Introducing Ryse
Ryse is an ambiguity between two words, “rice” and “rise”. “Rice” is a household staple all across Asia, whereas “rise” represents the trajectory we aim towards every day in the face of adversity.
Subtle Asian Networking (SAN) began in November 2018. Its focus and direction have always been fluid, changing and shifting in response to the needs of its members. As a student information sharing group, a place to promote your small business, or a hub to share job postings and give career advice, its overarching goal of uplifting Asians in predominantly white and English speaking countries has remained unchanged.

Why change what wasn’t broken?

SAN’s community has accomplished so much since its recent inception. Through our mentorship program, we were able to match over 2,500 community members with more experienced career and networking mentors. Hundreds of members were able to find jobs, our platform being a crucial space in facilitating these interactions. Additionally, in our partnership with AASPN, our Canadian members selflessly delivered necessities and ran all manner of errands for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

One might wonder why things have to change when so much good has already been achieved. In light of recent events, from the George Floyd protests to the marked increase in racially motivated instances of violence against the Asian diaspora (over 1,800 just between the months of March and May 2020 in the United States alone, according to a United Nations report), our discussions on race and other marginalized identities have become more prevalent in public discourse. By extension, our ideas of what equity in the workplace should look like have also evolved. 

For many Asian and minority job seekers, representation and diversity in the workplace have not yet reached where they need to be. According to a survey conducted jointly with NPR, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, at least a quarter of Asian Americans report having been discriminated against in the workplace. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is not just a box for employers to tick off of a checklist, a statistic to point to in an attempt to dodge doing the hard work. DEI is much more comprehensive and prescriptive than a simple numbers game. 

These observations and sentiments were troublesome, and I knew that something had to be done. It was critical a space was made that not only acknowledged diversity but also actively wrestled with what that translated to in the workplace, creating opportunities for both job seekers and employers who truly valued the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. When SAN hit 50,000 members in June of 2020, I realized I could elevate this platform and transform it into something more in line with this vision.

How did the rebranding start?

A few months ago, I asked the community for support, and from that, I was able to create a team of about 20 people. These individuals shared my passion and vision for the future of the group and realized the impact that we could create. 

Collectively, we decided to move away from the Subtle Asian branding. The Subtle Asian movement was a cultural watershed and presented a litany of opportunities and possibilities, but having learned and changed so much from where we first began, it made sense to reimagine ourselves and set towards this new vision.

What does “Ryse” mean?

We wanted to come up with a new name that would encompass all Asians while uplifting the community. Ryse is an ambiguity between two words, “rice” and “rise”. “Rice” is a household staple all across Asia, whereas “rise” represents the trajectory we aim towards every day in the face of adversity.

The renewal of the brand also signifies the renewal of energy. The pandemic has been challenging for all, but for many, it has also been an opportunity to rejuvenate, reenergize, and reeducate ourselves. It is our commitment that we will continuously strive to improve and rise above any hurdles that we may face.

What’s next for us?

We very recently hit 60,000 members, and we hope that this is only the beginning for us. Many exciting projects are coming up, and this rebranding and website launch are only the beginning. We are slated to release weekly articles, a podcast series, and daily networking events as we transition into this new phase of our journey!


Our purpose has been and always will be to serve and support our members, so we love hearing from you. Any feedback we get is extremely appreciated! Additionally, as this vibrant community continues to develop and expand its services and resources, we will need your help to support this growth! Any donations to our Patreon will enable us to realize our vision for Ryse; your support will allow us to make our biggest dreams for this community a reality!  

To keep up with what else we’ll be working on, make sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop! 

We hope that this new vision is one that is as welcoming as it is helpful (:

With love, 

Karl Chen