Christopher W. Soong
Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton
My Greatest Strength
By far my greatest strength is my ability to read my surroundings and interpret people’s feelings. I’ve always had high Emotional Intelligence (EQ), but only recently did I realize how my EQ helps me communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome business challenges, and defuse conflict!
Who Inspires Me
Public school teachers inspire me. I’ve learned that teachers have many characteristics that I strive for—leadership, patience, preparedness, storytelling, approachability, and the ability to make difficult topics easy to understand. Most important, they enjoy what they are doing, while building our next generation of leaders. Very cool.
Our Most Critical Issue
I find that Asian/Pacific Americans are typically stereotyped as back-office folks, i.e., the workers behind the scenes of a project. At Booz Allen, we are constantly working, and investing heavily, to reverse that stereotype. It will take time, but we are already seeing improvement.
Lessons I’ve Learned
Always deliver what you say you will deliver. It takes a long time to build your reputation and a second to damage it.
My Best Career Advice
Look for opportunities and take career risks now. Looking back, I wish I had taken more chances early on in my career—when there was less to lose. I had many opportunities, but for one reason or another, I chose to play it safe and let the opportunities pass. Now that I’m in the middle of my career and have a family, it is much more difficult to make significant career changes.
My Favorite Quote
“Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”
– T.H. Thompson and John Watson
I learned this quote after going through a very difficult time in my life. As I have matured, I’ve come to realize that giving others the benefit of the doubt, or a second chance, brings positive outcomes that you would never expect. I’m still perfecting this one.