Power 5 Interview - Winnie Hsu (she/her/hers)
We are pleased to introduce you to Winnie Hsu (she/her/hers) who is one of our WIL Community Partners.
What are you most passionate about?
I believe passion comes from our life’s purposes when we know who we are and why we are born on this earth.
My life motto is simple; it has never changed since I was 15. It made my life, family and business choice easy, as I use it as my Principal Quality Practice Guideline.
Live a life with no regrets.
Positively influence anyone across my life path.
Today at age 60, I am most passionate about seeing other people find meaningful work in everyday life and be kind to themselves and others.
And see more people building meaningful relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and business associates as a community.
The social impact foundation V2RF that I founded with a few co-founders gave me a place to realize this passion on a bigger scale. Therefore, we invite many young people and newcomers who have entrepreneurial minds to lead and use their creative minds, their innovation to grow this foundation as their startup, so they can learn firsthand how to start, operate, find the right team, and develop the right programs and services our community inside the V2RF playground to hone their skills to bring their ideas and vision to reality in future.
It gives me the most satisfaction to watch those women, youth and newcomers to Canada become confident leaders, and I appreciate the different worldviews they bring to V2RF from around the world.
Who is your greatest role model?
My mom and dad. They were in North Korea for three years with the Chinese Army at age 15 during the Korean War, and they got sent to a Re-education camp for five years at age 35, with me at age six during China’s Cultural Revolution. However, I never heard they complied with much unfair treatment and hardships. Instead, they still have a positive outlook on life, trust in people, and find meaning in daily work.
Their actions demonstrated to my sister and me that life doesn't always turn out as you planned; resilience and adapting to the changes will lead you to a better result. They also taught us never to stop believing in people and building meaningful relationships, and the world is beautiful and worth our effort to make it a better place for all human beings.
My mom wrote a book with Dad about their life and how to build a family culture that will last for generations.
The book was published in China in 2008 and translated into English in 2022. Here is the English book link to the Amazon book. This book will be our family’s heirloom and will pass down many generations.
My parents are 89 and live with my husband, son and me. I am so fortunate that they continue to be my life coach today and mentor me for many issues.
What is your greatest accomplishment in your career trajectory?
People often ask me how I did it from a poor student who came from China with no money or English, did not know anyone in BC and became the women business leader for the community today. Was there a moment or a period when I knew it was the springboard to achieve my dream?
My answer is NO.
However, I have some examples of my career trajectory that lead me to today’s accomplishments. I will credit the two life mottos built into my subconscious mind and guide my life in every period and every turn.
Live a life with no regrets.
Often, I was reminded that life is too short by someone dead in an accident or a family member got an incurable illness. Natural disasters, Wars and human conflicts worldwide showed on the news every day. It made me think we are so fragile as human beings and could be gone in seconds.
After landing in Vancouver, I want to learn English and everything about BC, Canada, and Western society. Every minute of every day, I was absorbing new things in this new land of opportunity.
When I was doing housekeeping for a family, I learned how to cook Western food, how to apply better time management to make sure three little kids had breakfast and packed lunch to school, learned how to arrange my time each day to get all housework done, cook three meals, pick up kids, take them to after school activities. I still have some time to watch English TV to learn English.
The time management skill that I developed while doing housekeeping helped me be the leader of my company when so many things needed to be taken care of and helped me be a working mom juggling work and kids.
When I worked a summer job with a Maid service company, I learned to use different cleaning solutions for different floor and furniture surfaces, and how to deal with different kinds of people with different house cleaning rules and requests. I also learned about many cities and roads in greater Vancouver to drive effectively.
My road sense helped me be a confident driver, and house cleaning knowledge helped me be a better partner to take on shared house duties after marriage.
When l like to explore the beauty of BC, I join a hiking group to hike many places. Living and doing what I want will teach me so much about people, life and the place we live to appreciate it.
When I wanted to learn how to ski, I saved up some money and booked a ski lesson at age 36, and today, it is one of our family’s favourite sports.
The accumulation of living life, doing and learning from any job, and never treating it just as a means to pay bills builds my readiness to be a women leader.
