Hello! My name is Amy Wong — but not the one from Futurama. Yes, my name is so popular that even Futurama named one of their characters with the SAME first and last name.
Anyway, let me share more about THIS Amy Wong. I am a proud Canadian (as we all are), the mother of two rambunctious young daughters (who are 6 and 2 years old), and someone who has turned their love of marketing and entrepreneurship into a 20-year career.
This passion for marketing and entrepreneurship has taken me from Toronto to New York to Beijing to Hong Kong — which is where I have been living for the last 10 years. How did I get here?
Well, after I graduated from the Ivey School of Business at Western University in 2002, my father took me on a trip to China as a graduation gift. It was my first foray into the homeland — and it blew me away. China was developing at such a rapid and dizzying pace towards modernity. The energy was palpable and I vowed that I would return to live and work here one day. Moving halfway across the world right away would have surely given my dad a heart attack, so I thought I would start with smaller steps first.
While I was in my senior year of university, I became quite fascinated with the world of advertising. A classmate of mine had spent a summer interning at McCann Erikson. The job sounded so glamourous and I thought it would be fun to work with young people in a high-paced, creative environment. So I decided to move to the Big Apple and try my luck on Madison Avenue. As the horrific attacks of 9–11 just took place, the U.S. wasn’t too keen on giving out working visas. Luckily, I found a small advertising agency focused on the Asian American market that was willing to take a chance on me. I spent about a year here, and then ended up working at Ogilvy. A real dream come true. Here, I would meet some of the most terrific and brilliant minds in the industry, and work on some of the most high profile campaigns at the agency, including the launch of IBM Watson on Jeopardy!
About 8 years later, I started to feel that itch to move to Asia. So, I convinced my husband to pick up our bags and make our way across the ocean. Since Mandarin was a bit of a prerequisite to finding employment in Asia, we ended up going back to the student life, and studied Chinese for 6 months at the Beijing Language and Cultural University. We left the comforts that we were accustomed to in New York, and lived in an apartment near campus where lights in the hallways were sound activated (a pretty good way to conserve energy though!), and the water from the shower drained into a drain, only to exit at the side of the bath tub, in order to drain into another drain in the floor. Despite these minor discomforts, it was an amazing experience. Besides the local students from China, we would meet students from all over the world, including US, Canada, Russia, Mongolia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Korea (North and South), and even Africa! Clearly, we weren’t the only ones that saw what China had to offer.
By the end of our 6-month certificate program, we reached a pretty decent level of Mandarin, and decided to return to the working world. With the help of an old IBM client from Ogilvy, I ended up with a marketing role at Lenovo in Hong Kong, and spent 9 years creating and launching campaigns for their portfolio of products that ranged from ThinkPads to YOGA Laptops to MOTO phones to Star Wars: Jedi Challenges AR headsets.
Only recently, I decided to look past my fears and doubts, and begin the next chapter in my life — to fulfill my lifelong dream of starting my own business. My company is called Dreamwriters, a self-publishing platform for young creative writers and artists. It’s a place where kids of any age (or kids at heart) can write and publish beautiful softcover books of their stories. My hope is that the platform becomes a foundation for lifelong creative fulfillment, while learning literacy and critical thinking skills in the process. I am aiming to launch a beta site in the next month or so — and this has been both exciting and nerve-wracking.
To keep me calm, I decided to take up Thai Boxing, where I try my very best to keep my innards, well, in. Besides the obvious health benefits, it also makes my husband think twice about crossing me!