USC '10 -> Turner Construction -> Flatiron School '14 -> Columbia Business School '18 -> bobagreen 2020
|2010||Graduated USC with BSE in civil engineering. Moved back home without a job bc no one was really hiring (construction was still recovering from GFC). Was literally going to take a $10/hr position because I don't have much of an ego and I just wanted to learn something. Walking home after the interview, DOT called and offered a summer internship that paid $22/hr. During my DOT internship, I started learning about investing and bought my first stock, BIDU. After my internship ended, I was still looking for FT opportunities and decided to make the most of my time by participating in a 6 week cultural immersion program in Taiwan (OCAC). Met some awesome people but left the program early both because I got called for a 2nd round interview at Turner and I got a job offer from an interview I had months ago. Slept at TPE before my flight, landed at JFK at like 5am, was at my interview by 9AM. Interviews went well, but spent the rest of the week sick, probably from exhaustion. Started first real job a week later at NYCDDC on Thanksgiving week. By the end of the year I got my offer from Turner and knew I would be leaving DDC|
|2011||Started Turner in Feb. It was my first real big corporation job experience. I loved the structure, the corporate-ness, and just couldn't believe I got a job at this real company. Me, a first gen college grad who came to America at age 7 and didn't speak English, a kid raised by a single mom who worked $5/hr jobs 7 days a week for 13 years straight to put food on the table, a girl who relied on free lunch coupons at school, studied her way to Stuyvesant HS through books from the library, and depended on fee waivers for college applications. To have landed at Turner was basically my mom's life goal for me (thus, my own life goal at that point). I'd made it. I was set for life. I wanted to join the other lifers at the company, people I admired like my boss Jose Class who had like 25 years at the company. I was assigned to build the Police Academy and could not believe my luck. To have met people like Anna Duenas Stan Bruno Johnny Lauf Matt Michalek Malory Men Nguyen Garrick Young Sal Coladonato Christina Arbor Well More and more - my dream team that basically ruined working for me afterwards because the bond and dynamic we had as a cohesive whole was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.|
|2012-2013||Loved my life so much at Turner and the Police Academy. work was not always easy bc our job was to solve problems and put out fires (unfortunately in the literal sense that one time with the curtain wall...), but the team and camaraderie made it feel so easy. loved our weekly happy hours, which we made happen even though our job was in the middle of nowhere college point. discovered Astoria the neighborhood from our happy hours. took Daniel to an open house "just to see" the redevelopment of Astoria Lights apartments, ended up placing an offer on the spot 😂. was very happy and content with life, working, traveling with Daniel on credit card points and through travel deals, finally enjoying a relationship with face time after 3 years LDR before iPhones with facetime|
|2014||Work was not so great anymore as people started leaving the job and those who stayed had to deal with other people's messes. I also felt like growth stalled because I'd already learned everything I wanted to learn from this job, but I wasn't allowed to move on to the next job because I was good, I got stuff done, and the company needed someone who could get things done on this job. I now understand I was stuck in a catch-22, but I still tried to rebel. I took a 6 month unpaid leave of absence to learn how to code at the Flatiron School. met more awesome people like Hannah R. Kim and Sandy Liao Natacha Springer Yaritza Rodriguez Negron. best decision ever. got to get my brain juices flowing again and even landed a programming job offer, but I declined. I enjoyed coding and understanding how to code, but my gut told me I don't belong in such a role. I enjoy strategy and big picture thinking much more. felt like my time in construction was not over, so I went back to Turner after Flatiron School. Ended up with my first 6 figure income year even though I only worked half of it at a job because of the stock market (thanks, GMCR!). Started thinking maybe I don't have to rely on a steady paycheck for income. Also, closed on my first apartment this year and moved in with Daniel in Astoria, yay!|
