I am so grateful to these mentors. Their leadership has been a great example to me and has helped me grow. I would not be where I am today without them.
In 1998, Bill taught me managerial accounting when I pursued my undergraduate degree in Accounting and Management Information Systems at SJSU. I surprised him in several ways and he hired me to be his teaching assistant after I passed his class with perfect scores in all of his quizzes and exams.
Bill’s class was one of the most memorable classes as he used to work as CFO and corporate controller before he started his teaching career. Bill emphasized business ethics and encouraged all students to keep that in mind before we joined the workforce. Bill devoted the past 20 years to teaching honors programs at SJSU and raised many finance / accounting professionals in Silicon Valley. I continue to reach out to him for coaching.
In addition, Bill is a very good racquetball player. We played against each other 20 years ago and recently he still won a couple of games when we played at City Sport gym at San Jose. Bill set the tone for my accounting and finance career at the very beginning of my American Dream. I was determined to be like him, to live an ethical and honorable life and to do something good and useful to make a difference in this world.
I first met Dave was at a racquetball tournament about 10 years ago. We struck up an immediate affinity, and we have actively continued our friendship to the present day. Dave and his son John Ellis both coached me how to play better racquetball. In addition, Dave and I played mixed doubles together in several racquetball tournaments at the “A” level and even won at least two of them.
At my wedding to Owen, Dave conducted the ceremony with his wife Pat together. After that, we have had lots of stimulating discussions on a great variety of subjects and Dave continues to provide tips to both Owen and I so we can play better. Dave and Pat devoted the past 20 years or more to the racquetball community. Dave has been the key person who has nurtured countless junior champions at State, National, and International levels. Dave has created a phenomenon for the City of Stockton, California where most of the world famous junior champions were raised by the Ellis family. Dave has been the USA National Racquetball Team Coach for the past 15 years. He is truly an inspiration to all the players around the world.
I first got to know Andy was through BECA (Bay Area Ethics and Compliance Association) event when he was a guest speaker and a promoter for helping the compliance community build data analytics. Andy is a frequent speaker at SCCE (Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics) and I have had the opportunities in learning from him at least twice during his presentation of case studies.
Over the past two years, I reached out to Andy for career advice and general discussions, Andy was very generous with his time and his own network by referring me to some of his trusted business partners. Andy does not have any ego and he has endless wisdom in critical thinking and non-conventional problem solving approach. I think of Andy when I run into a difficult situation and I ask myself what Andy would do if Andy faced this issue…I am very blessed for having the opportunity to get to know Andy and learn from him.
I encountered three difficult career changes during my recent 10-year career in working for Cisco, Oracle, and now on my own. Ed has always been there for me. Given his 30+ years of Internal Audit Executive experience in high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, he has been a great source of advice for me and I have been very fortunate to benefit from what he has learned in his successful career.
Ed served as a board member at the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) San Jose Chapter for 14 years and he has been a well-known member of the Research Foundation Board of Trustees for the global IIA to build and promote resources and publications to empower and serve auditors around the world. I don’t know what I can do for Ed in return as he never asks for anything from me. I feel the best way to reward his investment in me is to invest in others and to make a difference in other people’s lives and careers.
Kimberly coached me in both private and public (team) settings when I was going through a critical transition: from a full-time employee at Corporate America to a consultant. Kimberly taught me how to think “Big”. With her encouragement, I came up with my “Big” statement: “When I’m big, I’m the dragon with lipstick and high heels!” She video-taped it so I can listen to it in case I forget to be Big and being Big.
Kimberly was KPMG national partner for over 10 years and a senior manager for PWC over 12 years. Kimberly has been coaching people throughout her public accounting career. She never stopped learning and continued to pursue certifications after she retired from Big 4 firms: She is a Certified Co-Active Professional Coach (CTI), Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Professional Keynote Speaker and Facilitator. Kimberly inspired me to go back to school to learn new skills so that I can better serve my clients. Currently I’m pursuing the one-year certification program “Database and Data Analytics” at UCSC Silicon Valley Extension.
Paul interviewed me for my first job in Internal Audit profession back in WebEx Communications, Inc in 2006. At that time, I had no internal audit experience and my resume showed my changing job three times during the three year period. Paul checked all the references including talking to one of my accounting professors at San Jose State University, manager at IBM, and the hiring partner at Grant Thornton. After I was hired, I learned so much from Paul that I continue to apply what I learned even today. Both Paul and I integrated into Cisco Internal Audit department after Cisco acquired WebEx in 2007. We continued to work together in several audit projects before Paul decided to retire in 2009.
I continue to check in with Paul at least once a year (sometimes twice or three times a year). Paul continues to provide coaching and mentoring over the past years. His intelligence, unquestionable integrity, sense of humor, and generosity of his time have made a huge difference in my life and career.
Len recruited me to be one of the Board members for Bay Area Ethics and Compliance Association in 2015. Together we worked with other board members to host quarterly and annual events to help build a strong compliance and ethics community by connecting both in-house attorneys and compliance providers.
During the past two years, I have learned a lot from Len who has exceptional leadership skills and communication skills. I observed how Len actively listened to different opinions, how he articulated complex situations into simple and easy understood language, and how he led a diverse team in BECA board and effectively made several changes.
Although I’m not an attorney, I’m grateful for Len’s generosity of his time, candid feedback, and his coaching through “Leading by Example”.
I got to know Candice at the SCCE conference in 2015 when I was audit director at Oracle. Candice is the CEO of Infortal Worldwide. Over the past 32 years, she has built a solid international investigation practice and she is a frequent speaker at Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics and National Association of Corporate Directors (SCCE).
Over the past three years, we have met many times in sharing our practices, discussing business challenges, and most recently she invested a lot of time in coaching me on how to make the transition from being a full-time employee to a business owner. She gives me courage and tips to pursue my new consulting career. Candice is very candid about the difficulties and potential obstacles which I will face. She reaches out to her own network to help me market my practices. I am very blessed to have her as my mentor, a dear friend, and a role model.
Ever since I attended Jerry’s “How to be a Consultant” one-day workshop, I started following his teaching. His philosophy of “marketing without selling”, “making money through generosity”, “telling the truth in a way that helps” really resonated with me. I approached him for one hour coaching session before I kicked off my consulting career. I offered to pay for his time but Jerry refused. The meeting went on for more than two hours as our discussion topics went beyond how to start a consulting career.
Our shared passions for process improvement and how to increase the effectiveness for people and companies connected us so well that Jerry told me he’d like to treat me as a peer. I was so flattered by Jerry’s comment and his generosity. Jerry is one of the few experienced consultants who is not afraid of letting others take away his ideas, approaches, and processes. Jerry has refused some clients in the past due to unethical behavior and I salute to his courage and integrity. Now that I’m a consultant, I hope I can help him carry on his legacy of helping organizations in Silicon Valley and around the world.
Thank you to all my mentors.