Linda Rim is a Cambodian-American born to two Khmer refugees. Linda’s parents are survivors of the Cambodian Genocide where they found refuge in Thailand and were eventually sponsored to immigrate to the United States. Linda was born and raised in Fall River, MA where she received her diploma from B.M.C. Durfee High School. She further pursued her education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she was accepted into the Isenberg School of Management to major in Hospitality/Tourism and Management (HTM). During her years at UMass, Linda was active in the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, Sustainability Residential Academic Program, Asian American Student Association, and the Hip Hop Cultural Organization. Linda also participated in a month long study abroad trip to Europe where she was able to explore England, France, and Italy. Linda currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Occupationally, she is the Front Desk Manager at the Westin Copley Place. Linda is on a path of wanderlust, self-discovery and self-love. She is adamant about traveling the world, representing Asian American women in business leadership, and making her family proud.
What woman has been the biggest inspiration and what do you admire about her?
There are many women that I admire, but one of my biggest inspirations is my mother. She represents the strength in both my immediate family and my extended family. She has made me who I am today and is the reason why all of the women in our family are so strong. My mother is a genocide survivor, a refugee, and most importantly a fighter. Alongside my grandfather, she is the woman who led my family to safety during the Khmer Rouge. Blood, sweat, and tears were her process – literally. In her twenties, my mother took the lead and crossed endless barriers just to keep our family afloat. Despite the challenges and sacrifices she had to make at such a young age, my mother still maintained her strength, bright smile, and optimistic attitude. Even with current trials today, she remains just as resilient. My mother is the woman who inspires me to overcome the impossible and consistently encourages me to break standards. Her positivity, resiliency, and strength are the things that guide me and my decisions made today.
What has been the biggest struggle for you as a woman pursuing your current role? How did you overcome that and what do you want others to learn from that?
With most businesses, representations of women leaders are generally limited. In many companies, it is quite noticeable how the number of men outnumbers women in senior positions. Being a woman (and a woman of color), I frequently face gender (and sometimes racial) biases that have obstructed my development and journey as a young leader. These social stereotypes that are set often challenges whether or not I am competent or emotional stable enough to lead my team or the business I am in. To overcome this struggle, I personally have worked harder to prove my passion for a role and constantly present the necessary skills, experience, and qualifications for a leadership position. This is not a mindset I have developed overnight needless to say. I wear this sense of confidence every day and it is a something I strive to prove every time I come into work. To help promote a more gender diverse team, I do my best to lead and advocate other women in similar roles to do the same. In turn, this encourages the development of women in business I am in and challenges the gender stereotypes that have been set. I am thankful however, that I currently work with a team that does support and respect equal opportunity for minorities and women. I have worked with many talented individuals who have guided the way for younger women and I aspire to do the same.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Take chances, be proactive, and do not be afraid to do things alone. In my earlier years of college, I have missed out on multiple opportunities that would have support my personal growth and career because I was comfortable by my surroundings. I have learned that although it is very easy to get comfortable and follow your peers, sometimes the best way to learn is to just take a leap of faith. Taking chances often leads to positive changes and being comfortable is a good sign that you’re not challenging yourself. I would tell my younger self, even if you don’t know how things will turn out, be proactive anyways, and don’t be afraid to lead the way.
What is your overall career goal?
One day I aspire to be a general manager of a hotel. I have a lot to learn (and it may take years) but it is my dream to be an impactful leader within hospitality. I love connecting and sharing ideas with people from all walks of life, which Is why I wholeheartedly love my job and the industry. Working in hospitality allows me the opportunity to: make someone’s day brighter, travel, tap into my creativity, and explore different realms of art and culture worldwide. My life is richer because of it. I hope to one day have the opportunity to lead and surround myself around a bigger team with the same drive, goal, and passion.
Why is it important for women to be in leadership roles?
Simply put, women are so strong and capable of so much more. We deserve to live a life of equality. That being said, it is important for women to participate in leadership roles and set an example for future generations. Our participation is vital because it will pave the way to promote the progress we need. We cannot do it without contributing and we absolutely cannot make the necessary changes without the collaboration of men. Real equality in the workplace and home will only bring further enrichment and sustainability to our lives and society and it is something we need to make our reality today.
What is your favorite thing to do?
I enjoy everything about traveling and food and beverage, which further explain why hospitality is a big part of my life. I spend most of time watching travel vlogs, planning future trips, and researching new places to grab a quick bite! I love art as well. I find it difficult to make time to draw and paint as much as I used to but I love visiting art museums and checking out street art when I can. Most of my creative outlets now involve writing, photography, and videography since it’s a bit more accessible to me.
What are some of your future goals?
TRAVEL THE WORLD! On a more serious note though, I do hope to continue make my friends and family (especially my parents) proud and ensure they live a comfortable life. I owe them everything. My future goal is to live a happy and sustainable life that I can share with my friends and family.
Anything else you want to add?
Fun fact: I am planning a solo-backpacking trip in Southeast Asia in March. This will be my first time traveling alone internationally and I CANNOT wait!! I made it a goal of mine in the beginning of this year and I am still in disbelief that it is actually happening. I am excited to connect with my roots and see the countries my family calls home. March is a special month for me because I will also have the opportunity to honor my late grandfather in Cambodia on his annual anniversary. Traveling alone will be both a challenging and enriching life experience. I look forward to see what this trip will teach me about my heritage and myself.