“From experience: imposter syndrome can be an outfit in constant rotation in your wardrobe. Fuck it, embrace it, own it, be it.” — Stacey Mulcahy @bitchwhocodes
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Li. I’m currently the Head of Operations at this little outlet called Major League Hacking (MLH), the official student hackathon league. Each year, we power over 250 weekend-long invention competitions that inspire innovation, cultivate communities, and teach computer science skills to more than 65,000 students around the world.
My team and I work closely with student hackathon organizers from day zero to help them put on the best possible hackathons. My role is mainly making sure the trains run on time…and shouting “I LOVE YOUR SHIRT!” at folks wearing MLH shirts.
Fun facts: I’m a 1.5 generation immigrant and I’m allergic to negativity (smiles).
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My list is endless but all the entrepreneurs / self-starters out there who started from zero to build a product or service inspire me the most. I’m talking about all the Etsy sellers and the individuals that launch projects on Kickstarter.
One of my favorite entrepreneurs said, “When you treat your life as if it were a business that you need to manage then you will achieve great success.” In a way, I run a scrappy startup — it’s called Li Chen.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Recently, the Hamilton soundtrack (especially My Shot).
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I have many titles and these titles are either relationship-based (Helen’s sister) or identity-based (Asian American). The challenge for me is to have it all while still being Li.
I’m still figuring it out but I know for sure the first step is to acknowledge each of these titles and ask myself what is it that I want to achieve. As a sister, I want to be Helen’s role model. As Head of Ops at MLH, I want to produce high quality work. As Li, I want to add value to those around me. At my last job when I didn’t put enough thought into what I want, I decided to quit and start over.
Consult business operations / management with companies of all sizes and types.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
You’ll get asked about what’s it like to be a woman working in your industry or how do you deal with challenges of being a women in your industry. I absolutely agree and love Shonda Rhimes’ response: “I don’t really have time to worry about the fact that somebody else has a problem with the fact that I have a vagina.”
My approach has always been show, don’t tell. I don’t spend time making it known that I worked on a project.