Home: Connecticut. Age: A day older than I was yesterday. Birthplace: New York City. Profession: Multi-industry board director and CEO; fiction writer. Significant other: My husband Bill, who has a great mind and a good heart. Alma mater: Cornell University (B.S., Food Science & Chemistry); The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (M.B.A., Finance & Marketing).
Recent recognition: Won three awards for the Ceiling Smasher fiction series which includes The Closer and Smashers Synched. The story is about the first female CEO of a sports company and the secret society of professional women, called the Ceiling Smashers, who help her succeed. Recent professional development: My Talks at Google Talk entitled “The Superpowers of Ceiling Smashers” was made into a Google podcast. Latest accomplishment: This summer I earned my high black/white belt in Tae Kwon Do (which I practice with my twin daughters). We all hope to test for our black belts before the end of the year. Significant contribution to others: Along with fellow Wharton classmates, served as Big Sister and mentor to a group of NYC public high school freshman, mentoring them through the four years until graduation. Every one of them went on to college; in most cases, the first in their family to do so. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Being recruited by Nike after earning my M.B.A and becoming the first female Nike executive with a global business P & L. Hobbies: Golf, tennis, Tae Kwon Do, yoga, Scuba diving. Last book read: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders. Recently viewed and recommended: Thirteen Lives, a movie about the Tham Luang cave rescue of a boys’ soccer team in Thailand.
Personality profile: Energetic, curious, positive, and fun loving. What one word or phrase would your closest friend use to describe you? Game-changing. Moral compass: My gut, my heart and common sense. How do you define a perfect friendship? Someone who lightens your burdens and doubles your joys. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Collaborative, enriching, honest and willing to challenge each other. What is your greatest joy? My daughters and the thrill of watching them embrace new experiences and conquer challenges. What is at the top of your bucket list? African safari. How do you relieve stress? Working out, walking in nature and a great massage.
What was your first paying job? A summer job in a colonial village, churning butter, baking in a wood fired oven and sharing with visitors how villagers lived back then. I was absolutely the only Asian colonial villager around! What was your favorite college course? Organic Chemistry. What was your favorite childhood toy or game? Trouble; Pictionary. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? A great high school teacher, Mr. Dempsey, who helped cultivate my love of writing. What’s the best advice you received growing up? Stand up to injustice and help others. What company or organization do you most admire? Doctors Without Borders.
Getting people to realize that many amazing female business leaders exist today, but they need access to opportunities. Companies need to look for these bright, talented women and get them on their boards and into their C-suites, no excuses.
What change would you like to see in the world? More exceptional female leaders helping and nurturing the next generation of female leaders. What mega-trend most excites you? Seeing more female entrepreneurs successfully building their own companies. What mega-trend most concerns you? The lack of access to capital for aspiring female entrepreneurs.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Insuperable. Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My dad, who filled my life with light and laughter. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? My laptop and hard drives with all my family photos. What advice would you give your younger self? Take time every day to relax and appreciate something beautiful. What advice would you give to your children? You can do anything. Just choose a career that combines passion, purpose and pay.
Personal motto: Learn like you’re going to live forever, live like you’re going to die tomorrow. Favorite quote: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others” (Winston Churchill). Desired epitaph: She loved with all her heart, created ideas that will endure and had a spirit that cannot be extinguished.