I came to Canada from Taiwan with my family in 1992. My father was worried because I was educated as a marine biologist. He didn’t think it was a good fit for me to be working with a bunch of men on the sea, in a boat, to spend months doing research. So he said to me, “Go get a degree and find a job in an office.” So that’s what happened to me. I went to the Bank, gave them a deposit slip with my resume, and I was hired. That was twenty-some years ago. That’s the short version of the story.
When I arrived in Vancouver, I was unable to speak any English. I enrolled in Masters of Business Administration at the University of British Columbia. There were two students in my class, me, and a fellow from Africa. He spoke French, I spoke Chinese. Of course we did not communicate very well. So from that day to now, this has been quite a journey for me to finally be able to speak on a stage to an audience, in English, and to share my message in writing.
When I married, the first challenge came. My son was born with the special needs. I wasn’t prepared for that. Not financially. Not emotionally. I was desperate to find help. It’s very dear to me, this story, because I tried to find a hero to save me, to save my family, to save my son. He was the only grandson in our family at that time. Some people thought I had done something wrong, like eat the wrong thing. It was devastating.
I needed a hero, so, that’s what I became. I became my own hero.
When I was a student, I listened to many people’s goals. Everybody has a dream. My dream was to become an international entrepreneur; I wanted to own a bank. After my son was born, everything changed. The financial planning world, the 25 to 30 years of work and retire at 65, that’s not my goal anymore. What woke me up during the night is: what’s going to take care of my son when I’m not there? This question kept me awake, and I could not sleep. I had a very stable job in the bank, and then five years ago I decided to do something different for myself and for my family with special needs. So my goal is really to make sure that families with special needs have a comfortable financial future. If I can be there helping them, I will be there, because that is my personal belief of what is important.
I had a vision for my business. I am a woman, I trade stocks on Wall Street and Bay Street. I’m Asian and I speak Chinese. The portfolio somehow didn’t fit. So in reviewing my priorities, I saw three areas of focus in my life: To support women in business, to support families with special needs, and to support multi-culture communities.
Finally, five years ago at age 41, I decided to begin my third career. I was Marine Biologist, I became a banker, and then I became a stock broker. Now I am a financial consultant, my fourth career.
I’m writing today to offer this to you, that you are the one to make the change you need in your life. To care for yourself and love yourself, so you are available for your family and community. Today is the day. You’re going to make a difference, in your life, and in the lives of other people.
It’s time to be your own hero, because everyone is busy trying to save themselves.
Jolene Hung, a financial consultant with Investors Group, has been working in the financial industry since 1996. She has held numerous banking positions, including branch manager and investment advisor. She has a child with special abilities, which inspires her to help other families in similar situations. Jolene empowers women in business and promotes financial literacy through workshops and seminars. Jolene is often a featured speaker at events and is fluent in English and Mandarin.