By Daron Fong, DVBS c/o 2012
On Friday, February 1st, over thirty upperclassmen from the boys and girls division were treated to the first ever Career Day, hosted by Developing Virtue Alumni and IGDVS. The event was headlined by longtime friends Connie Chang and LiLing Poh, young professionals with blossoming careers in Artificial Intelligence and mergers & acquisitions law. Both are affiliated with IGDVS and were delighted to share their life and career stories with the students.
Connie Chang, the first speaker, joined via video call. Connie participated in several summer camps at the City and her parents were longtime disciples of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. An avid tech entrepreneur, she works for an A.I. startup led by A.I. pioneer Andrew Ng (Coursera, Google, Baidu), and had some insight to offer on the future of computer science.
Her story is much more than just about A.I., however. After high school, Connie somehow dodged a bullet and did not become quadriplegic from a bad car accident. She was clueless about her career for many years, first starting as an actuary, and later multiple failed startups (her “trough of sorrow”). But through hustling and hard work, she got her lucky break to work for Mr. Ng.
Never satisfied, Connie noted that she hadn’t yet achieved ‘true success’ in her eyes, but she is excited to be in the right field for her and encouraged the students to consider pursuing A.I. as well if they were so inclined.
Connie’s message: failure is a blessing in disguise. It’s hard to connect the dots looking forward but looking back, all the “failures” have led Connie to her present success.
LiLing Poh gave the second talk of the day, and brought an infectious energy and charisma to the event. LiLing has had a remarkable life arc, choosing to move from Malaysia to the U.S. at the age of 13 to study here at IGDVGS. She graduated in 2000, and has gone on to pursue a career in law.
LiLing got her first job when she sat down and kindly talked with a lady at a conference who ended up helping her get an interview, which led to her first job. She began practicing as a litigator at a large firm, with a glass office and comfortable paycheck – but ultimately found litigation wasn’t her thing. She decided to make a shift away from litigation despite warnings from her family and peers that she was sacrificing years of experience and pay.
She moved into corporate law, where she found the work to be more satisfying. Ultimately, Liling dared to take a risk and was rewarded with personal and career success.
The colorful and inspirational stories from Connie and LiLing showed the value of resiliency, hard work, responsibility, integrity, and were a joy to listen to.
Many thanks to all who organized the event, and the speakers for taking the time out of their busy days to spread the wisdom and share the love!