In today's post I'm going to share with you more about my background and what has shaped me. Here we go!
1. I come from a multicultural family: my dad is American, my mom South African and I have relatives from Korea, Australia, the UK and Mozambique.
2. When waiting in a NYC line with a crying baby, a man tapped my mom on the shoulder and offered to hold me so that she could go pay for her items with ease. Realizing that the man happened to be the professional boxer and activist Mohammed Ali, my mom handed me over and guess what? I stopped crying immediately.
3. At 9am on September 11, I was in downtown Manhattan waiting to catch a bus back to university in Boston. Instead of going to class, I watched the twin towers fall down. That day had a very profound impact on my life and shaped many personal and professional decisions that I made subsequently.
4. I practice meditation and qigong every morning. I owe so much to this habit - mental focus, calm, inner awareness, good health..the list goes on.
5. I'm a big fan of tea and tea culture. My current favorite tea is Red Jade (Hong Yu tea 紅玉) which is a cross between a Burmese assamica with a local Taiwanese wild mountain variety. It's grown in Nantou, Taiwan and the dry leaf smells like camphorwood, raw honey and rosehip.
photo taken in Yilan, Taiwan
6. Both in Asia and Africa, elephants have always inspired me with their wisdom, compassion, and resilience. That’s why I named my company ‘Elephant Communications’, as I believe that these qualities are essential in order to succeed amongst the unique and dynamic communication challenges of the 21st century.
7. In my mid-twenties I had a dream to live and work in Asia. I left my job at a cross-cultural consulting firm in NYC and taught in Japan’s JET Program for a year, then studied and volunteered in India for another. After that I went to Bangkok and set up base for my job-searching mission. Almost out of funds and encouraged by family and friends to return to the West, I was determined to fulfill my dream. Just before it was time to give up, I landed a job at a yoga studio in Taipei and flew over expecting to stay a year. That was 15 years ago and counting!
8. I love living in Taipei, especially due to the people, the culture and language. Every day that I walk outside, I just feel in sync. I’m always grateful that I made my dream come true to live here, regardless if things are going well or not in the moment.
9. I often get asked by clients when I plan on going home. My first thought is I’m not exactly sure where they mean by home, as I’ve now lived here longer than I did in the US or South Africa! My second thought is if I were to leave Taipei, I’d probably move to my favorite ASEAN city - Hanoi, Vietnam. This part of the world is such an exciting place to live - after all, we’re in the Asian Century!
10. Being an entrepreneur is fascinating, challenging and always worth it. My clients come through ‘guanxi’ & referrals, LinkedIn (thank you LinkedIn!) and website searches. This year alone I’ve worked with female leaders as well as teams from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, NYC, Australia, Europe and all over Taiwan.
And it's a wrap! Thank you for reading and sharing my journey with me. Now I'm looking forward to learning more about you!