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CORe Asian Amplification Series - Lee (Debbie) Chan

Updated: May 7, 2021

During this pandemic and over the last year there have been countless attacks directed towards the East and Southeast Asian communities around the world, especially those in the US.

Not long ago there was a horrific shooting in Atlanta which killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. This sickening attack brought the worlds attention and focus on the ongoing crisis of Asian hate crime happening everyday.

Standing in solidarity with our Asian brothers and sisters, we set out to amplify these voices and stories. Asian Amplification📢 is our industry series of Asian stories and journeys.

In our first feature we talk to Lee ( was Debbie) Chan, Policy Research Manager at Which?

Thank you for taking part in this! We are excited to hear and share your story with our CORe readers. Let’s get straight into it, how did you get into the industry and what do you do now?

Lee Chan

I first started out in the industry on a graduate trainee scheme for a well-known polling agency. I just fell into research; I really did not know what a career in research meant and just applied for the scheme when I realised it appealed to my skills and strengths.

Sadly, for my father, it wasn’t law or accountancy. Since then, I have worked in a number of varied organisations in research, insight or stakeholder engagement roles – including a strategic consultancy, local government and most recently, a large not-for-profit. Currently I am working as the Policy Research Manager at Which? and am also a trustee of the Social Research Association (SRA).

As this is the Asian Amplification series, could you share a little on your background and how your ethnicity has shaped/defined you both personally and at work?

Lee Chan's Parents

My parents came from rural Hong Kong, my dad in the late 50s and my mum in the early 60s. They settled in the North East of England and worked primarily in catering: Restaurants and Chinese takeaways. They are Hakka speakers which makes them a minority within a minority, and they left school at 15 or 16.

Like many immigrant parents of that generation, they emphasised getting good grades at school and the pressure to do well was very intense. It was a great burden to have one’s parents’ ambitions and hopes pinned on you, especially when they did not have the capacity to help at all. You are on your own. They also felt it was important that you kept your head down and just got on with things, apply yourself, not get distracted by friends or extra-curricular activities.

Lee Chan at school

This has had a profound effect on the way I approached work in the