Can you tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Justin Chan and I’m a UNSW graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce International majoring in finance. Outside of the office cubicle, I am an avid tennis player and dedicated toy poodle father.
Paint a picture for us on your experience growing up
I have been very blessed growing up in a two parent household with both of my parents not only letting me but actively supporting me in any endeavour I set my mind to. Despite not following the traditional route of an ABC (Australian Born Chinese), they provided their advice and wisdom and encouraged me to make my own decision, even from a young age.
It was this responsibility bestowed upon me that forced maturity and growth but most importantly, taught me to control my own destiny. These included following my dream to play in the Australian Open, starting a protein business in University, which has then led me to the position I’m in today, running a multi-million dollar business and working closely with exciting partners such as F45, Psykinteic and White Glo. Not all of these ventures were successful, but each experience built character, experience, networks and I draw upon them everyday in both my personal and business life to make, hopefully, correct decisions.
This would not have been possible without the support network my parents provided and I will be forever grateful to both.
What are your life and career ambitions?
While I have no specific career ambitions, I aspire to add value wherever I can. The world is moving so quickly day-by-day, as 2020 has comprehensively demonstrated, and the value we bring needs to evolve with the changing world. I have always been of the opinion that adding value is the core step to achieving results both monetary and otherwise. The one thing I know for certain career-wise, however, is that I want to work for myself since it allows me to drive my company in ways where we can add the most value to others. But most importantly having the flexibility of running my own company plays a critical role in achieving my life ambitions.
Growing up, family has been a central value to me and my life ambitions all stem from that. Everything I do revolves around wanting to give my family, future family and close friends the best life possible and that includes having the flexibility to work from any location, setting my own schedule and having the monetary upside that only running my own business can provide. While the last benefit is not guaranteed by any means, I have enough confidence in myself and my team that we can achieve great results.
To achieve my career ambitions, I am constantly thinking big picture and ensure every project we are working on has a purpose towards that. Being put into a leadership position is both humbling and rewarding and I have had to evolve my working style to ensure I am being most efficient and effective in serving my team.
How does foreign language and culture play your ambitions?
In 2016/17, I was fortunate enough to go to Shanghai for a year on exchange and was able to learn rudimentary Chinese and delve deep into Chinese culture. A large part of our value add is bringing ideas to life which heavily involves liaising with suppliers in China. Learning Chinese has been particularly helpful in that regard. Beyond that, having the ability to unlock and build networks to another 1.4 billion people is so important in building businesses, particularly with the economic ascendency of China in recent times, it is impossible to ignore their sphere of influence in the new world.
In terms of culture, I think that is most important, even beyond language. Being able to learn Chinese culture and experience it first hand gives insight into a rich history and different perspectives not prevalent in the west. In doing so, more meaningful connections can be made and can yield more fruitful relationships. Language, of course, significantly helps but I think anyone, not just Chinese people, appreciate people understanding and being respectful of their culture.
What has been the most important factor in achieving the success you’ve had?
International networks are the most important factor in building to where we are today with some having been nurtured over 10+ years.
What is one piece of advice you’d share to anyone who wants to become more like you?
The biggest mindset I have changed and one I live by daily is treating time as your most valuable commodity. Invest your time wisely while it is cheap, invest it in yourself and reap the rewards down the line. For example, what brings more value; working in data entry or investing the time to learn to program and have it do data entry automatically? Earning $100,000/year at a job where you are not continually upskilling or earning $40,000/year in a hyper-dynamic work environment where you are exposed to many different aspects of the business and take on significant responsibility? The answer, for me, would be the latter for each.
If anyone would like to reach out, please feel free to email me at [email protected].
This article is an entry into Culturestride’s “Cross Borders” Article Series highlighting inspirational young people who are exploring international culture, language and opportunities.