leading ACC, Susana also facilitates workshops, lectures, and conferences.

low angle photography of drop lights

From Susana’s website, :

Susana, is now based in New York City. Born in New York, grew up in Taiwan studied in Stockholm and Cologne. She has been around the globe for quite a bit. She works w/ Marketing to develop core values of brand positioning. Susana brings client expectations to life through transformative learning experiences with an emphasis on experiential marketing. Her expertise includes design leadership, creative strategy, design direction, branded environments, blueprinted customer experiences, from local brand experience to global customer-journey sales tools. Her clients include many global fortune 500 companies.

Tell us about the inspiration behind Asian Creative Collective.

I started design school at a very young age. It was 15 I got into Parsons scholars program. I am lucky that I always have mentors along my creative journey. After I’ve been in the creative industry for several years, I was lost. I was looking again looking for mentorship, leadership, someone that I can relate and shape the creative industry.

Creative marketing industry is still white/male dominant. I want to change the scene, and make impact. I was the design director for many major creative events, such as adobe summit, linked talent connect …etc. So I thought why not curate smaller events for creative that I can relate to…

So our mission statement:

Empower and celebrate Asian talent by showcasing meaningful stories.

We gather and connect the next generation of curious creatives to share inspirational stories and spark new collaborations for the Asian community.

What are the greatest challenges in creating and/or managing Asian Creative Collective?

It was so strange that we got a lot of support along the way! It was never lack of people joining our event! It was always, “wow there are so many people came to our event”, “how can we stay connected?” Linkedin, Instagram? Facebook? How can we really connect in a meaningful way?

We want to make sure the experience of human connections are curated. It is not just another “meetup, or happy hour.” It is about the space, the conversations, the flow of the event that makes attendee feel engage, and excited.

How is the turn out at ACC events – in person before covid and now (if they’re happening online?)

We have very high show up rate, most of the events have 30% show up rate. We normally reached 60%.

Covid definitely change the way we can meet. There are some pros and cons transitioning into online event. An example of pro, its our first time inviting a Belgium designer sharing his work! That means we are a true global Asian creative community. Con, we are still trying to figure ways our community can speak freely and connect to one another.

Describe your design philosophy in 3 sentences or less. 

Design memorable experience that last forever,

Design is playfully serious

Turn thinking into doing

Would you collaborate with another designer and who would that be?

I want to collaborate with Ai Wei Wei. I want to all of us to come to an event and break the vase together. ACC is not just another event or community, we come together to raise our voice and drive the conversations that we think its meaningful.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing right now?

I would love to have my own creative studio. Making art, sculptures, drawings..etc

Where do you consider your home?


If people could only remember one thing about your work, what would that be?

She creates memorable moments

Anything else you’d like to share that I haven’t asked?

We have a core team of 15 people on ACC, every one of us out in our effort to make the change, I want to say …it’s the best thing is world to find someone that also have the same believe and work together to make the change!

Thank you, Susana, for sharing your thoughts with us! I hope to use ACC as a resource and to make connections to further my artistic endeavors.

In other life updates, I watched the documentary Bad Rap (2006) featuring Awkwafina, Dumbfoundead, and some other Asian rappers on the difficulties of breaking into the hip hop industry because of stereotypes. Recommend! Currently on Netflix and Kanopy. The fact MC Jin has kids now makes me feel old.

Lastly, I need feedback on this newsletter. Please fill out the Google form to give me a sense of what topics you want to read about.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next week!