Joanne Chang and Jennifer Tseng

Joanne Chang and Jennifer Tseng

The Society of Asian Academic Surgeons held its Fourth Annual Meeting at the Boston Medical Center, Sept. 26-27, with more than 148 scientific presentations and breakout sessions led by multiple department chairs and society leaders. Joanne Chang, James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and founder of the Flour Bakery, was the keynote speaker and Kuo Family Lecturer.

The Harvard undergrad was a math and economics major who decided to follow her dream in the cooking industry. At the SAAS 2019 annual meeting, she shared a few pearls with her audience:

  • “No swearing in the kitchen.”
  • “Greet everyone at the start and end of your day. Engage your employees. It sets the tone for the work environment.”
  • “My mom is not known for her cooking.”

Dr. Jennifer Tseng delivered the meeting’s presidential address to a packed audience and spoke about the importance of Asian values – family, education, hard work and food – in shaping her career. She also gave the sage advice to “pick your partner well. My husband says I picked really well.” Finally, she offered insight into “How to Roar” as an Asian academic surgeon:

  1. Act, don’t assume
  2. Listen carefully
  3. Have something to say
  4. Consider how you “present”
  5. Copy others
  6. All the world’s a stage
  7. Get out! (of your bubble)
  8. Try
  9. Give others a hand
  10. Do the right thing

And who could forget the amazing reception Dr. Tseng hosted at her house at the end of the meeting? Check out this menu:

Dinner menu from 2019 SAAS annual meeting closing reception, held at the home of Dr. Jennifer Tseng

Dinner menu from 2019 SAAS annual meeting closing reception, held at the home of Dr. Jennifer Tseng

Finally, the chair panel offered a cornucopia of advice from multiple department leaders that was both inspiring and thought-provoking:

Dr. Barbara Bass

Dr. Barbara Bass

“Having the right mentoring environment was the key to my success. Show up, do good work, be responsible.”

Dr. Sandra Wong

Dr. Sandra Wong

“Your first job is very important to the trajectory of your career. Align your clinical and research interests.”

Dr. Nita Ahuja

Dr. Nita Ahuja

“Some people are intimidated by change, but I like change. As a leader, you’re in control and can do the changing. Find good sponsors.”

Dr. Steven Stain

Dr. Steven Stain

“Be a good clinical surgeon, be around smart people, treat people well, meet deadlines. You never know who’s going to help you.”

Dr. Timothy Pawlik

Dr. Timothy Pawlik

“Find your passion. Take time to be introspective. Live in the moment. Optimism is true moral courage.”

Happy holidays from the Lotus Scroll! We look forward to seeing you in the Year of the Rat.

 


Story Author: Nancy Cho, MD

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