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The Pupil of the Eye | Featuring Ms. Karen Chiang

karen chiang pearson

She has an aura of grace and happiness with a smile that transcends the magnitude of her work responsibilities. There is a lot on her plate, and as such it is her habit to wake up early in the morning to conform to the geographies of colleagues and clients she has to cover.

She starts her day with a cup of coffee, then she heads on to her computer to check her busy schedule for the day. Her home is her office and much of her working hours is dedicated to talking to a lot of people from different cities and countries. She admits that various computer-based communication systems have helped her a lot in carrying out her duties.

Family Life

Karen has two children and is expecting to be a grandmother by October. Her daughter is a preschool teacher married to a patent lawyer, they are based in California. Her son has a very promising career in sales is now in New York working for a very prominent social media platform.

She grew up in Boston and met her husband in graduate school in Philadelphia. According to Karen, her husband came from a uniquely tri-cultural background. “He is Chinese like me but grew up on the border of Mexico and the United States. He lives in one part of the border and got educated in the other. He is so attracted to corporations growing up” – Karen explained.

Living Internationally

They settled in New York and work had them relocate to Bogota, Columbia for one and a half years. This, according to her, happened during the most critical times of the country as the US Embassy was occupied by militants. They nevertheless survived and later on moved to Quito, Ecuador. Next, they spent time in Singapore and stayed for six years in the Philippines.
Her time spent in Taipei is what she considers as one of the most challenging parts of her career. As Taipei opens its doors to globalization, she was sent to set up a publishing unit to publish in the English Language. She had to literally start from scratch and was given less than two years to succeed. She managed to pull it nevertheless and generated a 15% market share from nothing.

Karen Chiang at Home

Karen loves to cook and experiment with different kinds of food. Her experiences abroad has helped intensify her culinary skills. Although her predominant cooking is Chinese, she is also a fan of many different cuisines from Japanese to French. She remarked, “All recipes are created equal, even though you may be an inexperienced cook, you tend to have a feel.”

All the holidays are covered as she loves to throw parties as well. Having a very strong eye for detail, she always makes sure that her parties are themed, from décor to food. It takes her weeks to prepare but the sense of accomplishment she feels is unparalleled and inspires to do more.

Gardening has become an acquired hobby for Karen, she takes pride of her fruit bearing trees, flowers, vegetables, and herbs. “It is a constant struggle between me, the birds, and the squirrels” – Karen jokingly shared as she worries about the persimmons and other plants she left at home.

Vision and Passion

Whenever she is interviewing a candidate or joining an organization, the focal point of her interest lies in vision. “Dig into whether the company or person has vision, with that vision you can accomplish a lot.” She stressed out the importance of attaining an accomplishment than to simply have a job that is a routine. On this same note, she shared that vision and passion has to go hand in hand. “Work is about solving problems, but if you do not have passion, then what happens is you just complain and you do not look for solutions.” – she added.

Karen is involved with a lot of Pearson’s operational aspects, from clinical and talent assessments to publishing. With all her experience, she has learned how to take a step back before attacking the situation whenever provided with a new assignment. This adds up to her glow as she considers all these learning opportunities fun.

She showed concern about how some companies and societies give low regard to learning disabilities. This misconception has led them to believe that children encountering this challenge are stupid and lazy. Karen reacted that “Many companies do not have a complete understanding of learning disabilities and how they affect children.” She sees a great opportunity for these children to become productive citizens if given the proper assessment and intervention.

English Proficiency in the Philippines

The Philippines according to her is at a huge advantage in English proficiency due to its strong awareness of the American culture. Their studies at Pearson show that the Philippine’s is at a high level compared to other Asian countries. It is also important to note, however, that as you go further to the provinces, this proficiency somehow drops partly due to the educator’s lack of training.

Asked about the next biggest opportunity, Karen shared that writing will make a sound impact in the coming years. As we see technology consume our everyday lives from social media to any other platform, people are often used to writing in shortcuts. “Writing becomes more needed for the BPM industry. People are becoming fed up with the phone, [because] wait time is long, a lot of people are resorting to email and chat.” – she added.

Also Read: Versant – A Higher Level of Language Assessment 

Having an Open Mind

She talked about how companies and societies give low regard to learning disabilities. This misconception has led other to believe that children encountering this challenge are stupid and lazy. Karen reacted that “Many companies do not have a complete understanding of learning disabilities and how they affect children.” She sees a great opportunity for these children to become productive citizens if given the proper assessment and intervention.

“It’s important to be open minded that there are very few experiences in life that are not a potential learning opportunity.” – this is what Karen imparted as she talks about success. It is inevitable that no matter how we set a goal, it will not always turn out as we want it to be. She stressed that is more important to go sideways and broaden up than to always aim up. It is nevertheless important that goals are realized through constant learning as she adds: “Something can be learned everywhere – it’s all around you.”

Check out the other featured leaders

Jeffrey Johnson of TelePerformance

Joji Aguila of HGS

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