Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month: Spotlight on Nicole Loh, Senior Director of IT Business Intelligence

“I wanted to see if I liked America and if America wanted me,” Nicole Loh shared recently. This candid response to the questions, ‘why Houston and why Legacy?’ reveal something fundamental in Nicole’s optimistic and can-do nature. As part of AAPI Month, Legacy wanted to honor our only Malaysian colleague from this little-known corner of Southeast Asia.


“It is sad, but I love my job!” she says, somewhat embarrassed. Her route to Legacy was not a direct one. Nicole came to the US at 17 on a scholarship. Not many of her countrymates come to the US – colonial and geographic ties tend to run towards a stronger bond with the UK and Australia for many students. But Nicole set aside the caution of her family and applied for a scholarship anyway.


Even to leave the country and be competitive for a scholarship here meant she had to not only be good, but strive to be great – at everything. Given the few slots for international students to begin with, and the intense global competition for the few scholarships available, “life was so much more competitive for us. I think because of that we worked so much harder to be acknowledged by our colleges or other students.” That work ethic served her well in her new profession. She felt, after years of scrimping and saving and working all hours, that “hey, whatever you can do – I can do too! That concept was always on my mind, even if I was not born here.” Only in America, she felt, “was everything possible.”


Fourteen years after she arrived on our shores, Nicole is glad she came. “There are so many more opportunities here than back home,” she admits. She shares this bond with so many Legacy patients who hail from all parts of the globe.

Colleagues have told Nicole she is wicked efficient. How does she get so much done? Simple. Working three jobs and carrying a full-time courseload during college in New York taught her to be ruthlessly efficient. Not to mention endlessly tired! Her majors did not help – she earned two majors. One in actuarial science (lots of number crunching and statistics) and one in economics, with a minor in accounting for fun.


Nicole was keen to get out of the treadmill of life in New York. Her first job was at a Dallas energy company where she got trained up in data and BI. No two days were alike, and she loved the on-the-job training and coaching that her colleagues afforded her. She also felt that coming from a multilingual, multicultural country prepared her well for life in a vibrant, diverse large city like Houston.


When Nicole first moved to Texas, she says, “I was worried. I was the only Asian, and also the only asian woman. So I felt, I had to fight for your own place – in a good way.” Nicole liked that she could “keep learning and prove what I can do. I always felt somebody will recognize that.” She loves what she might describe as “good people, helpful people who share what they know.” That, in a nutshell, is “why I wanted to work here.”


“I like Legacy because they accept everybody, no matter who you are – from any culture.” Three months after starting, covid hit and “everyone struggled.” What gave her hope that she had found the right place was that “everyone worked together.” From operations to billing to clinicians, they all pitched in. “Even with all the frustration and struggle, we got things done as long as we knew what we are trying to accomplish. We always need to help these patients.” From telehealth to prescription support to call centers, “that’s what I like about Legacy the most. My team is super diverse! No matter your culture, race or religion, we all have the same mindset.”


Here at Legacy, despite her overworked beginnings, she has found a balance between her work and her outside life. She adores travel and strives to visit every national park in America. Friends in college introduced her to working out – back home “working out was just for guys!”.


So what is her hope for the future? “I hope Legacy always tries to be that. You don’t see that a lot out there.” Here, she feels, she can live her best life. Legacy has become her new home.