Age: 22 | Height: 5’10″
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Lisa Wong is currently a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto pursuing her H. B. Sc specializing in Mental Health, Psychology.
Last year she took time out of her busy student life to start up a small marketing–based company in the beauty and health-care industry.
It is from this experience, she envisions herself scaling her passion for marketing and creativity to open up her own innovative marketing and public communications firm in the future.
Lisa has also appeared on numerous occasions public speaking and enjoys it thoroughly as one of her great strengths.
She loves being creative, meeting new people and exploring new worlds and hopefully, one day finds herself fulfilling her dreams.
Lisa has always been a great supporter and participant of volunteer and non-profit causes in her community. In the past she has been instrumental in her participation with the Canadian Cancer Society in growing awareness of cancer prevention in the Greater Toronto community.
Lisa has also dedicated her time with local organizations, such as CCYAA (Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association) in promoting youth participation in sports. With committing her time and energy to charitable causes, Lisa has pledged to keep volunteer and non-profit work as a top priority in life.
Children have always been a paramount importance to Lisa and she hopes to continue establishing a growing presence in promoting positive self-esteem and self-confidence among youth. Lisa’s philosophy in the power of positivity and giving back has created a vision of hers that one day she’ll be able to create her own non-profit foundation to stop bullying amongst children and encourage self- love and acceptance of others.
Lisa loves to stay mentally and physically active from keeping an open mind and having a keen willingness to learn to regularly playing sports and engaging in fun, adventurous physical activities. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying new foods and learning different languages. Her personal motto, “you’re only as big as your dreams” reminds Lisa to aspire the world and work hard in which, anything is truly possible.
Sponsored by: Family and Friends.
Languages spoken fluently (please include your native language if English is not your native language).
English & Cantonese
What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
My interests include a range of activities that help me stay mentally and physically active. I have a strong keenness and love to learn that has started from a very young age. Anything that is fascinating, new or rare can keep me preoccupied for a very long time! I also pride myself in being open- minded about the world which has led me to have some fairly interesting experiences. Being happy, fulfilled and curious are components to being mentally healthy, which I believe is just as critical as staying physically active. I love being spontaneous, adventurous and having new experiences which has inspired many of the activities that I join. From white-water rafting to zip-lining in Whistler to climbing Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, I’ll just about try anything that most people deem challenging.
Apart from keeping active, mentally and physically, I love to meet new people, try new foods and travelling the world. I think there is such an amazing quality about the act of travelling and having different experiences that just can’t be explained. My greatest interest is travelling to different parts of the world and educating myself culturally and emotionally what the world, literally has to offer.
List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)
This past summer 2011, I took an acting class at Austin-Tuck Studios in Vancouver with Deb Podowski. It was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. Acting is truly a beautiful art form that requires hard work and perseverance that pushes all the pre-conceived notions of ‘dramatic arts’ to the side.
In what sports, if any, have you participated?
I’m an avid volleyball and soccer player and the occasional cross- country skier. I used to play competitive volleyball in a summer league a few years ago that really taught me the values of teamwork and overcoming obstacles.
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?
Other than my parents, the one person that has had the most influence on my life is my great friend and mentor, Sosan Hua who by trade is a certified dietician and also co- chair of the Canadian Cancer Society, Chinese forum. It is not only by her qualifications that make Sosan impressive, it is also through her great heart, her humble advice and her passionate ear to listen.
I remember a few years ago when I was stuck at a very difficult fork in the road and I could barely inch forward. I was held back by indecision, confusion and mostly self- doubt; not sure what to do, if I could accomplish anything and if I could live up to my monstrous expectations. And from that, I remember Sosan being there so patient and loyal with me not only coaching but consoling me that growing carries its own pains and it’s not always physical. I remember her telling me that we can’t perfectly plan every step of our future and most times, things just fall into place when we follow our heart and do what we’re passionate about. It’s from those words that I learned to let go of things I can’t control and to focus on the things I can. I have Sosan to thank for teaching me some of the greatest lessons in life and showing by example that I can really be the amazing, successful and fulfilled woman that I set out to be.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?
