President, Tsai Communications, Portland
President, Northwest China Council
Vice president, Asian American Business Alliance
"I AM VERY SERIOUS— about life and business. We Chinese work hard for success because it buys us things; it takes care of our parents and children. I came from nothing. I lived in a house on stilts in northern Borneo, but I had a beautiful, educated mother. She made sure we didn’t look poor, and she expected me to be perfect. As the daughter of a Chinese mother and an Australian-born Chinese father growing up in Malaysia, I learned from a very early age how to work among many cultures. Westerners who go to China don’t know the culture, so my job is to educate them to help them be successful. I also want to help Portland’s Asian community be successful. It needs to be heard, we need to be at the table. I’m so firm in my commitments that I’ve been called a dragon lady, but Chinese culture says you do what you say you’re going to do. I happen to have been born in the Year of the Dragon, so maybe it’s fitting!"
Photo by Lincoln Ross Barbour