2016年3月22日 星期二

第899篇:《驕傲》

2016.03.20嘉珈在論壇上演講
上週日下午,到La Plaza出席麥基爾大學同學會舉辦的一場論壇,主題是「成功之秘訣」。獲邀上台演講的共有七位,包括會計師、工程師、律師、醫生、教授,以及公司主管等,他們都是經驗豐富的專業人士。當中唯一的女性,就是我的長女,LRMM律師事務所的Selena Lu 盧嘉珈律師。


2014.11.22和女兒在滿地可國際書展上與杜魯多(2015.11.04起出任總理)合影
一般來說,出席這樣的論壇、研討會、座談會,是相當枯燥乏味的,雖然票價只是二十來元,肯抽出時間去聽,也實在難得。出乎我意料之外,那天會議廳座無虛席,大部份都是年青的麥大學生,而且還有不少亞裔面孔。首先上台的是一位註冊會計師,他用了大量幻燈片,像背書一樣如瀑布瀉下,都是經驗之談,聽完演講,就像讀了一本厚厚的書,好累!
嘉珈是論壇上七位專業人士中唯一的女性、華裔律師
當回答幾個提問後,就輪到第二位上台。從中年男子,換成年青女性,而且完全不用幻燈片,也沒有講稿,又不是僵硬的站在講台,而是像蘋果電腦的喬布斯,自由自在,來回走動,將沉悶的氣氛弄活起來。聽眾掌聲不斷,笑聲此起彼落,她忽而停頓,問座中一些問題,忽而靜默沉思,讓大家注意力集中,整個演講,沒有冷場,只有高潮,這令我對女兒有了「果然與眾不同」的看法。(演講錄影帶)
由滿地可騎自行車到魁北克市,為癌症基金籌款。
她很自信,一上台就控制了氣場。我在求職過程中遇到的困難是:我太年輕,我是女性,我是華裔。今天,為什麼我能站在這裡?因為,我很年輕,我是女性,我是華裔!每年法律系1000名畢業的新生,只有50名能順利當上執業律師,約佔百分之五。在魁北克,全省總共有25000名律師,其中只有64名是華裔,比率是百份之零點二五。
每年的生日禮物就是書
她回顧了作為華裔傳統家庭的女兒,所經歷的種種考驗:我是8月31日晚上10點40分催生的,我爸爸一定要我趕在9月1日前出生,否則就跟不上入學日期而必須延誤一年。我的童年與其他女孩子不同,她們會收到芭比娃娃和其他玩具,但我每年的生日或聖誕禮物就是書、字典、百科全書光碟。我和妹妹不是玩「煮飯仔」,而是背乘數表、看圖識字、串字遊戲、有趣問答。爸爸從小就灌輸我,如果不讀書,就不是他的女兒,如果考試拿不出好成績,不能考入麥基爾大學,就不要叫他爸爸!他的女兒一定麥大畢業!

