Our passion for traditions extends to our local communities. This year, Macy’s is an official sponsor of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (HKDBF) in Queens, New York. On August 11 – 12, team “Macy’s Dragons” will paddle their way to victory during the largest, multicultural festival of its kind in the United States. The two-day event honors the deep history and ancient tradition of Dragon Boat Racing in colorful teak boats with large drums and carved dragon heads and tails, which are custom-made by craftsmen in Hong Kong.
“The [Hong Kong Dragon Boat] Festival is very happy to work with Macy's to reach out to the community to promote this sporting and multicultural event. Thank you to Macy's for your support of this unique festival." – Henry Wan, chairman, Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York.
The event kicks off on Saturday morning with opening ceremonies and a parade. In addition to providing audiences with traditional Chinese foods and performances, the festival hosts more than 120 dragon boat teams from across North America. Depending on the competitive division, teams compete for cash prizes, trophies and other awards. This year, our team is as prepared and excited as ever.
We sat down with the Macy’s Dragons Team Captains and ATEAM Employee Resource Group (ERG) co-leads, Kathleen Chang, digital director, Big Ticket, and Truc Vo, associate financial planner, Women’s Shoes to learn more about who will be leading our team to victory and why it’s important to Macy’s culture to take part in the HKDBF.
KC: I’ve been with the company for almost eight years (August is my anniversary month). I spent most of my career in planning within Ready-to-Wear (RTW) until moving to digital merchandising within Home two years ago.
TV: I’ve been with Macy’s for two years. A few months into my time here as a Merchant Forecaster/Financial Planner in Women’s Shoes, I was introduced to ATEAM and signed up to be a member. As a member, I learned about and contributed to the ERG’s efforts around shaping Macy’s culture when it comes to the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community. I currently serve as one of the co-leads of ATEAM, where I advocate for colleagues and engage leadership to drive strategies around the API workforce and community.
KC: I was the co-lead for ATEAM for almost three years, so it’s hard to pick just one! Outside of Dragon Boat, I think another great moment for ATEAM is when we created a cross-functional committee within our ERG and did a deep dive into the RTW Petites business and provided insights and suggestions on product, marketing and site/store execution. The merchant teams were incredibly receptive of our POV and the information we presented was socialized to senior leaders. I think all of us who were involved in this project felt valued by the company and empowered that we had a voice to impact business and product strategies.
KC: Our Macy’s Dragon Boat team has representation from so many different functions (merchandising, stores, marketing, finance, HR, logistics, etc.), so the roster alone is a celebration of diversity. Paddling also involves timing and movement coordination across the entire boat, and every member has a specific function, so it encourages us to focus and work toward the common goal of moving faster on the water and, of course, winning. It’s really a living manifestation of the company behaviors: Own Your Role, Commit to Win, Build Trust and Get Better Every Day!
Also, because Macy’s is a corporate sponsor of the festival, our Flushing store runs a booth on the grounds where we hand out chance-to-win freebies. It sends the message that Macy’s is invested in the API community.
TV: This will be Macy’s third time participating in the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. ATEAM gets an opportunity to assemble and engage colleagues from different functions across the company to participate not only in the race, but also in the community-facing aspect of the festival. It is important for Macy’s culture because colleagues get to work with each other as a team, all the while celebrating the diverse customer base that shops with us. This allows customers to see how we value them and their community, turning Macy’s From Familiar to Favorite.
KC: Competing! Aren’t we all a little competitive here at Macy’s?
KC: Knowing weeks of practice all comes down to a performance of a few minutes. Last year we missed advancing to the finals for the 500m race by coming in just 0.03 seconds behind the winning team in our heat.
TV: Our team is practicing twice a week until race day and we have paddlers from the past two years, so I am not nervous – I'm excited for the experience! The festival is a great time for colleagues to bond with each other and invite friends and families to cheer on the Macy’s team.
KC: I will be carb-loading for sure! And then making sure I get a good night’s sleep.
TV: In order to prepare, the team – made up of colleagues from central office, the Long Island City photo studio and even our Flushing Queens and Brooklyn stores – have been on the water practicing. While it’s not as physically demanding as some might think, paddling requires learning technical movements and getting in sync with each other – all keys for success on race day.
KC: The HK Dragon Boat Festival is held in Flushing Queens, which is where I grew up, so I have a lot of hometown pride for the event. I also had to attend Chinese School when I was younger (Tiger Mom enforced) and read about the story behind Dragon Boat festival. The story didn’t feel relevant to my American upbringing at all at the time, but has now come full circle.
TV: To know where one is going, one needs to look back from where they came. The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is what it is because of that mantra. I enjoy that so many people come together to celebrate the spirit of dragon boat and that new and old generations get to experience it – building on top of a rich cultural heritage and legacy, one of friendly competition, food and fun.
KC: We keep it simple. We put our hands in at the end of our team huddles and proudly yell out “Macy’s” in unison!
TV: Outside of chanting “Macy’s” we currently don’t have a chant or theme song to get the team excited; just being at the festival is all the excitement we need – but we’re taking recommendations!
Don’t miss out on cheering for your Macy’s colleagues at the city’s biggest international, multicultural celebration and sporting event. While you’re there, stop by the Macy’s booth to snap a photo at the Macy’s-sponsored photo booth. See you there – and go Macy’s Dragons!
Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12
Flushing Corona Park, Queens
Take 7 train to Mets-Willets Point, or take E,F, R trains to Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave and transfer to Flushing-bound 7
No parking on-site; Park at CitiField and take HKDBF Shuttle
Rain or Shine
Opening Ceremony; Shaolin Masters performance; Macy’s race team and photo booth for a selfie
Share your ideas for Macy’s chant or theme song!