One of the questions I am most often asked is how Madeleine and I met and became business partners. Truth be told, it took two life altering events to jolt me off an unhealthy career path and find a new one, with Madeleine there to help pave the way.
I grew up a child of Chinese immigrant parents (my mom literally got off the plane and was immediately married to my dad based on a match making arrangement), under a strict and traditional upbringing. So, it was no surprise that after high school I was expected to pursue a professional career and make my parents proud. With no interest in being a doctor, lawyer or engineer, and with a penchant for math and curiosity for business, I chose a career as an accountant.
While in my third year of business school at the UBC Faculty of Commerce (now the Sauder School of Business) I was recruited to work for PriceWaterhouseCoopers. In my year of qualification, I made the British Columbia Top Ten Honour Roll of Chartered Accountants (or CPAs as we are now called). Work as an auditor provided excellent business training but was rather uninspiring. I quickly realized that public practice was not my long term path and frankly didn’t see a lot of female partner role models, none Asian, in the firm. So I left public practice and became the Controller of a publicly traded company. But, after 8 years working in the corporate world of accounting, operations and finance, I blindly drove myself to the brink of burnout and my health suffered. Reeling from two very traumatic events (a late term miscarriage and a 5 month illness caused by encephalitis) I finally woke up and realized it was time to change careers, time to seek work that was more aligned with my values: work that had more meaning and impact.
It was around that time that I met Madeleine, who was just starting to focus on growing Lunapads. The two of us were serendipitously paired up to work on a group project (about girls no less!) for a Vancouver Board of Trade Leadership Program. Immediately attracted to each other by our differences, we quickly realized that we shared a common passion for women, the environment and social justice. So, I said goodbye to the corporate world and rolled up my sleeves to help Madeleine turn Lunapads into a successful mission based business with customers all over the world.
With this career change, I also took the time to consciously transform my health and lifestyle. I did a ton of research about natural family planning and happily became a mom to 2 amazing boys (highlighted by an amazing home birth experience with my second child). With the help of our team, Madeleine and I navigated the fun and sometimes rocky road of being entrepreneurs and new moms, bringing our children to work, figuring it out day by day.
Since leaving corporate life, I haven’t looked back. My experience as a social entrepreneur has given me the (continuous) good fortune to travel, speak, satisfy my curiosity and quench my thirst for learning, all the while enjoying a rewarding family life.
When I’m not leading the fabulously talented team at Lunapads I can be found helping out on the Advisory Board of the Georgia Strait Alliance, a local marine conservation not-for-profit organization, mentoring other women entrepreneurs at FWE, volunteering at my kids school or sports team, or spending time with my family in nature. Trail running is a particular favourite activity of mine and North Vancouver boasts some of the best views and trails in the world (as evidenced on my Instagram feed).
Blog posts by Suzanne (personal and business)
- FDA Compliance and the cost of doing business
- Look! It’s our new Website and Blog
- Service Recognition and Inspiration
- Embracing vulnerability at WDS
- Social Impact investing for Women
- Motherhood Menstruation and Men
- Green Investing for Change
- Lactivists take on H&M
- A Gentle Home Birth Story
- Meet Suzanne