At the Verizon Visionaries Conference last week at Webster Hall
When you ask a young Asian American who their favorite Asian American role model is, they usually reply with a very long thinking pause and/or a blank stare.
“Um…Lucy Liu?” someone finally, (albeit hesitantly) offers.
Then we collectively sigh, look at each other, and shrug in disappointed defeat. That’s when I usually clear my throat and offer in consolation, “I know guys. But that’s why we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Luckily for all of us, the Visionaries Conference happened last week. A few days beforehand, MYX TV asked me to cover the event, and I was thrilled. In the span of a few hours, I was re-energized, re-ignited, and found some of the most inspirational Asian Americans sitting in the same room as me.
These weren’t just any ordinary Asians. The way their stories sounded, they might as well have had superpowers.
Left, Teddy Zee, Right, Cung Le
There was Cung Le, a refugee from Vietnam turned martial artist turned movie star. Suchin Pak, former MTV news correspondent and global journalist using media as a platform to champion social causes. Jenny Shimizu, supermodel and agent, moonlighting as a mechanic (she’s badass, I tell you). Christine Gambito, (better known as Happy Slip), an internet personality with millions and millions of viewers- we’ll see her on SNL one day. Then there was Teddy Zee, one of Hollywood’s greatest players, producers, and, as this evening proved, guru of self-actualizing dreams. Teddy gave Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, and Matthew Perry their first Hollywood roles, and that night, he gave me and many others, a renewed courage to blaze an uncharted path.
Jenny Shimizu, Suchin Pak, Christine Gambito
For many of us, we become afraid to pursue our passions. And why wouldn’t we? We were raised in a culture that discouraged anything outside of the conventional- the children of immigrant parents, we were bred to choose one of three options: medicine, law, or engineering.
But as these speakers proved, doing what you love pays off. Doing what you love is the most important plan. As Teddy repeated again and again, “Plan B distracts you from Plan A. Stick to Plan A.” Watching these speakers share their stories, from their childhood as immigrants and refugees, growing up Asian, fighting for their dreams (and with their parents), then eventually coming out on the other side, far more successful than they had ever dreamed, confirmed for me the inevitable success that you can get when you follow the intuition you have inside.
Something else Teddy said struck a chord in me: He said, “Life is like a movie. The greatest stories often have the greatest obstacles.”
For those of us out there continuing to push on for a dream, keep going. As these visionaries prove, there is a happy ending destined for all of us. Godspeed.
I thank these speakers so much for being who they are, and showing the world the best of them.
To learn more about about the Visionaries Conference, Click HERE.blog comments powered by Disqus
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