Over the past few years, the rise in anti-Asian hate and xenophobia, combined with a global pandemic have made normal, everyday life difficult for the Chinese American and at-large AAPI community. By sharing stories and insights from those in the Chinese American community, Committee of 100 hopes to shed more light on the issue and help celebrate the amazing accomplishments from within the Chinese American community to the world at large.
The staff of Committee of 100 sat down with some of our Next Generation Leaders and asked them about their careers, what the past year has been like as a Chinese American and their hopes for the future. Committee of 100’s Next Generation Leaders program focuses on young leaders who are passionate about the organization’s mission to promote the full inclusion of Chinese Americans across society and advance the betterment of U.S.-China relations. The program was first established in 2017.
This month, we spoke with Lei Wang, an executive coach and sought-after international motivational speaker since 2010. As an executive coach and business strategist, Lei helps business leaders accelerate their careers to exciting new heights with ease and grace, lead their organizations to make a bigger impact, and connect deeper with the community they serve.
Lei is also the first Asian woman to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam, a challenge to complete all of the famed Seven Summits. It is one of the most coveted adventure achievements on earth.
Lei holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Tsinghua University in Beijing, an M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and an MBA degree in Finance and Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Those interested in connecting with Lei can find her active on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Committee of 100: As a Chinese American, what are some of the challenges you have encountered to become a leader in your respective field?
Lei: As an Executive Coach, I’m passionate about helping leaders accelerate their careers and help their organizations make a bigger impact. But coaching is yet to be fully understood and valued among Chinese American professionals.
Committee of 100: There are more than 6 million Chinese Americans in the United States today and it is one of the fastest-growing populations in the U.S. Do you feel that Chinese Americans are well represented in government, business, and other parts of society?
Lei: Chinese Americans are not well represented in high-level leadership positions in government, business, and other parts of society. This requires a cultural shift that will take generations of Chinese Americans to cultivate the desire, courage, and skill to participate fully at all levels of leadership positions.
Committee of 100: What do you believe needs to be done so that more Chinese Americans feel empowered to follow their dreams and push forward to create the programs/businesses/position they want?
Lei: From a leadership development perspective, I think Chinese Americans should start by building a strong network, encouraging and supporting each other at all levels in each organization, trade association, and community, so new or junior members get powerful support and mentoring to shorten their learning path and are inspired to pursue leadership positions.
Committee of 100: What moment or learning experience inspired you to work in your professional field?
Lei: Between 2004 and 2010, I left the traditional professional career track to pursue my dream of climbing Mount Everest. I ended up becoming the first Asian American to complete Explorer’s Grand Slam (e.g. climbing the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, and skiing to both the north and south poles.) This transformational experience inspired me to help more people break through their self-imposed limits and realize their full potential. I feel called to become an Executive Coach—helping leaders to amplify their positive impact in this world.
Committee of 100: For those Chinese Americans and AAPIs who just recently graduated college, what advice would you give to them?
Lei: Follow your heart, try new things, explore the world. Anything is possible!
Committee of 100: What do you most want to be remembered for in terms of making your mark on this world?
Lei: That I inspired and helped many leaders make a bigger impact in this world.