Re-Imagineers: Julie Chan

At the age of 60, you made a big career move to Switzerland with your company, GSK Consumer (now Haleon), to be their Global Media Director. What was that like and what advice would you give to people who want to work longer and take a big leap in their company or to another company?

As the song says, Hold on Tight to Your Dreams. I always knew I wanted to travel and work abroad but my gut told me not to do that when my kids were growing up. With kids out of the house, it’s the perfect time to experiment and go for your dreams. My job was eliminated and a Switzerland opportunity came up. Although it may have been a “step down” it was a step up in terms of lifestyle, experience, and happiness. Don’t let titles and egos get in the way of trying something new. Don’t just work for the sake of “working”; you have to love what you do, or don’t do it. I’ve found I had to “zig-zag” in my career to get where I wanted. I’ve made so many life-long friends along the way. 

After a nearly 40-year advertising, and media career, you have signed off, returned to New Jersey, and are about to ROAR into a new career as a Pilates instructor. When did you get your Pilates Teacher Training Certificate? Tell us about this new “rewire.”

I love working with people and all those years of presentations prepared me to teach Pilates both in group classes and in private client 1:1s. I got my Instructor certification in 2018. In 2019, I had a total knee replacement and used Pilates to heal. It helped me so much that I took an additional teacher certification in Pilates for hip and knee replacement as I know many of us are headed for hip and knee replacements. Don’t be fooled; you are never too young to get a knee replacement. It allowed me to jump and run higher and faster than before. I want to spread that knowledge and joy and know there’s a growing demand for hip and knee replacement rehabilitation, so I’m positioning myself in this specialty of Pilates.

You also have a blog to help people travel, and you share the Chinese-American experience and issues. Your goal is to build on that by taking writing classes as well as learning more about the technical side of the blogging world. What’s your aspiration for this evolving life layer and how can people access your blog? 

I started my blog, Modern Chinese-American Woman, in 2008 as a way to keep in touch with my aunt and share my travels with her on the road. Over the years, I chronicled my global travels and found myself easily sharing hotels, restaurants, and activities with friends. As anti-Asian sentiment began to grow, I started to write about my experiences in an effort to educate and fight hatred. Along the way, I share funny New York stories and recent Swiss travels. Here are links to two of my favorite posts:

Additionally, my passion for historical fiction has inspired me to pursue a course on profiling and biographies. Through this course, I hope to uncover and share my grandmother’s remarkable immigration story to New York. Here’s a glimpse into my latest endeavors.

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