The proudest personal accomplishment that I’ve had to date was the organization and execution of the Launch Party of Prestige, the marketing company I co-founded last year. In less than a month, I worked really hard and diligently with a team to put together not only an amazing event but a brand featuring some of the best up-and-coming makeup artists in Toronto. My team and I sought sponsorships, pulled together an overwhelmingly successful marketing campaign and secured a partnership with Natural Creations Salon to permanently feature our makeup-artists in house. On the night of the Launch Party at Natural Creations Salon, over 200+ guests arrived, some of my family and friends showing their support and admiration of the brand we put together.
I remember after giving an introduction to the guests and handing off the microphone to my colleague, I looked around and saw the vision of what I helped create come to life in a pool of smiles gleaming off everyone’s faces. Not only were they impressed by the company that I helped put together but they were so happy that we had done it so successfully. I remember that moment very distinctly when I felt very proud of myself, from seeing everything come together after so much hard work and sleepless nights but most of all, making my loved ones proud.
What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?
The most interesting thing about me is that I have a startling, border-line eidetic memory. It is particularly strong for memories early in my childhood, such as the time when my brother pushed me off my porch balcony not only causing me to lose all my front teeth but swallowing them too! I also remember when I was around 5 years old my brother convinced me that his invisible friend who was also a ghost named “Oscar” followed us around and lived behind our curtain. When the curtain would flicker, it meant that Oscar was mad and trying to get out.
My memory is not only extended to early childhood events but it’s particularly robust and useful for directions to places I’ve been before. I can actually visualize places and their surroundings, which comes in handy when navigating a mall!
What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?
My career ambition is to ultimately become an executive of my own marketing and communications firm. My greatest passions are being creative, public speaking and travelling which I believe are encapsulated in the marketing and advertising industry. I firmly believe that great work and inspired ideas can come from a safe, creative and collaborative atmosphere and I would love to start my own firm with that philosophy. With my background and undergraduate degree in Psychology, I believe to have a fundamental understanding of how and why individuals behave which is critical in the communications industry. I would love to take that wealth of knowledge and apply it in the marketing world by pursuing a specialized certificate in marketing management or public relations next fall at Humber College. After a few years of work experience, I foresee myself returning back to school to pursue my M.B.A. I believe being successful is taking risks and continually learning which I am undoubtedly excited and ready for.
What would be your “dream job” in life?
My “dream job” in life would to do something that is gratifying, fulfilling and fun! I love to be a part of something where I could travel, meet new people and learn new cultures while utilizing my strengths for communication. But at the end of day, I would also love to do something that is meaningful and carries a message that makes a difference. A “dream job” of mine would possibly be to be a spokesperson or a writer for an international non-profit or charitable organization.
Are you currently a student?
If yes, where?
University of Toronto
Area of study:
Mental Health, Psychology
Are you currently employed?
If yes, what is your occupation?
Server @ Frankie Tomatto’s Restaurant
Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
I was raised in East York, Toronto in the smallest house on the street, living with my parents, brother and grandparents. I remember having the upmost love for learning and looked forward to school each and every day. I believe this ingrained passion of mine came from my parents who really encouraged and was proud of my eagerness and curiosity to learn. Outside of the classroom, I participated in almost every extracurricular activity that my schedule allowed. I was on the student council and school journal for most of high school, I played alto saxophone in the band, was a member of a number of associations from the Athletic Club to Human Rights Watch and played on a few sports team. I even was the back- catcher for the softball team when I was in elementary school!
Growing up in an immigrant household where the primary language was not English was sometimes difficult. I remember feeling very anxious for student-teacher nights because I was afraid my parents wouldn’t understand. Because of this language barrier, my parents hadn’t been much of a presence for school plays or band nights that my school organized but I always understood and I knew they were proud and happy that I was involved in things that they never got to experience.
