Yield Enhancement Engineer in DMOS 5, one of the fabrication facilities at TI, Texas Instruments
What You’d Be Surprised to Know about Me
When I was in school, one of my favorite subjects was art because I loved to draw and paint. I even took an oil painting class in college to satisfy my creative side. There is a certain joy to painting, because you are transforming a blank canvas into a something beautiful and special. These days, I satisfy this artistic hunger by working on remodeling projects around my home. In essence, my home has become my blank canvas—remodeling it room by room has been challenging, but the results have been extremely gratifying.
My Greatest Strength
When I am passionate about an idea, I commit to it fully and follow through until I see results. During the past five years, I have developed a special passion for community service—especially mentoring local youth in a wide range of topics, such as college preparation, study techniques, coping with failure, improving parent-student relationships, and building self-confidence.
Most recently, I created a youth leadership program for the Asian-American community in Dallas, because I saw the need for stronger leadership skills in this community. Intended for seventh- through twelfth-grade students, the program focuses on developing leadership qualities in Asian-American youth. Because Asian-Americans are often brought up in a culture where deference is valued, Asian-Americans are sometimes perceived to be more reserved and less inclined to speak up. But I have learned that leadership requires taking personal initiative, always thinking about how an organization can work differently, stepping outside your comfort zone, and finding a balance between humility and self-assertion.
The leadership program I developed teaches students how to retain their values, while effectively projecting their leadership skills. It also teaches communication skills, public speaking, the concept of servant leadership, self-confidence, and the importance of community service. We’ve had an overwhelming demand for participation, and plan to expand the program to other communities. Texas Instruments is contributing through employee engagement and helping to support funding through the Korean-American Professional Network.
Our Most Critical Issue
I believe that empowering Asian-American citizens to be more engaged in our community is important. The youth leadership program helps define and explain the concept of leadership. It’s a vague word, so we break it down and allow students to discuss various aspects of being a leader. Service and volunteerism are two key activities that can help an individual become a stronger leader. In order to serve other people, one must understand their needs and transform that understanding into action.
In one student exercise, we ask, “If you could change one thing about your community, what would it be?” The students then form groups and brainstorm about that question, propose a change, and explain how they would execute the idea. They consider budget, approvals, working with local government, and other issues one might address in the real world.
Another value I’m trying to instill in students is an appreciation of diversity. In grade school, we often see ethnicities stay within their own social group. I want to find ways to break down those barriers. I’m working to network a group of Dallas Korean-American students and a group of Dallas African-American students from different schools to encourage them to understand the value that can come from unifying a community and volunteering.
What Inspires Me
The belief that I can have a positive impact on someone’s life inspires me. When I was in college I learned of the joys and rewards of volunteering. Austin College encouraged students to volunteer and introduced me to the concept of servant leadership. It motivated me to reach out to those less fortunate in my community. When I’m recruiting others to volunteer or get more involved, I tell them that they will get back 10 times what they put in. It’s inspiring to see how one can help make an impact. It is my belief that once you experience this, you’re a volunteer for life.
Lessons I’ve Learned
The greatest lesson I’ve learned is to keep a positive attitude. The day-to-day of your job, along with life stresses, can make that a challenge sometimes. But I’ve learned it’s important to stay calm—especially when you’re in a crisis—and remain positive. As a leader, everything you say and do sends signals to your team and the people around you. Your team and employees feed off of that, and your reaction to a situation impacts others around you.
My Best Career Advice
I’ve worked with many recent college graduates during my time at TI, and the advice I give them is this: Figuring out the technical aspects of your job will come, but not everyone will teach you how to have the right attitude. Often, you have to intentionally work on your attitude in order to have the right outlook about your professional and personal life. If you start off your career with the right attitude, it will carry you over the long haul. Focus on maintaining a good attitude, and more often than not, everything else will fall into place.