chatting with...maili wong

YWiB is lucky to have super inspiring women in our network, and couldn't be more pleased to bring you up-close-and-personal with some of these ladies through our series of blog interviews.  today we're chatting with maili wong, vice-president and investment advisor for CIBC Wood Gundy, and member of YWiB's board of advisors!

name three people you'd like to have a dinner party with. Hilary Clinton, Ayn Rand (author of Atlas Shrugged) and my Grandmother Poh Poh Yen (who passed away about 14 years ago).  These are some mighty women from different generations but oh the conversations we could have over dinner! what's the harder job: vp, portfolio manager and investment adviser at cibc, or mom of an 18-month-old? both roles are equally challenging and yet rewarding.  I would say the harder job is balancing the two!  I would love 48 hours in a day to spend my time doing both.

fill in the blank: i wish i could stop __________________ but i just can't! I wish I could stop my mind running and thinking all the time but I just can't!  Sometimes I get my best ideas as soon as I wake up in the morning and just let my mind play and wander.

advice you would give to someone wanting to make it big in the investment banking world. I would suggest trying to get some early and relevant work experience at a big firm (investment bank or wealth management company) in a major city like New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai or London.  Big firms often can give people starting their careers a broader perspective of the various roles within the investment banking world, while providing mobility and mentorship across departments.  Also, seek out really great mentors who will take the time to listen to you and coach you.

you lived and worked in new york city, which is something so many people only dream of.  how did that shape your career, especially being in the throes of 9/11? It was a total game changer for me, both personally and professionally.  Living through the crisis of 9/11 taught me to be resilient and to face challenges without turning back.  I was lucky to have had the chance to start my career in New York and also lucky that I was able to take that risk without having to be responsible for a family.  Facing those challenges early on in my career helped give me the confidence to take on other challenges in life knowing that if I fail, I am lucky to be alive and to live to fight another day, and that in the end life is too short and can end too suddenly to not just go for it.

what do you wish for your future self, and your daughter? I wish for my future self to continue to be happy, healthy and surrounded by the people I love.  I wish for my daughter to live in a world where she can and does achieve all of her dreams and that she makes a positive impact on others.

why do you think YWiB and the YWiB philosophy is important for our community? I believe passionately about what YWiB provides to its members and our community because it's all about empowering the right people.  Give young women who have the enthusiasm and ideas the right mentorship, confidence and resources to follow their instincts and we all will benefit from better businesses, stronger leaders and a more vibrant community.  YWiB fills a very necessary gap and provides so much value to people who are willing to step up and take advantage of it. I feel so fortunate to have been involved since the very early days of planning the first Beyond Pink event.  The girls came to me for my advice at a 7 am coffee meeting at the nearby Caffe Artigiano and I was blown away by their excitement about the idea (did I mention it was 7 am?) and all I think I said was "it's a great idea - do it" and here we are today.  Over the years I have enjoyed being a part of the YWiB experience as a speaker, a supporter, as an Advisory Board member and as a Mom to the Youngest YWiB member yet (she's 1.5 yrs old but has already attended her first YWiB panel discussion)!

for more on maili, check out this great article feature in the vancouver sun!