Jean Sum

I am a proud Asian-Australian Woman with a keen interest in solving societal challenges. I am a creative, dancer, writer, speaker and partnerships broker with nuanced understandings of the private, community and university sectors. I am energised when I hang out and collaborate with fascinating individuals who believe in creating a better society.

For a large part of my life, I had not fully embraced the two key identities that make me Jean Sum – my Asian-Australian heritage and my feminine qualities. A few years ago, I began to deeply explore these identities and explore what each of these bring to my life. I have spent a lot of time and energy working through my purpose and career path, and I now realise that it is precisely these identities that have shaped the full and rich life that I have always led. It is through my experiences that I have a deep desire to support others uncover the qualities that make them unique contributors to our society.

My story of transformation started in the bank, after studying Actuarial Studies & Commerce and working my first job overseas. Upon my return to Australia, I worked in the banking industry. But when my brother died of suicide, I asked myself:

“If life is so short, why am I in a career that I’m so unhappy in?”

I took the plunge and ventured into the International Development not-for-profit sector, followed later by the university and family violence sectors. My path of transformation continues to evolve as I develop a life and career that energises me and aligns with my strengths and values while helping others remain a core part of my life purpose. This colourful path has seen me take two self-funded sabbaticals, a city relocation while experiencing major life events such as separation and professional burnout.

I continue to experience and learn the richness of life’s learnings through dance, travel, writing, meditation, yoga and spirituality.

My intention for this space is to offer support to other Asian-Australians to align their life and career paths with their values, strengths and desires. As Asian-Australians, we experience many internal and external pressures and expectations. As a woman who started a career in a traditional, masculine industry, I hid a large part of myself in order to be seen as exceptional in my career, and I did not embrace my feminine qualities such as intuition, expression and empathy which are the traits needed as leaders in the 21st century.

I hope you enjoy reading my stories and learnings. I welcome the opportunity to mentor and support Asian-Australian women in their mid to late 20s, guest blog, speak, collaborate on solving problems or have a cup of oolong tea together.

Image by Shardey Olynyk Photography