Name: Cecilia Wong
Title: Senior Project Officer, Impact Measurement
Years Working at Mother’s Choice: 1
(1) Which industry did you work in before joining Mother’s Choice?
I had two main careers before joining Mother’s Choice. I started as a corporate trainer teaching store management and people management; then I gradually moved into academia to be a research manager and external consultant for local universities on government-funded community assessment and development projects. On the side, I taught a postgraduate subject at the University of Melbourne and served as an expert adviser on a statewide evaluation project.
(2) Why did you first decide to work for Mother’s Choice?
Working here is simply a calling. God asked me to leave my previous job so I started job searching. During the interview process, I saw how my skills could possibly apply to help write the next chapters with and for Mother’s Choice. So here I am.
(3) What were some of the transitions you made from working in corporate to non-profit?
This transition was the most difficult one in my life. First, I had spent years managing community projects and returning to an organizational setting requires a different set of expectations. Second, working here compels me to ask what I can do for the betterment of Mother’s Choice, especially when we are taking care of many vulnerable young lives. This is less about personal career development, though I am still learning and gaining a lot along the way. Third, with so many passionate colleagues, it is crucial to build rapport and trust. This takes time, love, patience and forgiveness – forgiving myself and others for no one is perfect.
(4) What are the things you love best about working at Mother’s Choice?
Mother’s Choice is a place where a lot of people pour their hearts into. We are constantly surrounded by people who truly care about the wellbeing of our children, youth and families. I also love that we are humble and bold. We are humble enough to admit that we need to join hands with other organizations and people to serve the huge communities. We aim to “Model Small, Impact Big” which I think is wise. At the same time, we are bold to explore new opportunities, try out new solutions, and invest in areas where we are pioneering (it means that we are the one to prove the values – the return of our investments).
(5) What advice would you give to someone who is thinking to work for a non-profit?
First, I would say “why not give it a try?” Perhaps you can give a few years of your precious life to serve the precious lives of others. You can help make their lives (hopefully yours, too) beautiful. Second, be patient about yourself and others. Be prepared to listen, to understand yours and other people’s thinking and feelings, fears and desires. You will be swimming in a sea of emotions. Third, being in a non-profit, it is easy to fall prey to a belief that we are operating on a shoe-string budget and that there is so little we can do. Stretch! Use what you have wisely, discover and create resources.