The newest member of the Nexus team discusses titles, collectivism, and the power of love
Joining a little over a month ago, Chao currently serves as the Director of Strategic Development; however, she is quick to note that, “titles are just titles,” and it does not say much about her job. In her role, she focuses on development, but also communications, evaluation, fund management and relationships, and strategic planning.
Before coming to Nexus, Chao worked at a corporate foundation for close to three years where she funded communities in East Asia, United States and Minnesota; however, the experience taught her that she belonged in community.
“Here [at Nexus], community is everything, where corporate philanthropy is more about reputational giving. Being Hmong and coming from a collective community, I was missing out on being a part of an organization that valued me and my lived experiences as an asset. Before Nexus, I was serving communities globally, but I knew I could do more at home.”
With the first month under her belt, Chao is enjoying the new organizational culture of Nexus.
“What’s really amazing is Nexus has this deep, profound culture that leans towards collectivism. The relationships here are good and real. Being here reminds me of who I am and what my purpose is. I went through an emotional journey from self-reflection to acceptance.”
When asked to describe herself, Chao does away with the professional titles and jargon.
“I’m a walking contradiction. Often when people are asked to describe themselves, they jump to characteristics and titles. I live in moments, I’m complicated, and I’m complex. I can go from one spectrum to another depending on the context. I’m a big believer in love. Everyone’s motivations, at the end of the day, are to be loved and to love. My growth game is strong. If I’m not growing, I see it as a problem.
Outside of Nexus, Chao is staying busy with writing a memoir on her aunt, who is the oldest missing persons case in the Twin Cities; starting a healing-focused podcast; and providing career coaching for professionals.