|2015||Work was work and I tried my best to make the most of it. Luckily my boss Scott Walsh was super awesome and indulged me as I tried to flex my creativity and build tech solutions to improve productivity at work. Construction is a ridiculously wasteful industry given the size of its carbon footprint. I hated doing things in a dumb way just because that's "how it's always been done." The Hong Konger in me craved efficiency and valued productivity. What was the point of me being a paper pusher? While I helped the project secure LEED Gold certification, I knew how much paper, time, and money was wasted behind the scenes and I felt disillusioned by reality vs marketing gimmicks. I started thinking there must be a better way. In the summer I challenged myself to 30 straight days of hot yoga. During a savasana it dawned on me that I should go to business school. I could explore all these industries I'm interested in- tech, real estate, food, travel, hospitality, and have a socially acceptable excuse to be unemployed for 2 whole years while I try to figure it out! Studied my butt off for GMATs- this time I was able to afford test prep help, and ended up with a 760. It was so much fun to study actually, because I really just enjoy using my brain.|
|2016||Got accepted to Columbia Business School in January and was overjoyed with the feeling of liberation. I had an out from Turner, a company I once vowed to stay forever at, and the possibilities for where my life could take me suddenly opened up. I quit in June after 5 years with the company. In July, after 9 years together, Daniel proposed in the oceanfront condo we rented in Maui, and life was just beyond incredible. I've always practiced gratitude, and every year I just felt more and more blessed. I started CBS and met even more amazing people (Bayon Lee Daniel Robbins Jaemin Lee @Liz Mccue Chris Moon @Joe Gruseke Melissa Wu Jason Fan Nathalie Tadena Darpita Purohit Sofia Zamora Joy Kang). But I learned that for the past 6 years, I'd just gotten lucky with the stock market and I didn't really know what I was doing. When Trump got elected I sold off my holdings because I thought I couldn't take 2 years of no income while I was in bschool PLUS 2 years of a volatile market. Bye, NFLX at 99 and other incredibly dumb moves I made because I didn't understand how the world works. Good thing part of the reason I went to CBS was to learn exactly that.|
|2017||Spent most of my time planning my weddings and took the first summer internship I got. fortune teller who picked our wedding date told us I am meant to have two weddings in my life so we did a Chinese one in Flushing and got married on the beach at Turks and Caicos. My summer internship taught me that at small, start up companies, leadership is crucial, but at least I got a friend out of it (hi Oliver Lam!). I went into business school knowing not to get distracted by consulting and banking recruiting, but I didn't know know what I wanted to recruit for, and real estate seemed a logical choice with my background, so I pursued real estate jobs even though what I really wanted was to eventually have enough money to do my own deals. I was very active in the real estate club and worked with Robin Lore Tommy Chan Pat Banyatpiyaphod to lead a real estate trek to Hong Kong and Shanghai, where I met amazing people once again, in the form of Jason Yun April Chye Andrew Hermanto Liauw Vincent Xeus Will Miao.|
|2018||Ah, graduation. CBS was an escape from life and I wasn't quite ready to leave yet because I didn't accomplish what I wanted. I thought I'd have time to try to start my own company (I did have time, just no inspiration or motivation). I thought I'd figure out my 10 year plan before I had to say goodbye (the super risk averse mindset I had demanded I have a clear cut path to stable job title progression and salary increases). I ended up graduating without a job and was quite stressed, but bonded with super amazing people like Cindy Lin Cathy WH Cheng over our fears of becoming broke, indebted, homeless CBS grads. Daniel and I took a 10 year anniversary/birthday vacation and ran away to the Maldives (combo of points and $$ got us our first business class experiences) and I was shocked by how beautiful the world can be. Yes, our resort was nice, but the natural beauty of the island was what made it an absolute paradise. Came back home and eventually found myself the perfect job at AvalonBay working for the incredible Lindsey Romano. Life was perfect again! I got myself a proper post-MBA job with a salary to match. Then, according to my due date, I literally got pregnant the first day of work, and life would never be the same again.|
