NYYER & ILF2020 Education and Leadership Conference

The Future in My View

On July 18th, The New York Young Entrepreneur Club (NYYER) and the International Leaders Foundation (ILF) New York Chapter jointly hosted the annual conference in a special format: an online conference via Zoom.


This large-scale online annual conference with the theme of "The Future I See" was joined by 17 speakers and over a hundred viewers. This novel way of adapting to current conditions coincides with the theme of this year's annual meeting – the changing world. Are you ready for the Post-COVID era?


A wide variety of topics were covered and discussed during a full 3-hour discussion among speakers. What secrets did the leaders from different industries reveal at the annual conference? What new perspectives did the younger generations provide to the older generations? How did the guests answer the audience’s most pressing questions?


Forum 1: The changing world: challenges and opportunities


In early March, the epidemic began to appear in New York. The New York Young Entrepreneur Club was on the front lines fighting against the epidemic, and immediately launched campaigns focusing on fundraising and donations of medical supplies. As New York enters the pandemic’s fourth stage, the conference aimed at guiding everyone to actively think about the future and how to face the coming challenges and opportunities. Seven panelists joined the moderator Dr. Yong Ma, the Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at Bank of China, had an in-depth discussion about future challenges and opportunities in the post-pandemic era.

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Mr. Jianjun Gao first revealed that COVID has changed the way people live: people’s awareness of health and distress has increased significantly, and the online lifestyle has quickly become mainstream. Mr. Hengyong Mo pointed out that the Office and commute model would also undergo tremendous changes, asking: “Will working from home affect productivity? Do companies still need to lease office spaces? Is it still necessary for employees to live in a big city just to be close to their company?”


In the changing world, how do we find the most promising areas for potential development? Drawing on his own entrepreneurial experience, Mr. Shanjie Li suggested that everyone could make good use of their scientific and technological knowledge and resources, and prioritize understanding their own unique strengths and weaknesses. As the only legal expert in the panel, Ms. Chengying Xiu suggested that those interested in the legal profession should focus on today’s “hot” practice areas: litigation, and bankruptcy.


Getting lost is the common feelings for many people living under the gloom of the epidemic. Both Mr. Gang Wu and Mr. Fang Chu suggested seeing the problem from a macro historical perspective. They suggested that it is important for people who feel lost to see the bigger picture and look for the meaning in their lives. They also discussed how, in the future, the global political and economic order will change. They mentioned that we should refer to the 1945-1955 and 1975-1985 to see the future the relationship between China and the United States in the next ten years. They predicted that the United States and Russia, the two super powers that typically pursue "national interests first" policies, will focus more on domestic issues, while China and the European Union will become more open and continue on the route of globalization.


The final speaker, Xuelei Wang, the Deputy General Manager of China Construction Bank (CCB) New York Branch, pointed out three major trends in the future world: artificial intelligence, blockchain, and virtual reality. He also added two major challenges: how to remotely supervise, evaluate, and ensure high productivity and efficiency of work tasks, and how to cope with network security breaches. He said that although the conflicts between China and the United States have intensified, people in the two countries need not be pessimistic because the Sino-US relationship is historically cyclical and changes every ten years. Mr. Wang also explained that the current trend of China's rise is constructive, which may also bring more opportunities for Chinese Americans.

The guest speakers also answered questions that the audience was most concerned about. Some listeners had doubts about the large amount of pandemic relief funds (10 trillion US dollars) from governments around the world. Does government intervention undermine the free market economy? Can the relief measures work? Will there be negative consequences? The guests responded that such large amount of bailout is "the last resort" and that there will certainly be negative consequences, such as long-lasting low interest rates in future. They thought China's system has certain advantages, and China's interest rate still maintains a spread of 2-3%, so China may remain the world's economic engine.


The young students attending the conference are more interested in their future major choices. As a financial executive, Mr. Xuelei Wang replied that the banking industry is hiring fewer students majored in finance and law, and is instead recruiting employees with backgrounds in data analysis, customer psychology, artificial intelligence, consumer behavior pattern analysis, and engineering. In his view, the senior management teams in banks still need to improve their data-based decision-making and their understanding of digitization. In this regard, they need the support of “fresh blood” from the younger generations.


