I grew up in Colonial Hong Kong as a third-class citizen, below the middle stratum of government administrators and merchants, and the elite British colonists on top. We pledged allegiance to the Queen of England. The world was like the sky the little frog saw at the bottom of the well—blue, beautiful, and wide—as wide as the opening of the well.
My family did not have enough money to send me to college. I yearned for higher education and was devastated. I volunteered at the local Caritas Center to help the homeless, ex-drug addicts, and society’s untouchables. Then, at an international convention, American delegates from the White House and the United Nations noticed my work attitude; they were impressed and invited me to visit America. The little frog finally jumped out from the bottom of the well, saw and marveled at the sky’s expanse.
America opened new doors of opportunities for me. I studied hard, became a lawyer, argued against Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and won precedential cases under immigration and nationality law.
The year I got my first law degree, I helped to found the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC) to educate and give a unified, clarion voice for the community, level the playing field, and create opportunities in the mainstream. Through this, I see the inequities that women in business experience—from the entrepreneurial trenches to corporate boardrooms—as they struggle to reach the summit of success.
When very few women break the glass ceiling, I believe it is for the lack of support and opportunities, not the lack of talent. If we are to remain competitive in the global marketplace where at least half of the consumer purchasing decisions are made by women, we need more women in the board room.
Make mentorship the cornerstone of every company. Create a pipeline of women leaders. Promote executive sponsorship from the top. Women at the top should not be afraid to welcome other women into the fold, whatever age they may be. Let us support and celebrate advancement of other women to inspire success.
This little frog’s journey has made me a better daughter, wife, mother, and citizen. Before, the signposts to success were hidden from me. Today, through education and working together, women could achieve parity in the workplace with the best and brightest the corporate world has to offer.