We had the good fortune of connecting with Mai Ling Chan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mai Ling, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am a unique blend of Colombian and Chinese ethnicity. My mother is a first-generation American, and my father is an immigrant from Hong Kong who earned his citizenship fighting for the United States in Vietnam. Because of this very culture-rich upbringing, I have experienced many family member’s first trips to America, and have celebrated their progress and successes throughout their lives. These beautiful stories of courage, commitment, passion, and grit have shaped my own outlook on life and fueled my personal goals and vision.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a really good example of “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” I was an early and constant talker and so my ultimate decision to return to graduate school for a master’s in speech-language pathology was a perfect fit as a career choice. But it is my eternal love of technology that has made my profession the true joy that it is today. Because I am open-minded and always curious, I am able to investigate and utilize technology in a number of ways that benefit my clients, as well as assist me in expanding my connection with disability-focused professionals and colleagues. This includes creating websites and software platforms, utilizing software applications within clinical settings, creating podcast episodes, Facebook live events, social media messaging, book publishing, and most recently, the world’s first brain-computer interface and augmented reality technology for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). I have only recently embraced my own uniqueness and value in the disability community and hope to employ this wisdom as inspiration to others who are beginning their journeys in this area. By shining a spotlight on the many incredible people who are creating, achieving, and progressing, I also uncover the similarities that we all share – we are real people with real lives, real, challenges, and a passion to serve.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Biltmore area of Phoenix is a lovely gem of an area! The Arizona Biltmore is a gorgeous, historical hotel that captures an architectural history as well as geographical. Located just outside the city of Phoenix, the Biltmore location is a wonderful mix of family neighborhoods, upscale shopping and 4 and 5-star restaurants and Biltmore Fashion Park, premium hiking, and resort getaways. This is also a short drive to other well-known areas such as downtown Scottsdale and the many beautiful and well-known Scottsdale resorts and shopping.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my parents, Rosalba and Kan Chuen Chan for their love, support, and lifelong examples of leadership.