We’ve become more resilient than ever before. Knowing that this too shall pass, we’ve looked internally to reflect on our lives and we’ve built a renewed resilience with more strength and power than ever before. We’ve learned to be agile, continuing to move forward while maneuvering through the ebbs and flows of shutdowns and reopenings. Not only I, but we’ve all pivoted in one way or another. The fear of the virus, state shutdowns, school closings, and the overall economic downturn has caused us to endure one of the largest life transitions and we’ve learned to adapt quickly.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Choi.
With over a decade in corporate finance, Nancy’s experience extends from investment banking, private equity, business strategy and corporate development, and has been a vital part of the capital creation and strategic formalization to several early and growth stage companies. In addition to launching the multi-award winning ultra-premium Italian sipping vodka brand, House Of Carbonadi, she most recently launched a sophisticated end to-end solution available via Avellino Lab USA, GoLab Global, LifeSite, and DrMaryMd, which seamlessly deploys Covid-19 testings to the workplace, schools, and organizations. A dynamic leader driven by her entrepreneurial ambition, she has cultivated and garnered great success over the span of her career.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Thank you for sharing my story. I’d like to say that my specific career path wasn’t something I had decided upon, but rather, it was a journey of taking different roads and overcoming obstacles as I continued moving forward in my life. The different roads and industries I’ve experienced include real estate, technology, gaming, sports management, wine and spirits, tv film and production, and now biotechnology, where I’ve co-created a sophisticated end-to-end solution seamlessly deploying testings to organizations to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, with a culture of altruism, our Covid-19 Solutions team has created “GoLab Impact” to help people improve their health and strengthen their communities in underserved places that no other company can.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
There are two books that have resonated most with me. The first is “Four Season: The Story of a Business Philosophy” by Isadore Sharp, Founder of the Four Seasons Resorts. When launching my premium vodka, House Of Carbonadi, my business partner and I were personally invited to meet with Isadore at his home in Toronto. In preparation for that meeting, I wanted to get a deeper understanding of Isadore as a person, and what better way of doing so than reading his memoir? I expected to read about his work and family, but what I got was a huge lesson in life and business. In this book, he recalls shifting from his roots in his father’s small construction business into the business of hotels, which back then was simply a place to rest your head while traveling. With a vision to radically change the hotel experience, he took a huge risk to create an upscale hotel, a lavish “home away from home” with superior design, top-quality amenities, and, above all, a deep commitment to service, not only to the guests but also for their employees. It’s definitely instilled in me to follow my dreams, listen and help others, and especially to always follow The Golden Rule — To treat others as we’d wish to be treated ourselves.
The second book is “In Her Purpose: 40 Principals of Asian Women Redefining Success on Their Own Terms” by Rose Buado and Jennifer Redondo-Marquez. A simple to read collection of powerful Asian-American women working in non-traditional roles and their pursuit to finding meaning and purpose in life. I was selected as one of the women in this book and so naturally, out of great curiosity, I bought a copy myself. No matter the life journeys, each woman tells her captivating stories of struggles growing up in an immigrant household, navigating the clashing eastern vs western cultures, finding her voice and redefining the meaning of success and purpose. As a proud American in a melting pot society, I connect to the stories of struggles, breakthroughs, accomplishments, and ultimately finding true success in the ability to help and love others.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
After seven months of this pandemic, it’s very hard not to feel like there isn’t an end in sight and that the worst is yet to come. But at the same time, I see a glimmer of hope as humanity is restored, empathy is revived, and resilience is nurtured. I realize that we’re gaining on research and development, and improving overall safety and wellness to our societies. The world has banned together in many more ways than we have imagined as we find empathy nationally and internationally as we all suffer through this uncertain period, together.
Here are my five reasons to be hopeful during this Corona Crisis:
- We’ve become more resilient than ever before. Knowing that this too shall pass, we’ve looked internally to reflect on our lives and we’ve built a renewed resilience with more strength and power than ever before. We’ve learned to be agile, continuing to move forward while maneuvering through the ebbs and flows of shutdowns and re-openings. Not only I, but we’ve all pivoted in one way or another. The fear of the virus, state shutdowns, school closings, and the overall economic downturn has caused us to endure one of the largest life transitions and we’ve learned to adapt quickly.
- We’ve become efficient. At the beginning of this pandemic, there were a myriad of unanswered questions. How do we survive? What about our jobs? How will kids learn? How do we buy food? Will there be enough toilet paper? We started off the pandemic in a mad panic, not knowing if we would have enough essentials to survive, and thus foraging for whatever was left on the almost empty store aisles. We saw some of the worst of human behaviors, but with time, scarcity has taught us to become efficient with our resources.