My childhood is very nostalgic for me, I remember a lot of laughter, some tears but overall many great memories filled with lots of love.
List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.
One of the most interesting but unusual jobs I’ve ever held was as a receptionist at a restaurant. One time, the accounting manager was paranoid that thieves would rummage through our trash to steal information for identity theft that he asked me to personally shred confidential documents by hand and to distribute different pieces in different garbage bags which would then be dumped in different jurisdictions of the city.
List any volunteering you have done.
I’ve volunteered in the past with Lawyers Feed the Homeless, where Osgoode Law Society opened its doors during the Christmas holidays to feed the homeless and less fortunate. This experience was such an eye opener for me that within our own city, there are so many people that not only need help but most of all, they seek company and love. I’ve also volunteered with Canadian Cancer Society, promoting and growing awareness of cancer prevention in the Toronto Chinese community. With many of the baby boomer generation aging and many of them of immigrant descent, there’s a vast majority that aren’t aware and don’t understand the dangers of cancer and the likelihood of it occurring. I’ve also dedicated my time recently in the past few years with a local organization, CCYAA (Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association) in developing and running a strong program in promoting youth participation in sports especially in the Asian communities. Sports is such an amazing avenue to develop social and teamwork skills, personal responsibility and reliability, CCYAA strives to encouraging youth to start and stay active in athletic activities.
What is your most unusual talent?
My unusual talent and one of my favorite pastimes is observing others to analyze their body language. In my past experiences, I’ve had some success in monitoring whether strangers or friends’ body language during significant events and been able to predict what they would do next or what they felt at the time. I think that body language is universal and analyzing it to understand others is a fun yet unusual talent.
Where is the most interesting place you have been?
The most interesting place I’ve been is Paris, France. I’m not sure if it’s from my love of its architecture, or the sound of the French language or my mild shock from its liberal culture but I fell in love with the city. From the exquisite fashion to the cuisine I’ve only heard about in movies, Paris was simply amazing. But what really caught my eye was visiting all the great museums, from the Louvre to the Palace of Versailles- these were sites I’ve only studied before in textbooks and when I able to finally visit them, I felt like I was living out a part of history and dream of my own.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
In ten years, I hope to be a successful entrepreneurial business woman. I envision that I will the CEO of my own marketing and public communications company dealing with some of the greatest corporate brands in the industry. When I’m not at work, I would also like to be leveraging my experience and platform to run an internationally-wide non-profit foundation setting up after school programs and workshops primarily to build and maintain a healthy mental lifestyle for children and teens. With my foundation, I aim to bring an end to bullying, to bring awareness to mental illnesses and to encourage positive self- esteem and acceptance of others.
Aside from my professional and volunteer accomplishments, in ten years, one of my greatest goals is to become a mother. Being able to raise a child of my own and to share my transformation to motherhood with my family would be an unbelievable joy.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
I think it is easy to look at ourselves and unto others and analyze our best attributes, what’s our quirkiest or most interesting traits and what we hope to accomplish in the future. But I also know it is equally important to look back and reflect on moments we wish we could take back or change, as a necessary step to grow. And my own moment in life that I wish I could go back to change would be all the occasions I missed out in embracing my Chinese heritage and mastering the Cantonese language. I find myself now at 22 years old slightly uncomfortable having to fluently converse in Chinese because of my lackluster skill. If I had known back then what I know now in my early 20’s, I would have practiced every day with my family and shared with all my friends what an amazing language and culture the Chinese community has to offer. Having and experiencing our own unique cultures and languages is the cornerstone of what makes Canada stand out internationally, above the rest. I wish I had at a younger age and I hope youth everywhere today accept, enjoy and love every aspect and color of who they are. I now embrace my Chinese Canadian heritage as a strong component of my identity and I’m more proud than I ever was.