Getting to Know You: Ariel Zhang posted 10/04/17

By Jeanne Kaufmann

 

Launch St. Louis is thrilled and honored to welcome Ariel Zhang as our newest board member.  Ariel served on our 18-month partnership committee for two years, and brings that wealth of experience, along with an exceptional skillset developed as a Management Consultant at North Highland Worldwide, to Launch.

To officially introduce Ariel, we thought it might be fun to play a little game of “Getting to Know You”!  We hope you enjoying learning more about Ariel as much as we did, and look forward to having Ariel in her new role within the Launch community.

So without further ado, meet Ariel!

1) What brought you to St. Louis?

My family moved here when I was in high school for my mom’s job. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place – almost nine years. I can’t believe it. It’s definitely considered my home now.

2) How did you first get involved with Launch St. Louis?

I was a part of the Young Professionals Network when I was working at one of the bigger companies in St. Louis. I volunteered a bit in college but wanted to get more active in the community after graduation. One day, I saw information about Launch at the bottom of one newsletter from the YPN and saw it as a great opportunity to get to know different nonprofits in St. Louis.

3) What inspires you to do the work that you do?

My parents immigrated to Canada from China when I was two and then we immigrated to America when I was 12. Being an immigrant gives you a different perspective I think. I watched my parents really fight to start something for us because we didn’t have roots and connections where we immigrated. I recognize that they gave me a world of opportunities so I think it’s my responsibility to be grateful and pass that on to someone else. I honestly think I’m lucky to have a life where my basic needs are met and am, therefore, able to give back.

4) What excites you must about the future for St. Louis?

So much! St. Louis has a huge opportunity to market itself to the world. I think St. Louis is the most underrated city that I’ve been. My favorite part is that it’s truly a community. We have a problems like any community would but never in another city would you find top CEOs willing to mentor college students, such high involvement in non-profits, and so many entrepreneurs trying to make a difference. It’s the combination of everything that makes us unique.

4) What is a cause you are passionate about?

Obviously I’m passionate about Launch. I took two years of just being on the committee level to truly understand the value of Launch before joining the board. We all have way too much on our plates and so I try to be selective on how I spend my time. I’m also passionate about Make-A-Wish and volunteer as a wish granter. I had to have major surgery when I was 13 and spent time away from school for quite a bit of time. I relate to those kids a lot and they help me keep perspective on life.

5) How do you enjoy spending your free time?

I try to do too many things (^see above about learning to be selective on my time). Currently, I love salsa dancing, boxing, and rock climbing. I also LOVE food. All of my friends will tell you that food is my top priority on any given day. I love being creative in my cooking at home and try to cook food from different cultures. St. Louis also has an affordable (!!!), diverse, and top-notch food scene.

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