Technology visionary and entrepreneur Jennifer Amys (left) is the speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast this Friday. She is pictured here with her husband Kevin (right) son Matthew and daughter Katie at Matt’s USC graduation.

As much as positive role models can inspire, sometimes we learn as much from what we don’t want to be like when we grow up.

 

Jennifer Amys grew up as a Chinese girl living in Taiwan. At an early age, she knew she didn’t want to be poor, uneducated and dependent upon a social/political framework that held women in low professional esteem. So her parents sent her away to better schools in the city.  Defying the odds, she graduated from the University of Taiwan and enrolled across the seas for an MBA at the University of Minnesota.

Please consider my invitation to meet Jennifer Amys as our speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast this Friday, September 20 — to hear her inspiring story.

With a Minnesota MBA, she rose up the corporate ladder like a bottle rocket: roles at General Mills, Burlington Northern, Pillsbury, Quaker Oats, CH Robinson and Rockwell International.  “My corporate life was fast and fun,” she laughed, “with each move I was the first foreign-born female leader to have those positions…other people were worried about me, but that’s the only world I knew!”

 

To say Jennifer is strong and driven is an understatement.  She has more business awards than I care to articulate – driven by an unwavering believe in herself, family, friends, faith and what’s possible for the future. Her large personality and thick Chinese accent add to her charm and mystique.

 

Becoming an entrepreneur helped Jennifer Amys connect with her kids and tackle significant societal problems.

But it was a pointed conversation with her adolescent children that caused her to get off the corporate rocket.  She needed to invest more in her family.

Returning home represented an opportunity to re-engage with her children and approach broad societal problems in wildly imaginative ways. Her first private venture, ORBIT Systems, made sophisticated Fortune 100 cloud computing capabilities available to small businesses.  “We did that before anyone called it “cloud,” she laughed. Today’s venture, UpNet Technologies, leverages Electronic Data Interface to transform the security and efficiency of consumer financial transactions. Sony Worldwide is her longest, largest customer.

She is also working on an internet search engine to monitor fairness for minority-owned contractors and helping ordinary people like you and me make legal crowd source funding investments (like an SEC-approved kick-starter).

My head is dizzy trying to make this woman’s brilliance approachable.  If you join us for breakfast, buckle your seat belt for a fast rocket ride.

Good leaders make a habit of remembering our basic motivations for why we work.  And we listen to the voices of friends and family to help keep us on the good path.

What did you learn in your childhood that helped you learn what you didn’t want in your leadership?