Alumni Profile Christina Wong

Psychology Major with Applied Behaviour Analysis Concentration

Co-Founder & Executive Director, Employ to Empower

Connect with Employ to Empower on Instagram

1.      Where do you currently work and what is your position? 

I am an entrepreneur and I founded my charity Employ to Empower in 2018. From 2017-2018 I worked at Procreation Design Works (now known as TED Vancouver), as I was also quite passionate about the events world. During university, I worked as a behavior interventionist.

2. Why did you decide to study psychology?

I’ve always been quite fascinated by the human mind -  I truly believe that our minds are like onions. There are so many layers. I’ve known my best friend for 15 years now and I’m still learning new things about her. It’s mind blowing (full pun intended) and I wanted to learn more about what the research has to say.

3. What did you originally plan to do with your degree in psychology during your undergrad, if you had any ideas at that time? Is that different than what you do now? If so, how?

Honestly, I thought I was going to be a social worker, and then I was going to be a behavior interventionist in my brain, influenced by my parents… but I ended up actually being on the events team as a food and beverage coordinator and then later on, realizing my passion for social services in the DTES stumps all the above.  I transferred from UBC to SFU because I got denied by the UBC School of Social Work and couldn’t handle rejection at the time. 

Outside of school, I was an avid volunteer, as I wasn’t someone who thrived in high school. I’m not sure if I set the most “conventional” example, but I can sure as heck be the breathing example of normalizing PIVOTS. I had 3 pivots in my whole career, and never did I end up ever imagining that I would become a charity director. And here I am, five years later - proud, tired and excited all at once. I’m really grateful that I get to live in alignment with my values and purpose.

4. How did your time at SFU change you and influence your career?

I am SO grateful to TEDxSFU. Through TEDxSFU, it ignited my passion for events, and ideas worth sharing. It fed my hunger to expand social perceptions of ideas and to remember that there is always a different perspective. Through TEDxSFU, I got my first job at Procreation Design works (PDW), now known as TED Vancouver. Then, it was through working in events for ayear, that I realized my burning passion for the DTES seeing that working in events meant long, hard hours. I noticed how much it took away from my community time, and during my volunteer time alongside my job, I had learned the importance of entrepreneurship in the DTES.

5. What advice would you give to students that you wish you knew in your undergrad?  What was important to you then and what’s important now?

Normalize pivots. If you change your mind, there’s nothing wrong with you. Growing up in a traditional asian family, I was always told to stick to one thing and run with it. I was the black sheep to be frank, with both my brothers being academic geniuses in the finance/numbers world.

To own this quote: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Everything in moderation, including moderation” -  sometimes society places constructs of “perfectionism” on us and we can be really hard on ourselves. Then, it gets funky when we’re hard on ourselves for being hard on ourselves (WHAT?), so this quote, is meant to have ease & grace on ourselves when things get hard. To really believe that we CAN do hard things and are capable.