- We’ve been given time. Time is the one resource that is the same for anyone and everyone. Until now, time was scarce, but now we seem to have an abundance of time. This is an opportunity to rebalance our lives, refocus on family and friends, harness new skills, and sharpen the skills we already possess. We’re afforded time to refine and improve our personal and professional lives.
- Advances in solutions to Covid-19. As we await a validated vaccine to become widely available, we’ve advanced our knowledge of how to best prevent the spread of the deadly virus. The global unity of action has helped get this disease under control. Travel has been paused, social distancing measures have been placed, sanitization of public surfaces have become routine, mandating face masks, and creating availability of testings have all helped in our efforts. I’ve personally been afforded the opportunity to directly aid in not only making tests widely available to organizations nationwide, but also provide encrypted data management with contact tracing capabilities to ensure an organization’s safety and wellness by orchestrating the collaboration of three companies together. Avellino Lab USA, GoLab Global, and LifeSite have banned together to combat this disease.
- Helping others. Covid-19 knows is an invisible virus that has no boundaries. We’re all in this together. I’ve witnessed many acts of kindness and generosity during this time, from buying groceries for the elderly, re-connection of family and friends, recognizing and applauding the front line workers, to supporting local business to help drive business, all of which have a greater sense of humanity, and kindness, the world had almost forgotten. The greatest joy and pride that I hold today is being on the “IMPACT” team at GoLab IMPACT. Composed of the altruistic leaders at Avellino Lab USA, GoLab Global, LifeSite, and Dr Mary Clifton, we utilize our revenues and our ability to provide testing nationwide to improve population health while strengthening communities that have been hard to reach or neglected. We’re able to directly impact those who have been under-served by providing not only tests, but also much needed PPE products as well.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Five steps that I find to be helpful in effectively offering support are:
- Improve knowledge. Reading, learning, and understanding the reasons behind wellness and safety protocols help people to have some sense of control in their environments and allow for wiser decisions. The novel coronavirus is new to everyone and our learning curve has been great, so educating ourselves and continuing to talk with others not only helps better garner new data, but also helps alleviate anxieties through communications.
- Build stronger connections. Whether through work, friends, or family, we now have time to sit down and share stories, help one another, and schedule activities together safely. Life has slowed and the delay has allowed us to stop and smell the roses, spend time together, and help one another. One of my greatest joys during this time is being able to take walks with my family, where we enjoy nature, get some exercise, and spend time talking to one another. Another one of my joys is talking with friends over the phone. As simple as that sounds, those two activities have allowed me to become a better sharer, listener, and better mother, wife, and friend.
- Work on a project. This is a great time to focus on personal projects we’ve been procrastinating on when life was rushed. Loads of people have begun gardening, including myself, and are seeing the fruits of their labor. Others have decided to work on home improvement projects or have taken up a new hobby. Whatever it is, it’s the perfect time to start a new project. It’ll help calm the soul and allows for balance and personal growth.
- Take care of your health. It’s especially important now to make sure our health affairs are in order and in top shape. If, by chance, we are affected by the virus, we need to be well enough to recover. Making sure not only the physical health is in top shape, but also take note of your mental and emotional health as well. A couple months ago, I went to see my doctor for an annual checkup and found a malignant tumor in my left breast. Fortunately, it was caught very early and will be handled as quickly as possible. It will be a new and scary journey, but I do believe an earlier cancer journey is better than a later one. With all that’s happening, I did reach out to the counselors available and have set up therapy sessions to help with my mental health. God knows I’ll be needing all the support I can get right now and I’m glad it’s available to me.
- Find ways to help. Helping others also helps oneself feel productive, needed, and brings about a sense of joy. Whether it’s helping a neighbor, a community, bettering the environment, wildlife, or fighting for social justice, we have the time to roll up our sleeves and act. There are loads of opportunities to help.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
I would have to say that the best resource for me has been nature. I love getting out for a hike as it allows me to expel the minutiae cluttering my mind and entrapping me in my limiting thoughts. Whether it’s a short or long hike, looking at the beauty that abounds in nature allows me to breathe the fresh air and see a bigger landscape beyond my own life. Viewing the grandeur of the mountains, trees, and seeing the birds soar in the sky, allows me to appreciate that life is beautiful and bountiful. Life will continue on, and all will eventually fall into its rightful place.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
The purpose of life is not
to be happy.
It is to be useful,
to be honorable,
to be compassionate,
to have it make
that you have lived
and lived well.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
With the GoLab Impact team, we’ve started a movement to help the under-served communities get the healthcare they need. We have garnered great support from notable and influential individuals who sponsor our endeavors as well. The program will bring to these communities Covid-19 testings, much needed PPE products, flu shots, vaccines and many more. We want to do what we can to help all communities be safe and healthy.
What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!