1. Please tell us a little about yourself!
a. My parents immigrated to the US from Taiwan and my father got his PhD in Mathematics from the University of New Mexico. I was born in Albuquerque and lived in New Orleans for a year while he taught at Tulane. We then moved to NJ when he got another job teaching mathematics and computer science so I mostly identify as being from New Jersey. In my first day of class, Professor Dai Chen had us speak and discuss our accents. She looked at me and said, “Your accent is very interesting.” I said, “Jersey accent.”
b. I graduated in 1999 with a major in Chinese Studies and a minor in Economics.
2. Why did you decide to become a Chinese Studies major? How did it shape your experience at Wellesley?
a. I started out thinking I would be an international relations major but ended up only taking classes on China – Chinese history, economics, art history, political science and even painting. Being a Chinese studies major probably kept me out of trouble since language classes were Monday through Thursday at 8:30 AM! I loved being able to learn everything about China from various angles and frameworks. I even loved the language practice recordings read by Professor Ma. Her voice is so distinctive it always made me smile. An interdisciplinary Chinese Studies major taught me to look for connections in unexpected places, have a wide and deep lens to look through, as well as appreciate the culture, history and incredible people that have shaped the world. And I absolutely loved the Chinese painting class. I still have 2 pieces and have been looking for my other paintings ever since (my parents claim they do not have the peach painting I gave them). [I can send pictures of paintings if you want]
b. I also had the fantastic opportunity to do my work-study in the Chinese Department. One of my favorite tasks was organizing and cataloging the movies. I still love Raise the Red Lantern and The Killer - any movie with Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li. It was so great to spend time with the professors and they cared so deeply for the students. I remember the dumpling wrapping parties and more important, getting to eat the dumplings afterwards! The Chinese Department created such a wonderful community for the students.
3. What are you doing now?
a. I knew I wanted to be in business and was recruited to join Prudential’s leadership development program after graduation. From there, I worked in marketing and project management for hedge funds and managed futures funds as well as obtained my MBA in Finance from NYU Stern School of Business. During the financial crises of 2009, I decided to move to DC and pivoted my project management skills to manage Federal information technology projects at the National Institutes of Health and The U.S. Department of State. In 2016, one of my first friends at Prudential (16 years after we met!) told me there was a job opening at Marsh and McLennan Companies in Washington DC. I am now the Senior Manager of Onsite Technical Support leading a 21-person team supporting 38 offices from Maryland to Florida, Bermuda, Barbados and Cayman Islands. I also get to share my passion for diversity and inclusion and am a representative on our diversity council, Women In Technology Global Ambassador for Lean In (we launched 11 Lean In Circles in 6 regions around the world), and the Global Head of our Buddy Program which matches new hires with a Buddy from a different department. I love being able to unleash potential and create a place of belonging where everyone can thrive.
4. How has your Wellesley experience and your major influenced your life/career after college?
I am coming up to my 20th reunion and I love Wellesley more and more each year. It is also fantastic to be class of 1999 and have Hilary (class of 69) and Madeleine (class of 59) at all my reunions. I’m lucky to be a part of the Washington Wellesley Club, mentor and sit on panels for the Wellesley in Washington Internship Program, interview incredible candidates as an Alumnae interviewer, and interact on various Facebook groups. I also run a Lean In Circle in DC with a lot of Wellesley alumnae members and try to have a few Class of 1999 DC events a year. One my favorite quotes from a Wellesley in Washington panel was “I’m confident because I walk with an army of Wellesley siblings beside me.” We have the best network in the world full of incredible people who support and take care of each other.