Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Q&A with Regine Lim

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, an annual celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ accomplishments and critical contributions to U.S. history. To mark the occasion, we are featuring several employees at Sema4 discussing their stories of achievements and challenges throughout their journey. In our third Q&A, Regine Lim, Director of Remote Genetic Counseling, expresses her gratitude for her culture, discusses how her team is a community of “aunties and uncles”, and provides career advice for aspiring Genetic Counselors. Also read the previous installments of this series by clicking here and here.

What is your role at Sema4?

I am a Certified Genetic Counselor and extremely fortunate to lead Sema4’s Remote Genetic Counseling team. My role at Sema4 is enabling my team to do what they do best, which is deliver excellent patient care. I also recommend the blog post from my Sema4 colleague, Mabel Thomas, for a great read on genetic counseling.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I’m going to cheat and pick multiple things. I love problem-solving, and my job puts me in a position to do that on a daily basis. But I don’t do that in isolation. Instead, I get to work with teams across Sema4 who are dedicated, creative, and highly intelligent. I get to learn from and problem-solve with them. My three kids have seen nearly everyone I work with via video call – an extended community of “aunties and uncles”. I’m grateful that even though they’re so young, they’re able to observe excellence in so many different ways. Lastly, I can’t overstate how fun and supportive it is to work with other genetic counselors. We’re all coming to the team with different work and life experiences, but I feel like we’ve all known each other for a long time.

What does your heritage mean to you?

My dad is visiting me this week from California, so it’s nice to consider this question knowing that he’ll be here in a few hours. He is my strongest personal connection to Asia, specifically Malaysian Chinese culture, and the only one of his very large family in Malaysia to establish a life here in the United States. I am half-Chinese and half-Caucasian and have spent a good part of my life considering what that means to me and where I fit in.

So many of my memories with my family in Malaysia and my connection to my culture involves food. Food as a connection between cultures has been written about extensively. Imagine aunties replenishing your plate with the very best pieces of chili crab. The love in that act is immeasurable. I recently had a long conversation with my dad about variations of the Lunar New Year Prosperity Salad and the version he ate growing up. I’m lucky to have the chance to still do that. AAPI Heritage Month is a welcome opportunity for reflection and a reminder to ask my dad a lot of open-ended questions this week and for as long as I can.

What barriers have you had to overcome in your career?

Very few. I’ve been exceedingly privileged throughout my life. Many barriers have been torn down by others before me, so it’s on me to pay it forward.

What advice would you give to other people who want to pursue a career like yours?

Find great leadership (sometimes that means learning about what great leadership entails). Also, trust yourself about what feels right. I remember being asked once what my goals were, meaning life or career goals. I believe the person asking that question was thinking about very concrete achievements on a ladder to success. I knew myself well enough to answer that my goal was to be happy. I don’t want to be so inflexible not to always come back to the question of whether something is right for me and helps contribute to my larger goal in life.

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Are you interested in joining the Sema4 team? To find out more about open positions, please visit our Careers page here.