Educator of Global Citizens Linda He: Let the Young Dreams Shine
1) The pursuit of professionalism and perfection is a belief that we always uphold.
2) Young people should be given more opportunities so their dreams may shine.
3) Becoming an educator for global citizens is a dream of mine and I am living it.
Overseas immigration and education in China, the world's largest source of international students, has always been a well-coveted business. According to the Ministry of Education, the number of Chinese international students in 2017 increased 11.74% year-on-year, exceeding 600,000 for the first time.
"Overseas returnee”as an identity has become more common and thus less valuable, but this does not affect the market players’ passion to join the game. Traditional tourism agencies leverage their existing market segments, channels and resources in the hopes of getting a share of the pie in immigration and overseas education, while the “rising stars”from the Internet arena including Utour and Ctrip are planning their presence in advance.
Wailian Overseas Consulting Group, a veteran in the field of overseas immigration, investment and education with a strong foundation of professional staff and authoritative overseas research centers, has developed itself into a leader in the industry with its professional talents, business scale and first-mover advantages, and has gradually grown into a multinational enterprise with global presence.
What does it take to stand invincible? Linda He, chairman of Wailian Group, believes that “By going deep in your own field and becoming a benchmark, you will be able to achieve what is impossible to others.”
Profession, Devotion, Concentration
iAsk Linda: What is the secret weapon of your success?
Gloria Ai: Studying abroad, immigration, overseas investment – these concepts are no longer new in China, but they were rarely seen back in the 1990s. How come you decided to work in this field?
Linda He: Not every story has a dramatic beginning. Mine started by accident when I first entered the field of immigration. At that time, studying abroad was not easy, and one of my family members came to me for advice on studying abroad, because I know more about the subject and would be able to help her. I was successful in helping her fulfil her dream, and after that, more and more people came to me, with not only their trust in me, but also their confusion of the unknown future. In helping them fulfil their dreams step by step, I realized that I should remain in this area so I can help more people.
Gloria: You once said, "Entrepreneurship means doing something that others are unwilling to do, and doing it well". What does it mean?
Linda: By going deep in a field of your expertise with perseverance and becoming the benchmark, you will be able to achieve what is impossible to others. I think that would the best interpretation.
Gloria: What is your secret weapon to achieving that goal?
Linda: The pursuit of professionalism and perfection. It has been and always will be a belief that we uphold.
In addition to being the chairman of Wailian Group, Linda has another identity - a super angel investor.
It is only natural to pursue business returns as an investor. But Linda is different. Putting the spotlight on the unique characteristics of the young people and creating opportunities for them to realize their dreams sets Linda apart from any other investors.
Linda He founded the owned-media platform “Elite Talks”, which focuses on family education, providing first-hand, authoritative information for international students, interviewing influencers in the political and business arena as well as professors and student leaders at top universities around the world;
To address the pain points and difficulties that international students face in seeking internship and job opportunities, Linda fully leveraged her influence in overseas Chinese communities and local mainstream associations, institutions, and universities in establishing My Job Bank, an employment platform that provides outstanding bilingual talents with high-end internships, training, and employment opportunities at prestigious institutions such as the United Nations, the top four consulting companies, and Morgan Stanley, offering Chinese overseas students a revolutionary solution to career development in China and the United States.
As she continues to create opportunities for young people, Linda He also incubated "Parents Chat", a smart online education platform developed on mobile Internet technology dedicated to parents of younger children, with school selection as the starting point and further education as the service scenario, live-broadcasting courses on how to train 3- to 8-year-olds in their thinking, effectively helping parents to resolve the difficulties in choosing a school and relieving the anxiety over further studies.
Be it “Elite talks”, “My Job Bank", or “Parents Chat”, Linda He stayed true to her principle - that is, never just walk away after the initial phase. She remained engaged throughout the whole process and kept the incubation internal by finding a suitable co-founder and participating in the operations as a major shareholder, providing office space, resources, funds and advice.
“I look for that sense of responsibility and perseverance in the young people in their work. For each project, I would be personally involved in communication for quite some time, and only upon agreement and perception concept has been reached will we become partners."
Empowering the young people and letting their dreams shine
iAsk Linda: How to become a super angel investor?
Gloria: Immigration might be a good field to develop your career in, but you have been deeply devoted to the education industry, as co-founder and investor. Why is that?
Linda: I often say that immigration is one of the solutions to education. Among the cases handled by Wailian, the original purpose of immigration for many people was to create more and better educational opportunities for their children. Although Wailian provides them with the possibility, they need more help in bring the possibility into reality.
What many of my peers do is to directly connect with overseas resources, but I am not really comfortable with that. I would like to provide more professional opinions and resources that others can't provide or are not doing well enough. Therefore, I decided to venture out and test some new opportunities.
Gloria: In your opinion, what defines the education that Wailian is working on?
Linda: According to the traditional Chinese culture, students should be taught in accordance with their aptitude. The essence of education is equality, which comes with the premise of personalization. How do you unleash the nature talents in every child and tap into their maximum potential with education – that is the question I focus on the most.
Gloria: You sound more like a talent scout, telling more young people that they have the opportunity and the possibility to receive quality education.
