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Meet Mo Fong

It is through my coaches that I uncovered my core values, and realized that I will not be free until I start living by my core values rather than living to meet others’ expectations of me.

Meet Mo, an executive and career coach and founding member of the Asian Women's Coaching Collective.

With 25 years of work experience, Mo works with leaders and entrepreneurs who are passionate about tech+x to make a positive social impact by creating innovative products and services. As an executive and career coach, Mo helps individuals identify their core strengths and interests, and navigate their path to success. As a founding member of the @Asian Women Coaching Collective, Mo believes that our history, culture, and identities have a profound impact on the way we work and how we find belonging in our communities. Mo supports women of color and Asian executive leaders in tech to articulate their own authentic narratives and to make decisions that balance the rational mind and the heart.

Q: What were some childhood moments that shaped you into who you are today?

A: When I was about 9 years old, I vividly remember standing in our kitchen waiting to get a huge scolding from my mom after I got into a heated argument with my sister. Instead, she pulled out wooden chopsticks from the drawer and gave one to each of us and told us to break it. My sister and I both looked at each other in disbelief - break perfectly good chopsticks?! Obediently we did what we were told and they snapped easily. My mom then proceeded to bundle several chopsticks together and handed it to me to break it. More chopsticks?! This time, however, it was much more difficult and practically impossible to break. “See?” my mom explained, “If you stand alone, you will easily break. Stand together, and you can not be broken. You two are sisters. Learn to stand together even if you disagree.” There’s been so many times when I’ve leaned on others both at work and at home when the going got tough. This lesson from my mother serves to remind me that we are truly #bettertogether, always.

Q: How did you decide that you wanted to become a coach?

A: Coaching has always been a part of my identity. Ever since college, when I decided to become a high school teacher after I got my engineering degree, my life’s purpose statement has been to “help people reach their full potential.” When I started working at Google, Becky Cotton invited me to join Google’s career guru program, where I learned to apply specific tools to coaching. Then during the pandemic, my greatest joy was in coaching leaders in the organization and being alongside them to not only navigate the changing work environment, but also other challenges such as Asian Hate, children in distance learning, and finding their own purpose and work identity. Through these conversations, I realized that coaching like teaching is a profession and that’s when I decided to pursue my Hudson Institute coaching certification.

Q: What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you were younger?

A: Growing up seeing my parents make many sacrifices so my sister and I could have a good education and stable careers, I was very cognizant that my career choices need to honor those sacrifices. My parents never pushed me to pursue any specific career path and I was able to teach high school and pursue higher education with the confidence that debts would be paid. If anything, the pressure to succeed was self-induced and reinforced by those around me and through corporate structures including non-stop performance reviews. Only when I let all of that go and started to live in the present, to focus on relationships more than tasks, and find the courage to ask for help and rely on the grace that I was able to live with more humility, freedom, and joy.

Q: What are the top 1-2 books/podcasts that inspired you in the past 12 months?

A: I binged listened to the Friction podcast from Bob Sutton and produced by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. It’s a fresh look at how much friction we introduce in our own lives and our teams with what seems like “simple requests” or musings. In one episode, “The Emperor has No Clue,” Huggy Rao points out that “ Friction is not a thing but a feeling. It’s very easy to think of friction as a thing, a process, et cetera, but actually, what’s much more important to pay attention to are the feelings that animate people. And, it seems to me that what friction can do is, at one extreme, there is friction of the bad kind for individuals and something that’s really important to them, they easily respond with disgust.” This is what all good coaches know, that it’s not “the thing” that is the most important part of the session but it’s the client’s “relationship to the thing” that is important.

Connect with Mo Fong on LinkedIn.

Caption (left to right): me, my Dad Mei, my sister Hsien, and my mom Kuei-Yu by our home in Taipei.

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