Are you still with me? what, you got nothing better to do with your time today? just kidding, I appreciate you reading this. SO, I was pregnant and couldn't believe Daniel and I were so lucky to be having a baby of our own. I'd wanted a child since forever, and after Minsi Zhu and Jeffrey Chin announced they were pregnant in Aug 2018 we finally felt like we got the go-ahead to try, not knowing how long it would take. I felt so bad that 2 months into my new job, after I came back from a pre-planned vacation, I had to tell my boss I was pregnant. It felt like I'd duped them into hiring me but it wasn't my intention. My boss and her boss and everyone at the company was super supportive, but because I wouldn't have been at the company for a year by my due date, I was only eligible for short term disability and NY paid family leave, and I wouldn't feel "right" being away for more than 3 months anyway. After all, they hired me to do a job and I didn't want to leave my team hanging. So I decided to leave. I didn't want to tell AvalonBay I'd be back after maternity leave when I couldn't guarantee it. I crunched the numbers with Daniel and we both decided to leave our jobs to focus on our baby girl. We were tired of bringing work stresses home and we didn't want to bring a beautiful baby into this world, only to cloud her vision of life with our corporate baggage. The good thing about not being tied to a timeline dictated by maternity leave is that Daniel and I got to leave our jobs 2 months before baby came, so we could cherish life as we knew it as a twosome. We went out to eat a lot because we didn't yet have to worry about packing up a baby or whether the stroller would fit in the restaurant. After each savory meal we inevitably wanted to chase it down with something sweet, so we rediscovered our love of bubble tea from our high school days. It was so much fun to eat, sip, take photos, and post it to my IG stories.
Then, Olivia came and totally changed my life. I became more woke- figuratively and literally, going from a minimum of 7 hours of peaceful sleep a night to sleeping whenever I can. Daniel and I started replacing I love yous with "here, you take a nap," and I was never more tired in my life but never felt more loved and in love. I started caring much more about the world and the environment because I needed it to stay beautiful so Olivia and future generations can experience it the way I have. I started reexamining the bubble tea I was so blissfully ignorant in consuming, not thinking twice about the plastic cups, plastic lids, and plastic straws I was tossing away after each single use. I recycle, so it means there's no problem, right? Wrong. Recycling isn't a magical system where if you sort your trash properly, plastic automatically gets processed to become reusable again. Recycling only works if there's market demand for post-consumer recyclables, so recyclers and companies are willing to pay for your trash. If demand is not there, or if the quality of your recyclable is dirty and not reusable (next time you toss a pizza box with leftover cheese in the recycling bin, know that no one else is going to manually extract the cheese from the cardboard for you, so the pizza box becomes worthless and does not get recycled), no matter how well you sort your trash, it all ends up in the incinerator or a landfill. Plastic pollution is a serious problem as plastic finds its way to our oceans and photodegrades from the sun's UV rays. The plastic breaks up into smaller pieces in the ocean, which unsuspecting marine animals swallow as food, poisoning them, and if it doesn't kill the animal, it comes back to poison us when the plastic toxin finds its way up the food chain. We can get into all the horrific statistics of how plastic pollution is killing animals, destroying ecosystems, and poisoning our planet every single second of the day, all day, every day, but it is New Year's Eve, so let me try to wrap it up.
|Today||I started bobagreen as a way to raise awareness around the plastic pollution crisis, and it's a nice bonus that I happen to love bubble tea and believe more people should learn about this fun and tasty drink. Bubble tea is not going anywhere, but all of us will have to pay the price for the accelerating rate of consumption of single-use plastics due to our human needs to take a pic and share our delightful looking drinks with our friends. The photos normalize the idea that bubble tea is served in a plastic cup with a plastic lid with a plastic straw, but it doesn't have to be this way. Before you post your next boba picture, consider consuming your bubble tea in a glass cup, with a stainless steel straw instead. Social media has the ultimate power to influence and create change. Please don't waste it by mindlessly sharing plastic bubble tea pictures like I once did. Be thoughtful about your life choices today. Future you and future generations will thank you. #gobobagreen #thanks Daniel Chin for watching baby so I can type this up!|