女兒幾乎是在對我講話。她說,我爸爸告訴我,下等人放棄機會,中等人把握機會,上等人創造機會!我就一直在創造機會,因為我不是富二代、官二代,機會不會來找我。我既沒有當法官或律師的父母,也沒有一生下來就有花不完的錢任我揮霍。我在麥大國際貿易系畢業,在銀行當了一年經理,又到蒙大再讀法律系,畢業後為了考取律師執照,向超過五十家律師事務所發出求職信,收到了27封拒絕信。我並沒有氣餒,一直在努力,我能說流利的中英法語,我是中國女孩,憑著這優勢,最後,終於獲得滿地可一家規模頗大的律師樓錄取,順利通過考試,成為該律師樓九十幾位律師中唯一的華裔女性。憑著自信,我代表律師樓負責接待中國上海青年企業家代表團,並獲選參加世界傑出青年會議,出席北京、上海、杭州等活動。
2015-05-23於YCPA大會上演講
她講到成功的要素,就是要建立人脈關係。這幾年,她參加了大量社會公益活動,例如,踏自行車由滿地可到魁北克市為癌症基金籌款七萬餘,又參與創建律師婦女協會,還出任銀行董事、夢湖園基金會理事、獎學金評審委員等,並當選為滿地可華裔青年專業協會YCPA主席。她說道,雖然每天十二小時工作,放工時已經晚上八點,外面大風雪,她還會驅車去參加朋友的生日會,即使逗留短短半個鐘頭,這份誠意已經令友誼加深。她對自己的要求很高,制定指標,訂下計劃,按部就班,為了實現目標,不懈努力。她談到每次出庭前的準備工作,離開法庭後如何總結經驗教訓,都是點滴積累,沒有捷徑,只有一步一個腳印,闖出自己一片新天地來。成功的因素很多,先天的遺傳基因,後天的努力,還有兩樣,她舉雙手,一個是導師,一個是支持者、贊助者。除了懂什麼,更重要的是認識誰?她承認上私立中學,讓她很容易建立穩健的人脈網絡,對今後事業的發展幫助很大。有好的學習環境,同學的父母都是專業人士、政壇精英,有了這外來因素,要成功就多了一項優勢。最後,還要靠一點點運氣!能逢凶化吉,有驚無險,命運也算在裡面。有朋友勸她從政,希望她能入選國會議員,成為華裔女政治家,這就要有天時、地利、人和的配合,缺一不可。
2016.05.28於YCPA東方幽蘭晚會上致開幕詞
離開會場,我心中一直在想,過去對女兒實在太苛刻,很少當面稱讚她。所以,在她眼中,我是「虎爸」。很久以前我曾經寫過一篇稱讚女兒的文章,隨即招來指責,謂「她在掌聲中長大,不是件好事」,不應該讚譽。其實,老外賞罰分明,沒有什麼「謙虛謹慎、戒驕戒躁」的緊箍咒。今天,女兒的成就完全是她自己努力爭取的,對她的肯定,又何必「避嫌」,擔心眾說紛紜呢?除了鼓勵,更應該支持!她給妹妹做了榜樣,小女兒也是麥大食品科畢業,她受姐姐的影響很大,曾出任麥大食品科學學會主席,在卡夫公司研發部工作多年,研製成功多種乳酪新產品,一直往返芝加哥、匹茲堡,日內將會在舊金山大展拳腳。筆者已屆老年,膝下兩女能成功,堪慰老懷矣!若問我今生有何作為?答曰:滿屋藏書,有妻賢慧,兩女成材,詩文陪伴,夫復何求?
(2016.03.25《華僑新報》第1309期)

附:嘉珈演講辭(全文)

Envisioning Success

Growing up in Quebec, there were a few successful female role models, Asian role models were simply non-existent.

Especially in the legal field, it is still mainly a white male dominated world: the “old boys club”! While 70% of the law students are women, 50% become lawyers and only 19% of become partners in law firms. As a lawyer of Chinese descent, I am one of the 64 lawyers of Chinese descent out of the 25,000 lawyers in Quebec.

What are the odds that I would be standing before hundreds of McGill students telling them about success? The fact that I am the only female speaker today shows that we still have a long way to go!

To succeed as a lawyer in Quebec, I have 3 strikes against me: strike 1: I am young, strike 2: I am a woman and strike 3: I am Chinese.

I am here for 3 reasons: 1) I am a young 2) I am a women and 3) I am Chinese.

Interestedly, growing up, I was not aware of these odds against up… My parents convinced me that I was special and that I could become whatever I want in life, as long as I would become a doctor, a dentist or a lawyer.

I was born on August 31st 1983 at 10:40 p.m. at Royal Alexandra hospital in Edmonton.  My Dad was pressuring my Mom to give birth to me before midnight or else, I would not be able to enroll in school on time for September 1st! There was no doubt that my Asian dad already had high expectations for me.  While other kids were playing with Barbie dolls, every year, I received books and encyclopedias as birthday gifts year after year. My idea of fun was teaching my younger sister multiplication tables!

As far as I can remember, my goal was to study at McGill University. I can’t really tell whether it’s my parents’ dream or my own but I was convinced that without a University degree I would end up on the streets!

Very fast, I learned that good grades weren’t enough to get my dream job.

There are only 50 students out of the 1000 law students that would get an articling position in a big law firm.  That is 5%!

To get hire, you obviously need the grades, you need to have extra-curricular activities, preferably, leadership positions.  You need to speak at least 3 languages and possibly well traveled a student exchange. It is also good to know a few people in the field.

I absolutely had no clue of any of this!

I got rejected 27 times but I never gave up!

My Dad always told me that there are 3 types of people:
1) At the bottom, there are people who are offered opportunities but let them go
2) Most of the people are to seize the opportunity
3) At the top, the most successful people are those who create opportunities from themselves

A few years ago, I came up with an idea. I envisioned myself as a company.  I decided to build my own start-up and become the CEO: Selena inc.

Today, I will tell how I created my own opportunity with Selena inc. I had a business plan, a great team and a killer marketing plan.

