Week 1: Ann Chiu-Law
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Kolkata, India, and then moved to Hong Kong when I was 16 years old. I did not have opportunities to play organized sport as a child, but I was very active and enjoyed playing outside. I moved to Canada at the age of 20 with the help of my sister. As a Chinese immigrant to Canada, I had a lot of difficulties finding work because I didn’t have post-secondary education and work experience. After numerous failed applications, I decided to “pound the pavement” and go door to door to look for work. I was determined and ambitious. I was finally able to convince one company to allow me to work on a trial basis for free. I just needed one person to give me a chance, from that day on I fulfilled various tasks within the company and became a reliable resource for many of my colleagues.
After several years of working with several different companies in administrative roles, a mentor gave me the advice to start my own company. Since I had knowledge of printing, I decided to purchase a printing franchise. Once we were more established, I decided to leave the franchise and start my own company. I am currently the founder of a local Markham print shop called Business and Office Centro Inc. We have been in business for over 25 years, serving our local community. We have recently made changes to our office space, services and products to adapt to our evolving field. Hence, the creation of Memook Creative Hub. We are dedicated to bringing community members together to share ideas and collaborate.
How has sport helped you develop skills for your work today?
I do not have an athletic background, however, I have supported a nuclear family who are very involved in sport. I learned a lot about sports while I watched my eldest daughter get involved in organized sport starting in grade 6. All of my kids played competitive basketball for many years and I am always the one to cheer the loudest and encourage other parents to pump up their spirit. Currently, my son and husband coach a boys’ basketball team, while my youngest daughter players on the varsity ultimate team at Queen’s University. I have seen the value of sport contribute to the growth and development of my kids and I continue to give back to local youth sport organizations. I try to help our local groups develop and grow their organizations to increase participation of youth athletes.
Why do you consider yourself a leader? How do you define leadership?
I consider myself a leader within my family, my company and within my community. Growing up, as the youngest child of seven I took on the role of advocating and speaking up for my mother and sisters in a male-dominated society. I have learned to speak up on behalf of others, especially for those who may not have a voice of their own. I’m not scared to fight for what is right.
Leadership to me is being consistent with your own behaviours and being disciplined to master your own skills and abilities. Whether it be in sport, classroom or work environment. Once you are able to consistently demonstrate positive behaviours, you naturally become a role model for others around you. Success will follow and people will look to you and learn from what you have accomplished. I always tell my kids, “practice makes perfect” because skills do not appear overnight. If they want to develop new skills on and off the court, they need to dedicate their time, effort and mind to accomplishing any task at hand.