Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce  series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last.
Guest blog post by Ms. Peggy Leung-Dombrowski, Acting Chief Learning Officer, Office of the Secretary
I was born and raised in Hong Kong (China), also known as Pearl of the East. Fifteen years ago, I would never have dreamt of working for one of the United States Government Cabinet level agencies, serving the American people, and working side by side with the brightest professionals in the Learning and Development (L&D) field.
My father, who was a retired language translator for the British Government in Hong Kong by day, a professor at the University of Hong Kong by night, taught me the values of integrity, working hard, and perseverance. My father’s dictum was “People may steal your money but no one can ever take knowledge away from you.” He always encouraged me to travel and see the world, which allowed me to experience life in Australia, Canada, and the United States first hand. Then, I settled down in Virginia, pursued my passion, and received my Master of Education in Instructional Technology from George Mason University, which provided me the competencies to work in the L&D arena.
Before joining public service in 2001, I worked in the private sector as a trainer, Instructional System Designer, and Training Manager. After serving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for eight years, I began my career in the Department of Commerce (DOC) in 2009. At Commerce, I am the Acting Chief Learning Officer, Chair of the Department’s Chief Learning Officers Council, serving all the bureaus of the Department. My responsibilities include making recommendations on training development direction, including Leadership Development, to support our workforce; managing the implementation, development, quality assurance, and extended application of the enterprise Learning Management System; and providing Department training policies, processes and procedures guidance. Throughout my Commerce career, I have been supported by many mentors and managers, including Dr. Fred Lang, and Tyra Dent Smith for their guidance and leadership. I also serve on the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council and am heavily involved in the Department’s D&I learning and retention strategies.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a celebration of the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. For me, I focused inwards and reflected on who I am, where I come from, my values, beliefs, and life purpose. To celebrate my Chinese heritage, my husband, who is of Polish heritage, and I often enjoy a nice meal of Chinese dumpling and Pierogies (Polish dumpling), appreciating the opportunities for living in America. We all live in a diverse “world,” both at work and home life. The best part is I don’t even notice it anymore, as it is already part of my life, a wonderful life in America.
With the upcoming Father’s Day observance, I want to dedicate this article to my beloved father, who worked so hard his whole life providing for our family, and gave me the luxury of studying oversees, providing me the opportunity to stand on my own feet and thrive in this beautiful country. For me, home means both the United States of America, and also Hong Kong, which I visit every other year.