May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month – a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage and history in the United States. OUC is celebrating the month by featuring an OUC employee.
Hedi Ago, Director of Digital & Technology Infrastructure Operations, has lived by the words of her mother, “always think of your kapwa.”
Kapwa is the Filipino word for “others,” “neighbor” and “fellow humans.” It means to live in a way that cares for others. In the Filipino culture,
community and kinship are deep-rooted. Growing up in Manila, Ago was surrounded by her family in a close-knit compound; the closeness expanded past her immediate family and included all of her mother’s siblings’ families. Cousins became siblings and celebrations included the whole kin.
With a family-centric culture, Ago greatly valued making her parents proud. An expectation to achieve and perform was inherent. “My parents knew if I could perform better; this taught me accountability, responsibility and allowed me to discover my strengths and limits, which I still carry with me today” explains Ago.
Nineteen years ago she brought her drive and ambition to OUC. Today, Ago oversees the backbone of OUC’s digital infrastructure – corporate servers, network, VPN, Help Desk management, 24-7 monitoring and process scheduling management, devices and more. “Providing reliable technological service when employees turn on their computer motivates me every day” said Ago.
What drove her to pursue a technology career is the great impact it has on our lives and its constant evolution. Her love of learning is vital to adapting to technological advances. With a bachelor’s in computer science and graduating with honors for her master’s from Rollins College Crummer School of Business, Ago enjoys the theory, practicality and application of learning.
She credits her mother for serving as a strong female role model. “I had a notion of no limitations of being female or Asian because of my mother. She was not only a strong figure, but was a trail-blazer. She instilled in me the importance of giving back and volunteering.”
Taking her mother’s words and living by kapwa, Ago has served on Quest, Inc.’s Board of Directors since 2017, and accepted the position of Secretary on the organization’s Executive board in 2019. Quest’s mission is to empower Central Floridians with developmental disabilities to achieve their goals. “Quest supports individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities to live, learn, work and play. They teach daily living skills that we all perform without even thinking, and this builds life skills of the people we serve by enabling their independence. Quest’s support greatly impacts families and ultimately the Central Florida community, which is something I am truly passionate about.” Ago also is a member of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, where she finds a community that shares her heritage and culture.
“To me, Asian American Pacific Islander Month is a time to celebrate the merging of Asian heritage and American Influences, while also taking time to reflect and pay tribute to my Filipino heritage.”