Forum Two: Dialogue between the Older Generation and the Younger Generation: Perplexity and Solution


The second forum was the stage for the "New Wave" – the younger speakers. For many families in the U.S., the four-month period of mandatory “staying at home" during the pandemic has been the longest period parents have ever stayed 24/7 at home with their children. After an initial “honeymoon” period, conflicts arose between the two generations due to differences in lifestyle and values. The parents felt that no matter how well they achieve in their work and career, they still couldn’t get along well with their children.


The panel features two junior high school students and two university students as speakers. As the moderator and a mother of three children, Ms. Yacun Huang, the Chairman of the New York Young Entrepreneur Roundtable, spoke with the students equally, motivated them to express their true thoughts and provided parents with an opportunity to understand their children’s minds.

The first topic is the hotly debated "tiger mother" education style. Evan said that high-pressure parenting is a simple and direct method, but their children are likely to lose more than they gain, because this overly strict parenting style may harm children's social skills and innovation ability and inhibit the development of their self-confidence and independent thinking skills. Max said that the “tiger mother” style of parenting constrains children from experimenting and making mistakes, considering making mistakes is the most important part of learning . He also pointed out that if the parents are too strict, it would be difficult for children to open up to their parents to ask for help. Hudson said that the “tiger mother” style is effective for very young children but may have negative impacts when children grow up. Sophie concisely summarized her point of view: "the best relationship between children and parents is the one filled with both love and respect."


The topic then shifted to children's views on the traditional Chinese cultural norm of respecting the elderly. The students generally believed that, in practice, the emphasis on "respect for the elderly" in Chinese tradition translates into a requirement for younger people to show obedience to their elders. However, young people believed that being respected is not necessarily an inherent right of the older generation, but rather is something that needs to be earned. Young people also didn’t believe that relationships between people should be determined by age and financial power. Hudson put forward a unique insight - it is right for younger generations to respect their elders at home, but everyone should be treated equally outside of their home.


The discussion gradually entered a more sensitive territory: identity. Most children said they usually identify themselves more with the American culture because they grew up in this culture and environment, but they also had a sense of connection and identification with Chinese culture. The students took the opportunity to express their disgust at the fact that their parents forced them to attend Chinese school on Sunday morning. Should parents use this approach to the ways they provide help and resources to their children? After all, raising children is not a well planned "project", and parents can't control every aspect of their children’s growth.


In the second half of Forum Two, the parents of several children were invited to a panel discussion hosted by "Harvard Girl" Yiting Liu. After listening to the children’s heartfelt testimonies and "Tucao", how did the parents feel?

Parents said bluntly that they admired the children's bold speeches and critical thinking. Mr. Rick Li, a Partner of Goldman Sachs, said that he learned a large amount of information by listening to the kids. He said, “in a modern society where most things are not black and white, it is very important for children to develop independent and rational thinking.” Ms. Yacun Huang said that she also learned a lot in the process of communicating with her children on an equal footing. Mr. Rubiao Song pointed out that a good parent-child relationship can benefit both children and their parents for a lifetime, because children will willingly communicate with their parents throughout their lives in this kind of relationship.


However, some parents admitted that they were troubled by their children’s different ways of living. Mr. Shuguang Wang expressed feeling helplessness when dealing with the huge gap in values between himself and his son. But he said that after years of "fighting" with his son, he realized the model of "less reasoning and more love" was much more effective than "requiring obedience".


In light of the current tensions in Sino-US relationship, several parents also expressed their views on the issue of identity. Ms. Yacun Huang was the first to say that the most important responsibility of Chinese Americans is to become a bridge between China and the United States, to ease conflicts and form mutual understanding, not only for the country, but also for loved ones. Mr. Shuguang Wang and Mr. Rubiao Song also urged everyone to speak out for their own communities more.

At the end of the 3-hour conference, the audience all expressed positive feedback. In the future, the New York Young Entrepreneur Roundtable and the International Leadership Foundation will carry forward the successful experience of this annual conference, explore new formats of activities, organize more meaningful events, and promote communication and sharing for people of Chinese descent.

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