Member Spotlight: Rebecca Mu

May 22, 2023

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

What is your name?  My name is Rebecca Mu (pronounced ‘moo’, like a cow). 

Who is your employer? Prospect Real Estate Development Group

What is your current profession or role in commercial real estate? I am currently the Development and Entitlement manager of the development arm of our vertically integrated company. My responsibilities span from land acquisition and entitlements to design and investor relations. Fun fact though, I was initially hired as the company’s private jet pilot. After flying with my boss and sitting in on investor meetings, I realized how exciting the world of Real Estate is and I worked hard to work my way into and up the company!

What is your involvement in CREW Orlando?  I am a brand-new member! I am looking forward to working with Future Leaders, community outreach, and special events for CREW. Having an uplifting and supportive community of women is incredibly important for me so I am excited to meet women who work and excel in this industry. 

What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?  This month means the recognition of the opportunities provided through living in a diverse country such as ours. It means recognizing the hard work and sacrifices made to succeed in an assuming society which our community is often ignored and overlooked. My parents immigrated to the US when they were young and have built a home and a family despite hardships and struggles. My mother moved here from Korea with my grandparents when she was young with $50 dollars in their pockets. They ran several different kinds of businesses trying to make ends meet. From mom-and-pop shops Chinese Restaurants to wig shops, they did it all. Now she is a top-level executive in the largest Chinese American Bank in the US. My father moved here to Iowa for college at the age of 18 not knowing a single word in English. Everyday he stood in front of the mirror reciting words and sentences with a Chinese and English dictionary until he was fluent. Using his work ethic, creativity, and curiosity I grew up going with him to trade shows, pitching inventions, and learned how to manage potential investor relations. Throughout my childhood, he built a property management portfolio that helped get my sisters and me through college. This month is more than just recognition of what I look like, it’s about the visibility of the hard work that goes into the American Dream as an Asian immigrant and learning how to bridge the gap of culture and country. 

Between learning my cultures and my parents wanting to make sure we fit in, navigating childhood as an American-born Asian, was awkward and uncomfortable. I wasn’t fully immersed in my Chinese or Korean culture, and I didn’t fit the mold of a “typical American. AAPI month is about celebrating the uncomfortable moments, the wallflower moments, and the understanding that you are more than what meets the eye. We, the Asian community, are often clumped together in society and this month is about the understanding that each ethnicity has its own cultures, its own comforts, and the recognition that we are part of this country and have been vital to its growth and success just as much as the next. It’s about recognizing that what makes this country so unique and beautiful is its flurry of cultures. The AAPI community is not a community of perpetual foreigners, we are Americans. 

What is your favorite cultural tradition?  My favorite cultural tradition is New Years Day with my family. Since most of us live in the US, instead of celebrating Lunar New Year, we spend actual New Years Day as it coincides with holiday time off. Together we make dumplings and rice cake soup for when our extended family comes over. It’s a time to catch up, make funny looking dumplings, and just enjoy the freedom of having our own cultural practices in an opportunistic and diverse country…and I can’t forget about the red envelopes! Generally, in Asian culture, elder respect is a cornerstone of family function and it’s expected that parents sacrifice and set up their kids well for a successful future. All the kids and young adults bow to our elders and wish them a happy, healthy, and fruitful New Year. In return, we get words of blessings, advice, and of course, red envelopes filled with money! 

In your opinion, how have the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders influenced the nation and the world?  On a national level, our contributions span from working during the gold rush, working on the transcontinental railroad, all moments in American history in which American society and history books easily overpass the contributions of the AAPI community. Scientific outbreaks such as the Manhattan Project, and inventions such as the USB by Indian American computer architect Ajay Bhatt, Amanda Ngyuen leading the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act of 2016, even YouTube, co-founded by Seongjoon Cho, are all contributions cultivated by the AAPI community that have shifted the paradigm of our society. 

What do you hope to see for the Asian/ Pacific Islander community in the future?  I hope that the AAPI community finds its voice wherever we may be. Whether it be at work, with friends, in the home, or even with strangers, I hope we make sure that we speak out when we see clear discrimination. I hope that we do not forget how important that we are to the fruition of this country and its economy. I hope to see more AAPI on ballots pushing for equality and voices in spaces we have generally been overlooked in. I hope to see more women, especially AAPI women, in C-suite positions. I hope to see empowerment in the workplace rather than toxic competition. I hope to see people in the AAPI community to be empowered to move and live anywhere in this country and not have to worry about comfort. I hope we find peace and mediation through the hardship, through paralyzing events like COVID-19, and the aftermath effects it had on the AAPI community. I hope we find common ground and choose to move forward together to create a society that we are all proud to be part of.