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Jimmy Bai: Smashing through the ‘bamboo ceiling’

Jimmy Bai says Community Voices has given him the courage to speak out

Jimmy Bai is striving to be a better voice for the Chinese-Australian community; to better represent its views and its place in the Australian narrative.

This explains his excitement at making the cut for JNI’s Community Voices program, which is designed to give underrepresented Australians a greater voice in our national conversation.

“In the short time I have been part of the Community Voices program I have already learnt so much about how to proactively engage with the media; to not be nervous about putting up my hand to speak about issues important to our community,” he said.

“It is already enabling me to build my portfolio and these new skills are portable, they will stay with me and if I get it right; they will be shared across the community so more of us develop the same awareness and confidence in sharing our stories in the public eye.”

Jimmy said he plans to share the skills he is learning with his community, so its members can have a greater say on the issues that affect them.

Community Voices participants have learned from newsroom leaders and executives.

Breaking through the bamboo ceiling

Jimmy said he rarely sees people like him in parliaments, the public service and board rooms. He hopes he is now in a better position to challenge institutional barriers — something he agrees is like a real ‘bamboo ceiling’.

“So I have to ask myself, ‘what stops them? What limits them that they don’t get into the top tier of decision-making?'”

“Take me for example, there is nothing about me, my accent, the way I walk, even, and carry myself, that doesn’t say Australian and if I ever need to reach out to any organisation or government department for support, I am doing that as an Australian.