Looking for purpose: from private investment in Taiwan to microfinance in Sri Lanka
The beauty of life is that sometimes life-changing opportunities come when least expected. This is what happened to Yunghan Chang, in 2016.
Despite having a well-paying job at an investment firm in Taiwan, Yunghan did not feel fulfilled. The desire of wanting to have a job that gives her a sense of purpose and burnout from the long working hours eventually plunged her into depression. Seeking a way out from the doldrums she reached out to a friend, Jerry Zhu (a member of the inaugural Amani Institute’s Social Innovation Management Program SIM Class) who advised her to join the Amani Institute. Despite of considering joining a Master’s program, eventually Yunghan chose to trust Jerry’s recommendation.
During the immersion phase of the program in Kenya in 2016, Yunghan developed a better understanding of the social impact sector and began to see how she could utilise her finance skills to impact society. She also got to introspect and discover more about herself as well as skills on how to be an effective changemaker.
“The Inner Journey of the Changemaker course was really powerful as it helped me to orient and find my burning. This in essence gave me a totally different outlook and gave me a new lease on life,” she says.
After graduating from the SIM program, Yunghan joined an East African investment banking firm due to her desire to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) access financial resources (equity and debt investment) that typically are difficult for them. She really enjoyed her role in supporting African SME’s but when the firm decided to pivot to serving larger-scale businesses, she decided to move on. She ventured into freelance consulting as well as travelled across the East Africa/ India continent as she sought her next opportunity.
In June this year, Yunghan got a new job in Sri Lanka as the Country Representative for Gojo & Company, a microfinance company that aims to provide financial inclusion for the poor people. The role entails supporting the local management team in matters of finance, operation, as well as helping the organization develop a social impact/innovations unit. This involves aspects like investigating mechanisms to offer low-interest rates to the poor to enhance access to credit as well as planning financial literacy programs.
“So far I really feel that my work is having an impact and I have gelled well with the team we have here. I feel that the experience at Amani helped prepare me for acclimatizing well to a multicultural workplace. The training we did on rapid prototyping also comes in very handy when testing ideas.”
It’s amazing to see Yunghan’s career in social impact continue to blossom and we can’t wait to hear what’s next in store for her!finance, social innovation, Sri Lanka