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Giva Scholarship & Community Ambassador Award Winner Essay: Joseph Lee - Interview with Arthur Chen

Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Ambassador Award winner, Joseph Lee, interviews one of his heroes for social responsibility, Dr. Arthur Chen of Oakland, California:

Interview with Dr. Arthur Chen
by Joseph Lee

What are your thoughts on leadership?

Leadership is important, but the type of leader you are makes the difference between an effective leader and one who is not. The biggest key in leadership is getting your team to believe and commit to the mission with the same earnestness that you have. Only then can the team work and move together. When there is a disconnect with the passion of the leader and the passion of the team, very little will get done, the leader will get burnt out, and the team will fail.

Another important part of leadership is valuing your team. I mean really valuing them. Not just "how are you" and "thank you," but seeking out ways you can assist them. This type of leader gets people to move with them and builds a cohesive team.

A great leader also allows his or her team to both succeed and fail. What this means is that they are not always micromanaging the team, but instead allows autonomy, therefore instilling confidence in the team. There will be times when the team fails and that is ok as long as you are allowing them to fail and learn from their failures.

Why do you believe we have to help others?

There are too many people who need help in this world for us not to. We have been blessed and given so much that it would be an injustice for us to stand by and watch people suffer. As physicians, we are in such a position of influence, and our skills allow us to build intimate relationships with our patients and our communities. To use such a privilege to do good, to love others and to serve. It's quite simply rooted in the biblical principle that we must love and serve our neighbors. When they are ill, take care of them; when they are hungry, feed them.

Why should we advocate for the Asian-American community?

Of all the communities that need an advocate, it's the Asian American community. So often they are neglected and clumped together as a model minority. How then do you explain the thousands without health insurance, the students who are not graduating from high school, the business owners being cheated out of money? If we don't do it, no one will, and there is no better time to do so than now.

How should we deal with disappointment?

Disappointment is going to happen in your life. Whether it be because people have let you down, you didn't get the position you were hoping to get, or reach the goals that you set. It is inevitable. What is variable is how you learn from them though. Disappointment is valuable and may even be necessary in order for someone to really grow as a leader and human being. How are you going to respond? Are you someone who is going to shy away from future endeavors because you are afraid of failure? Or are you someone who is going to take a step back and reflect on what you can change about yourself and the lessons you can learn from the experience so that next time, whether you succeed or fail again, you will approach the project differently. It is also important to look at the bigger picture and greater plan that is in store for you. Focus on those things. Lastly, it's ok to feel hurt and grieve. Don't think you have to be so strong that you can't feel vulnerable or saddened. In fact, allow that to happen and be patient. In time, healing and growth will occur.

How are we able to serve without craving recognition?

This is an easy trap to fall victim to and many do. Remember to check yourself and ask yourself why it is you are serving? Why is it that you are trying to give back? This is a continual conversation and self reflection you must have. Don't shy away from it, but be honest with yourself and fight the good fight.