First of all, I created a business plan for Selena inc.

The only limited resource that we have is Time! We only have 24 hours per day! Each decision we make, each relationship we nurture, each projet we undertake take investment of time. A plan allowed me to have a clear vision and be efficient with time.

Also, a plan is essential because it helped me stayed focus and identify what I really wanted.  I would tell everybody with my plan. It made me committed to my plan and made sure that all my decisions would align with my objectives.

Basically, I did my own SWOT analysis: I identified internal factors that defined me: my strengths and my weaknesses then identified external factors on which I did not have the control: opportunities and threats.

I’ve asked myself how where I wanted to be in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years. I have pinpointed my priorities. I look at my available resources. I have studied the market.

I wanted to become a commercial lawyer but I was practicing litigation and represented insurance companies in construction law files.  It was 2 opposite practice.

I knew that I am one of the very few lawyers that knew how to speak Chinese and that I had network in this community. My weaknesses were that I knew nothing about commercial law. I had the opportunity to develop the Chinese market but the economy was bad for a commercial lawyer.

I knew that I needed a team to help me achieve my goal.

In every company, the human resources are key to its success.  In Selena inc., there are 3 parts: the board members, the executives and the team!

The board members of company are the foundation of Selena inc.  They helped me define who I am.  I know that I am able to tackle any crazy challenge.  If I failed, they will always be there to help me rebuild Selena inc. In my case, it’s my Dad, my Mom, my sister and my husband.

Friends are family members that we choose.  They can also become board members.

Within your human resources, there are 2 positions that are really important to fill to ensure the success of Selena inc.: the mentor and the sponsor. Mentors and sponsors serve different purposes, but their end goal is the same: to support you in achieving your goals.

A lot of you know what is a mentor, it’s a source of guidance and advice. It’s difficult to ask someone to be your mentor if they don’t know who you are, because a mentorship needs to be about connection, chemistry, and trust.  You may have more than one mentor in different aspects of your life!

You won’t always know who your sponsors are, but they are people who will advocate for you when you need to be more visible.  It’s someone who will get out of their way for you.

They will open doors for you!

For a company to grow and to be successful, you need a team. There is an expression that says that you need a village a raise a baby. The team of Selena inc. is my network! It takes time and effort to build a network but it is the most important resources for your success. The earlier your start, the easier it will be.  The fact that you are here on a Sunday afternoon listening to conference speakers on success is already a great step!

How? It’s always important to stick to your business plan and know where you want to be.  It does not have to be related to your field of work. It’s important that you are passionate about the projects because it’s often volunteering work when you start.

The best way to build a network is to get involve! Being a member of an association is not enough.  You need to accomplish something.  One of my mentor told me to never waste my time in an organization where I did not aspire to become the president.

My friends, my colleagues, my business partners are part of my network.  They are the human capital of Selena inc.

In 2014, I have decided to ride from Montreal to Quebec on a bike to raise money for Cancer. My network taught me ride a bike, where to find the best deal for my bike and helped me raise 70 000$ in a few months!

Once you have your team, you are ready to go!

Finally, for your company to be successful, you need to promote your company with proper marketing strategy.  Hear me out: STOP being humble!!! If you don’t tell people about your accomplishments, nobody will!!! As a woman and an Asian, it’s against my nature to brag but to become a leader in the Western business world, you need to scream out loud your accomplishments.

Chinese have been established in Montreal for over 200 years.  Despite being known as over-achievers and successful professionals and entrepreneurs, there are still few Chinese executives or political leaders in Montreal. As President of the Young Professional Association, I wanted to change the statistics by helping our members to rise in influential circles of Quebec.

YCPA is a non-for-profit association that has been founded in 1999 by Mr. Kelvin Mo. Throughout the years, YCPA has set high standards to establish itself as a key institution within the business community and across the three tiers of government.  We are helping our members by providing them with a strong network, a leadership and mentorship program.  We have a quarterly magazine where we write about success stories of our members. We have a Recognition award for the professional of the year, the student of the year and also the volunteer of the year.  All these projects are led by passionate and talented volunteers who believe that we want to build a strong legacy for future generations to come!

I took my Dad advice and I create my own opportunity. I became the President of the Young Chinese Professionals Association. This is how I branded Selena inc.: I am a Young, Women leader for the Chinese communities!  Last year, I integrated the commercial team of Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon because I was able to build a commercial portfolio made up of clients from my network and my branding.

I encourage you all to create your own opportunities and become the best version of yourself. Take your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. I look forward to learn more about your inc.