Emerging Leader Spotlight: Liza Lee Luk

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Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what they’re doing to take the lead in their career. We invite them to share how they achieved their current position, what obstacles they’ve encountered on their climb, as well as tips for how to be a rising leader of influence.

This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Liza Lee Luk, Director of Digital and Technology Portfolio Management with Scholastic.

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Liza Lee LukFavorite Quote:

“Have you noticed that when we die, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success?”―Arianna Huffington, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

What is the most important thing you have learned that has been critical to your career success?

My grandparents grew up in a time of civic uprising and changes on a scale that I can only imagine from reading history books. To survive, my grandfather, at the age of 10, left his overturned hometown with nothing but the clothes on his back and a refugee stamp for food. And just walked. And walked over 1,000 miles. By foot. Hearing the story of how my grandfather traversed almost half of China by foot made a mental etching in me. The stories distilled values and discipline that have guided me throughout my career. When work gets challenging and demands are high, I remind myself of the power of gut instinct to survive and thrive. Roadblocks may seem daunting – and crossing mountains is exhausting – but they can all be overcome. The most important thing is to channel the inner drive to march on.

What key steps did you take to get to the role you are in today?

Coming from an immigrant family, we’re taught to put our heads down and get work done. But hard work is only half the story. Hard work cements the foundation of a career and with it, few can knock you down. But that’s not enough. The rest comes from (1) how you work, and (2) who you work with. “How you work” is measured by the difference your work makes on your teams, projects, organization, and is less about “What you do”. It comes down to the impact you have and the changes you have on others. And second, whom you work with and whom you make your work known to is a large part of the formula to establishing one self. When you apply the trifecta (hard work, impact, and people network) throughout your career, transitions from role to role become a natural occurrence. And of course, a healthy sprinkle of good luck along the way helps.

What steps are you currently taking to develop yourself, professionally?

I don’t know that I do enough! When I am feeling inspired, I usually turn to my long-time, trustworthy teacher: books. Increasingly I’ve found that reading non-business-y titles has been tremendously useful for my professional development, mostly in that I intentionally blend professional and personal development. For example, I have found my reading on child brain development to be applicable to management and leadership in the workplace. No surprise there, I suppose!

Some good reads from the last year that I highly recommend:

Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu: My professional growth is powered by (and to some degree limited by) the role I play as a mother and wife (and daughter, sister, neighbor, etc). This book opened a new perspective and gave me permission to scale back on what I do at home. Now I see my role as CMO (Chief Mother Officer) has new meaning, and I continue to hone my “delegating with joy” and “letting go” skills.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines: A page-turner life story that sheds light on how one couple navigated the twists and turns of a self-grown 1st generation family business. I have yet to try my hands on a fixer upper project but I’ve appreciated the house metaphor for life.

Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina. And similarly Mindset by Susan Dweck.

Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

 Connect with Liza Lee on LinkedIn.

Angie Klein

As Operations and Marketing Manager, Angie Klein is responsible for maintaining the day to day operations of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. and Be Leaderly.com. Angie manages all aspects of training program logistics, registrations, SEO, social media engagement and customer service.

Follow @kleina2012 on Twitter.

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