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Hsiu Jung (Amy) Wu, founder, HJ Wu & Co. Inc. (Vancouver)

Amy Wu has never been conventional. Growing up on her parents’ rice and vegetable farm near Pingtung, Taiwan, she was the only one of five siblings to pursue an education overseas — and live outside of Taiwan permanently. “I always wanted to be a businesswoman and I didn’t see my future on the farm,” she says. “I remember watching [these women] in the American western movies on TV and finding them so glamorous.” While her siblings commuted to school, Wu insisted on

boarding. Aſter majoring in commerce in high school, she went to Taipei in 1980 at age 19 to study accounting in junior college, learning English along the way. After graduating, she held a series of accounting jobs but yearned for more. “I saw education as very important and my way out,” she says, noting that the US was a draw because of all the TV she’d watched. With financial help from her father, Wu (then 25) went on to get an under- graduate degree in finance at Southern Illinois University and then her MBA from Temple University in Philadelphia. She earned her US CPA (South Dakota) through an online program. “I remember a friend of my father’s asking him why he was

wasting so much money on me when I would eventually get married anyway,” she says. “I credit my dad, because he couldn’t afford it but allowed me to study what I wanted.” Wu went back to Taiwan, where she eventually worked for a

US company as a finance and administration manager. But when she went to Vancouver on a vacation trip, she fell in love with the city instantly. “Taiwan has a lot of pollution and I just loved the weather here,” she says. “My father was sup- portive of my leaving again and told his friends that as long

as I was determined I would make it work.” Wu applied to come to Canada as a skilled worker, a process

that took a year. When she arrived in Vancouver, she was 43, single and friendless, but she summoned her strength and set about the task of finding her way. “I don’t even remember how many resumés I sent out to firms — I became a professional interviewee,” she says. “I thought it would be easy with my back- ground, but I lacked Canadian experience and was competing with people with entry-level skills.” Wu finally landed a job in accounts payable at a community

college earning 50% of her previous wage in Taiwan. During this time, she started her CGA designation and also met her now- husband, Lawrence Ng, who was an IT project leader at the same college. But the yearning for more that she’d felt back in Taiwan was

still present. “I kept thinking the work I was doing was limited and didn’t put to use what I had learned in school,” she says. “My husband supported me to open up my own practice in 2010 and to use my knowledge and experience to help my clients.” Wu spent the first six months without a single customer. “I

twiddled my thumbs a lot but also used the time to study more about accounting and taxation,” she says. Her first client was a referral and it snowballed from there through word of mouth. Now Wu has more than 100 firms and individuals who use her services. She says she’s working very hard but loving it. Wu finally feels settled and happy. But even though she visits

her parents every year, she misses them more and more as she gets older. She also realizes how difficult it must have been for her father to let her go her own way. “I’m so grateful for what my father did for me,” she says. “I do finally feel like a businesswoman.”


Jimmy Jeong/KlixPix

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