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B. Joanna Chen

Chief of Staff

I grew up in West Michigan, the child of Taiwanese-Chinese immigrants in a majority-white area. It wasn’t until college, though, that I acquired language around identity and belonging that helped me make sense of my experience. As Salman Rushdie puts it in his essay “Imaginary Homelands,” “Sometimes we feel that we straddle two cultures; at other times, that we fall between two stools.” 

I connected with GenUnity in Fall 2021 to work on grant writing. A year later, I joined full-time as Chief of Staff. As someone who has come to see the hyphenated space in their identity as a location of potential, I feel hopeful at GenUnity, our everyday interactions as a team, our programming, our partnerships. Beyond straddling cultures, we are building bridges. It’s work that takes imagination, trust, vulnerability, and vigilance. 

Prior to joining GenUnity, I supported DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) programming at YW Boston. I’ve worked in higher education, 3D printing, and retail; served as a union steward; and taught writing to English language learners. In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, board games, and peering at my plants.