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Servant Leaders in Action: Business

A Passion to Serve the Community

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May Chan (MBA '98) has been working as the Chief Financial Officer for the American Red Cross-Orange County Chapter for nearly seven years. She plans, leads, organizes, and controls all functions in the financial and accounting departments and works closely with the Board and audit and finance committees. Because of her excellent work in the Orange County Chapter, Chan is responsible for overseeing the financial departments in two other chapters.

After obtaining her Bachelor's degree in psychology, Chan began her career by working as an accounting clerk in New York. She then returned to California and continued her studies to become an accountant with a local CPA firm. Chan continued on in various Fortune 100 companies and became a sought after candidate in a renowned human resources search firm. She soared smoothly up the corporate ladder until she took the office of Financial Controller for her Fortune 100 and 200 companies. However, after working twenty years in for-profit organizations, she felt that there was something missing. Acting upon this instinct led Chan to enter Hope International University's Masters program. She graduated with her MBA in 1998 after which she says "He (God) led me to the American Red Cross, and I was able to submit myself to Him." For Chan, the reward from her work is not merely monetary but is manifested in the form of what she calls "job satisfaction, contentment and life enrichment."

"Hope is a very unique university," says Chan. "The people who teach and work at Hope are followers of Christ and they truly live a Christ centered life and model it to the students. Hope also provides powerful insight into servanthood and teaches and equips students to be servant leaders." Before attending Hope, Chan felt as if she had to prove her worth to her colleagues and, as she says, "joined the rat race to climb up the corporate ladder." However, upon attending Hope she learned how to serve not just her bosses, but also her subordinates like Christ did. She realized that in order to become a true leader, one must become a servant first.

As for Chan's career with the Red Cross, this is of utmost importance. "We are here to reach out, render support (physically), and encourage (emotionally) victims who face calamity. . . I am consumed by this organization's passion to serve the community and not to be served." Chan believes that her years at Hope were essential in providing her with the ability to challenge her thinking and to learn what it is that God wants her to do. " Hope is a student focused university [which] emphasizes both academic and holistic teaching," says Chan. She was able to expand not only her academic knowledge but also her foundation of faith.

Chan recalls instances that changed her thinking forever. "I remember my first day of classes at Hope when professor Sherwin prayed with us before he commenced the class. I was taken by surprise and impressed by how he honored and included God in his teaching. I also remember my last class at Hope. Dr. Rabe was telling the class about his three priorities in life. The third one is his career, the second one is his family, and his top priority is God. I thought about my own priorities, they were work, work, and work. In that moment I realized how wrong I was and how I had wandered and drifted to this secular way of thinking. So, I decided to vitally turn my life around and radically rely on God to lead me."

Chan fully believes that God led her to the MBA program at Hope and is grateful for the way it has radically changed her life. Hope provided the catalyst needed for her to experience what she calls "an awakening moment, a turning point in my life, and a renewal of mind with eternal value." With the training she received at Hope, Chan continues to work with the Red Cross to help victims of disaster and to share her love and devotion to the Lord in tangible ways.