Hi! I’m Christina Wu. My pronouns are she/her. I’m a Taiwanese-born American, nonprofit founder, events director, entrepreneur, and breast cancer survivor.
I was diagnosed in 2018 with HER-2 positive invasive ductal carcinoma. After 6 rounds of chemo, hair loss, 1 year of immunotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and breast reconstruction, I was declared cancer free. Since then, I founded The Remissionaries, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on providing comfort and care for women with a breast cancer diagnosis undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
As an advocate for breast cancer action and prevention, I enjoy sharing my journey and hope to inspire others through theirs. I have been involved in a few organizations and community programs as the Events Director for YNPN (Young Nonprofit Professionals Network) Southern Nevada, and a community director for a Las Vegas AAPI Heritage Month event.
Originally from Southern California, my husband and I consider ourselves Vegas locals of almost 20 years. We share our beautiful home in the desert with our 2 fur babies. Beyond advocating for breast cancer action, empowering women and girls of color, and supporting AAPI communities, my passions include food, coffee, travel, figure skating, hockey, snowboarding, Broadway musicals, live music shows and festivals.
I believe in the power of community, in our ability to heal from trauma, and in the power of strangers to make our world a better place.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in leadership, and how have you overcome them?
Being a woman in leadership is challenging in and of itself but uniquely so for those of us who identify as Asian-American. Cultural biases and stereotypes – I’ve had to deal with the “model minority” stereotype especially being someone who does not hold a college degree, or the “dragon lady” trope where I’ve been portrayed as aggressive or unapproachable when I set boundaries or simply don’t agree with certain things. Lack of representation – It’s important to be able to look up to someone who can share their experiences, offer guidance and support but finding role models or mentors in our communities is difficult. Intersectionality – AAPI women face the intersectionality of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and a multitude of identities, which can result in unique challenges that may not be experienced by our male or non-AAPI counterparts.
It’s been helpful for me to build a supportive network and find allies. I have sought out other AAPI women for guidance and personal support. I try to surround myself with others who are committed to supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion, amplifying AAPI voices, and challenging biases. As a breast cancer survivor, I’ve had to learn to advocate for myself which is a difficult skill to learn but crucial as a woman in leadership. It takes some confidence, an ability to assert oneself when necessary, and be a good communicator. I am a proponent of taking care of one’s mental health as well, so therapy is extremely important in learning to overcome challenges.
Can you share a success story or project that you are particularly proud of and why?
As we are all aware, 2020 was a difficult year that saw an increase in anti-Asian hate which our communities are still experiencing today. In May of 2021, I collaborated with an amazing group of AAPI community leaders to have the first annual AAPI Heritage Month celebration with a focus on Stop anti-Asian Hate. We gathered about 30 AAPI owned small businesses in an outdoor courtyard on Spring Mountain to sell their goods and services, invited AAPI entertainers to perform, and had a few lovely moments of solidarity for our grieving communities throughout the country. It was a beautiful afternoon, free to the public, where we were able to celebrate each other with peace and love. I’m extremely proud of this event and we hope to continue to do this every year, if possible.
In 2022, The Remissionaries was selected as 1 of 21 charities in Las Vegas to receive a $10,000 grant from a wonderful local foundation called Mondays Dark, founded by Mark Shunock and Cheryl Daro. I was tasked to collect 60 items from local businesses for the silent auction which was a feat in itself. I managed to collect more than expected, had a wonderful event in October for breast cancer awareness month, which also inspired a volunteer event with Mondays Dark where we made 30 Comfort Crates to distribute to local breast cancer patients. The community really came out to support my organization, and I am still elated that we received such a generous donation. From this, we’re able to distribute 200 Comfort Crates this year.
Can you share some of the key skills and qualities that have contributed to your success as a leader?
Successful leadership requires a combination of skills and qualities that are important for any leader, as well as those that are specific to the experiences of Asian American women. Emotional intelligence or the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions and the emotions of others is a crucial skill. It helps to build strong relationships with colleagues and lead effectively. Effective communication is essential. Being able to clearly articulate goals and objectives, actively listen to others, and provide feedback and support as needed. Authenticity is a big one. Being authentic builds trust and creates a sense of community and belonging. Being true to oneself and one’s values is important especially for Asian American women who may feel pressure to conform to stereotypes or expectations. Strategic thinking or the ability to think critically and creatively, to anticipate challenges, and plan for the future, are important skills for growth and success. Resilience, or the ability to adapt and bounce back from setbacks. Lastly, having a healthy appetite for learning new skills and developing qualities to improve as a leader in your field.
What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be leaders in their respective fields, and what resources have been helpful for you in your own journey?
Build a strong network of supportive colleagues and peers, mentors, and sponsors. Seek out people who are willing to offer guidance, share their experiences, and advocate for you. Educate yourself. Be proactive about finding resources that can help you develop your skills and knowledge. Whether it’s reading books, listening to podcasts, attending conferences, webinars, workshops, online courses, always be learning. Build your confidence with opportunities that challenge you, set achievable goals, and celebrate every success, no matter how small you may think it is. Find your voice and be willing to speak up and share your ideas and perspectives. Imposter syndrome is real for so many of us but taking all of these steps to build yourself up is extremely helpful to overcome those internalized doubts. Joining local organizations and networking within your community is a great first step.
How can we get involved with or support your organization?
We are currently recruiting board members for 2023/24 so please email me if you’re interested or know someone that is. You can find The Remissionaries website at www.theremissionaries.org. We are also on facebook, instagram, and linkedin. Please follow us to keep up to date on what we’re doing in the community.