Linda: I serve as the initial contact and the link in between. I connect with a lot of talent scouts, so that every talent can communicate with his or her own scout, which is why there are NASA scientists and also MIT professors on my platform. I call them "Titans of the industry."
Gloria: What is you plan regarding the expansion in education? Do you plan on forming a closed loop of incubation and investment?
Linda: There will be priorities. At this stage, the plan is to penetrate via all aspects of further education, while targeting employment education and character education, building a matrix of education on these three dimensions.
Gloria: As an entrepreneurial investor, you are more like a super angel investor in the field of investment, as you not only invest in entrepreneurial projects for commercial returns, but also incubate projects for public welfare purposes?
Linda: Empowering the young people has been my ongoing effort. I am willing to explore the qualities that the young people have to become entrepreneurs, but not everyone has the potential. I need to see for myself whether they have that sense of responsibility, whether they have the perseverance it takes. Before we become partners, I usually stay in contact with them for professional interaction and communication for a period of time until mutual recognition and consensus reached.
I was at Harvard a few days ago and I met a girl who was working on a study abroad project. After our chat together, she was very interested in a social platform that I incubated and came onboard the project immediately. Cases like this abound. I always believe that young people should be given more opportunities so their dreams may shine.
As an entrepreneur or an investor, after all, what Linda He cares about the most is "education".
In a cold winter of capital, the education industry thrives despite the market: funds continue to pour in, companies flock to go public... Apart from the “counter-cyclical” nature of the education industry, Linda He spoke truthfully that it is the passion deep from her heart that perpetuates her perseverance on education. “I invest in education, first and foremost out of my passion."
To improve equality in education, Linda He founded WeDesign, an art design education school dedicated to the globalization of art education, breaking the space boundaries of art education so that more talented art lovers are allowed exposure to world-class art culture. To redefine the creativity of future musicians, Linda He founded WeMusic, a music art education platform aims to reshape music education for future musicians and elites and to cultivate creativity, social responsibility and self-expression in art, leveraging the world-class faculty from the Juilliard School of Music to provide one-on-one online music lessons, offering students of different age groups in various regions across the globe the opportunity to learn from top-tier masters.
In addition, Linda He also actively promotes exchanges in global economy, culture and science and technology. Since 2011, Wailian has jointly hosted the Invest in America Summit for seven consecutive years, and has published three industrial research reports that are well-renowned across the country in collaboration with Forbes, the authoritative financial media outlet, establishing an effective communication platform for Chinese investors and overseas project parties with professional and valuable forward-looking insights and strategic guidance.
Linda aspires to be not only an investor or an entrepreneur, or even an entrepreneurial investor, but an educator of global citizens.
Being an educator of global citizens is a dream of mine
iAsk Linda: What is your understanding of an entrepreneurial investor?
Gloria: Mr. Wu Xiaobo proposed the concept of an “entrepreneurial investor”. What is your understanding of it?
Linda: During the development of a company, an entrepreneurial investor may come with experience, but his time and energy will be limited, so he needs another team for execution, which is why he invests in the team and also grows with it. That is my understanding of it.
Gloria: Most entrepreneurs separate their investments with clear boundaries, but not you. You have many plans and dreams you want to realize, for which you look for a suitable co-founder and then provide resources, funding and advice. Why is that? Is it not tiring?
Linda: It does take more effort, but what is more valuable and more important to me is resources sharing – that is, to share resources around your core business and ecosystem.
Gloria: Do you envy other types of entrepreneurial investors, like Boquan He or David Wei?
You strive for all your worth, and you succeed in your own way. David Wei’s model is that he identifies a team or a track with solid potential, and then he scouts for the racing horse that will win him the game and invests in it.
For me, there wouldn’t be a team to start with, because I need to develop a solution from scratch, for which I need someone who is the perfect match to push forward with me. I am willing to participate in the formation of the team, which makes my model different from David’s. When I am making decision on whether to go ahead with a project, oftentimes I am not evaluating from an investor’s standpoint to see whether the project is favorable for the capital. Instead, I make decisions on whether the project is meaningful, and whether it is worth doing.
Gloria: For those who would like to be an entrepreneurial investor but has not yet initiated the investment journey, one major question is: what to invest? Why are you so optimistic about education?
Linda: I invest in education, first and foremost because I like it, that is, I am passionate about what I do. In addition, the education industry is counter-cyclical. Whether it’s good times or bad times in the broader economy, there is always a relatively stable market demand for education.
Gloria: Then you are not only an investor or an entrepreneur, but more like an educator?
Linda: Becoming an educator of global citizens is a dream of mine and I am living it.
Gloria: Lastly, what advice do you have for those who would like to become an entrepreneurial investor?
Linda: Start off your journey by giving, and stride forward with a cheerful state of mind. Just like what is engrained in our corporate culture, "Love others as yourself, and treat others as yourself”. "Love others as yourself”, remember to always care for other people. You will sympathize more with others when you understand where they come from. “Treat others as yourself”, make it your mission to help others fulfil their dreams and build a career out of it. The entrepreneurial journey can be lonesome, but we may join hands and venture on together.