Lien (she/her) is an FYA Ylab Manager.
When introducing herself to new people, YLab Manager, Lien To always starts with her horoscopes.
“I am a Capricorn Sun and Moon with a Taurus Rising… I feel like that could be enough for the right person asking!” she says.
“But if there could only be three words to describe me, it would be the same words as a good description; short, sharp and sweet.”
At 22, Lien works as a YLab Manager, coaching and training new associates. Having completed the YLab Associate program in 2021, Lien says the program opened her eyes to the world of social impact, and the possibilities of working within a sustainable industry.
“Before joining YLab in 2019, I didn’t make the connection that work was going to be a significant part of my time and life. I was ready to follow the traditional pathway of working 9-5 in a big organization (which in some ways I’m currently doing) but I understand my worth and hence am more selective to what I choose to invest in. YLab has taught me that you can do ANYTHING but not everything.”
Lien describes her first few weeks of YLab as feeling like she was “entering a cult”.
“In terms of, it felt too good to be true. The work, the people, the reimbursements and opportunities to meet and be a part of such impactful projects.”
Lien describes the opportunity to work in a job she loved from such a young age as a “privilege and an honour”. She believes other young people should be able to find work opportunities to fight for something they love.
“Young people feel like it’s a prerequisite to be stuck in an unfitting job before they feel that they’re ‘given permission’ to pursue something that they care and feel worthy about.”
“YLab breaks that binary view and offers an opportunity to stretch the boundaries as far and as deep as you’re willing to go.”
In her work advising and mentoring YLab associates, Lien tries to remind the associates that, as young people, they already hold expertise.
“You shouldn’t have to feel that you need to work harder for something you’re missing, because inherently that’s already a really good place to start. Build from there.”
Lien urges the associates to think of the program like “a playground for you to explore and learn different things.”
“The associate program is like a choose your own adventure story,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to find your voice as a young person, influence systems change, and design programs based on where you are, rather than where you should be.”
So, what’s next for Lien?
“A big part of YLab is passing on the baton to the next generation and ensuring that we do our best to deliver and sustain.”
“Beyond YLab, I have a few dreams. One of them is to publish a children’s story book with the idea of where our lost thoughts go. I would also love to look at opening a social enterprise to explore the significance of food… and visit Mars one day.”