Positively influence anyone across my life path.
In my business life, the most significant change to position NexGen Accounting to be resilient during the pandemic is that we shifted from a paper-based, desktop accounting company to one of the early adopters of cloud-based accounting in BC.
After reading an article in 2016 about a company that started in New York and used cloud-based accounting to service more small business clients, I discussed it with my company managers and implemented it immediately. Although none of us are familiar with digital accounting, and the software is also not very sophisticated yet, our team found a way to gradually develop, learn and transform our company and train our clients. As a result, many benefited from it during Covid and did not struggle or rush to change everything online when their office closed, and staff had to work remotely.
The action behind it is I want to give my clients a better way of keeping their financial records, and I like to influence my staff to keep learning.
What advice would you give to new or emerging leaders building their careers?
Whether you will work in a company, start your own business, or like to be a stay home parent to raise children, everyone wants to do something meaningful. We want to feel needed and our contribution valued by ourselves and others around us.
You are a leader and influencer if your action impacts someone around you. Looking back on my life, I am proud of what I accomplished. However, if I give myself a score for life, my most immense satisfaction is to be a mom watching my son grow into a 20 year old young man with confidence and a head on his shoulder and become an independent thinker who will build his life in this world.
I had the same feeling to watch my young staff and emerging leaders grow personally and professionally within my two organizations.
My suggestions to you as a new or emerging leader:
Never lose your curiosity to learn new things. No career will be forever. Be prepared to change.
Find a job or career that has meanings to you and matches who you are.
Find mentors who inspire you and have the life where you want to be. And make sure they are the true leader who is happy to see you shine and help you to do better than them.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the next generation?
There are three significant challenges for Gen Z who were born between 1997-2012 compared with any generations before them.
Gen Z lives in an ever-fast-changing world with technology, new ideas and new business models. Therefore, they need to be mature earlier than other generations to have self-awareness, find their strengths and weaknesses, look for the organizations that will need them and appreciate their contribution. The world also gives them more chances to build their own organization with their ideas.
Gen Z gets numerous information every minute from social media, streaming, and people around them as the world becomes smaller. So, everyone has to prepare to be a global citizen whether they like it or not. Avoiding noise and finding the truth will be difficult without wisdom and guidance.
Gen Z has no choice but to constantly change to adapt to the world, facing many environmental, financial and human relations issues between people from different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. Since the world will watch their actions, one viral social media negative review could destroy their name, or one positive review boost their false egos. Therefore, knowing who you are and finding your life's purpose early will help you have the emotional intelligence (EI) to deal with and stay clear-headed with everything that life brings to you.
About Winnie Hsu(she/her/hers)
Winnie Hsu came to Canada thirty years ago as a financially struggling student from China, working several low-paying jobs to sustain herself. Eventually, she started her own small accounting business. But that was 20 years ago. Today, she has a team of fifteen professionals serving over 200 small businesses in the greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley in B.C.
Winnie never stops learning. Wanting to achieve more, she studied for an MBA with the Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) in the USA by taking online classes during the pandemic. Using the 18-month fast track route, she graduated with all honours for all 12 of her courses at the end of 2021, also winning the distinguished scholar award with the JWMI at age 59 – all while working full-time to manage her business.
Fall of 2021, with three fellow co-founders, she started her dream impact project by founding Vision2Reality Foundation (V2RF) - a 100% online, free business community to help newcomers with their entrepreneur journey. Today, the V2RF online community has over three hundred members on its platform who have and are all willing to share, learn and grow with local business owners and professionals. These have and will include people of different races, colours, genders, and cultural backgrounds who came to North America and dreamed of building a better life for themselves and their families. Winnie believes that V2RF is a rare, truly multicultural, inclusive online community that welcomes anyone with a dream and the ambition to turn their visions into reality.
Today, Winnie and her professional advisors in NexGen Accounting Inc. made V2RF the company’s social impact project, so all staff in NexGen Accounting and their business clients could contribute knowledge and money and offer support and mentorship to anyone who has an entrepreneurial mindset.