I always wondered what I should do with my career. Although I had a great job working in corporate America, it never felt like it was a good fit for me. Sure, I liked suiting up once in a while, but something was missing. I talked with other young women who felt like they are caught in this web of limitless choices. The options that are available to us can be overwhelming.
I was abandoned and bought on the street and yet I ended up here living a happy and comfortable life. Shouldn't that have motivated me? But it wasn't until things got real that my whole attitude and outlook on life changed.
I'll never forget a meal I had two years ago in 2011. I took my mother out to a nice restaurant for dinner on Mother's Day. She asked me if I ever thought about my biological mother. I told her yes, there are two days a year that I think about her. The first day is Mother's Day. The second day is my birthday, because I wonder how you could forget such a significant experience. She asked me if I would ever want to meet my biological mother. I said yes, but I knew that wouldn't be possible since she had bought me on the street. It was then that she told me that she had been secretly looking for my biological mother and had found her.
At the time, my mother was 70 years old. She knew she was getting older and was my only connection to my biological mother. Unbeknownst to me, each time we visited China, she would do a bit of research. The man on the street that had me worked as a police officer. The only thing my mother knew when she bought me was this man's name and where he worked.
I'm fortunate that the woman who became my mother only had the best intentions for me. For this, I'm forever grateful. It pains me each time I hear about girls that are abandoned, abused, or neglected. 27 percent of all human trafficking victims detected are children and of that two-thirds are girls. Globally, at least 60 percent of trafficked victims are women. In total, the percentage of girls and women together accounts for approximately 75 percent of all human trafficking. There's something so powerful about my connection to these girls and women that I can't even explain in words. I only know that I care deeply for them and want to help them.
That fall, I was in a funk with work and was thinking about going to graduate school. I didn't want to delay my future even though at the time I didn't know exactly what that was. Then, my boyfriend of over two years and I broke up. Two months after that, I flew to China for Chinese New Year and met my biological mother. And then, a few months later I got laid off from my job.
I was basically forced to take some time and really think about what was important to me and what I wanted to accomplish with my life. Stress and challenges in many areas of my life had created a void that I was trying to fill with a traditional career, but clearly that wasn't working. It turns out that those challenges were exactly what I needed to push myself to focus on something greater than myself. I had to learn to use my heart over my head. In 2102, I started a socially conscious company with a mission to help people eat healthier while also helping girls like me.