From Xi’an to Milwaukee + Everywhere In Between
EPIC SEM Manager Olivia Wang Shares Her Experiences Living + Working All Over The World
While all of us had to learn how to adapt in some way since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting to new environments is something that our SEM Manager, Olivia Wang, knows well. By hearing more about her amazing story, you will see why it’s important to continue to grow and adapt.
A Wandering Path
Olivia was born in Xi’an, China. Xi’an, formerly known as Chang’an, is one of the oldest cities in China. Olivia lived in Xi’an until she left for Beijing, China, to go to college. She told me that moving to Beijing was the beginning of her journey “wandering around the world.” After college, she moved to Leeds, England, to achieve her Master of Arts in International Communications. From there, she took a short break and then went to Macau, China, to be an international news editor. After a few months, she moved back to Beijing for a bit and eventually ended up making her way to Milwaukee in 2015. She joined the EPIC team in 2017.
Olivia told me that the hardest part of moving was finding the right “circles” to join and getting to know people. She said, “If you are lucky, there are existing people and circles there, and all you need to do is join them,” but sometimes you will need to make your own. Olivia made it seem very easy. She told me that eventually you learn that “people are just people, no matter where they are from.”
Coexisting With Penguins + Polar Bears
China, the United Kingdom, and the United States have very different climates. So not only did Olivia have to adjust to the different people and cultures, but she also had to adapt to the different weather. Moving to Milwaukee let her experience our infamous snowstorms and frigid temperatures. She also thought it was bizarre to see penguins and polar bears living outside at the zoo. “I saw penguins and polar bears outdoors, and I was like…seriously? I’m living in a place where penguins, polar bears, and I can all stay outside at the same time??”
People are just people, no matter where they’re from.
Now that Olivia has lived here for about six years, she has gotten the chance to make herself at home. She and her husband have been raising their three-year-old daughter, who recently moved back to Wisconsin from living in China. She told me that having to raise a toddler while working at home is a struggle, but after finding a routine it gets a little easier. Because of this, Olivia has been very grateful that everyone at EPIC is flexible and understanding when she’s unable to respond to messages quickly. She told me that Wisconsin is unlike any other place she’s lived because the people here care about having a healthy work and family balance.
Don’t Assume Anything
I asked Olivia what she wished people would stop doing when talking about different cultures, and she said that people often generalize an entire population. For instance, you shouldn’t say “Chinese people do this” or “New Yorkers do that” just because you’ve had one interaction with someone from that culture. She went on to say that “all the people [in a country] are individuals, and one person’s style cannot represent the place and the culture.”
By living in so many different places, Olivia has learned how to market to many different audiences. Her main point she wanted to get across was “DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING.” You can gather information about certain trends in buying behavior, but you cannot assume how customers feel.
Everyone Has A Story
Not only has Olivia learned a lot about people and life, but she also knows how to efficiently travel the world. Here are some of her tips:
1. “Money is never the most important thing in moving or traveling to a different country, but it can give you some peace of mind.”
2. “When you are traveling, the world is more real than you expect.” People aren’t always going to do you favors or look out for you, so plan ahead and be prepared.
3. “Everyone has a story, and [you] should respect their story, because [you] don’t know what they are experiencing or have experienced.”
Olivia’s story is a prime example of why learning to adapt isn’t the end of the world, and is the best way to grow. She told me, “I used to be afraid of changes in life, but you know what? Hey—I’m still alive!”
Interviewing Olivia was not like any other interview I’ve done. Being able to learn about the world from someone who has experienced it firsthand is incredible. Olivia is a lot more than what meets the eye. Her life experiences have made her empathetic, strong, and wise beyond her years. She’s a super down-to-earth person and a very important part of the EPIC team.
Bri Martin is an agency intern for EPIC. She is a senior at West Bend West High School and, when she is not busy with school and EPIC, she spends her time training as a competitive powerlifter.