Name and occupation:
Michael Soon Lee, MBA, CSP – Professional Speaker & Business Consultant
Former motion picture actor with such stars as Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, Robby Benson and Clint Eastwood. Former Dean of the School of Management at John F. Kennedy University. Author of seven books including, “Cross-Cultural Selling for Dummies” and “Black Belt Negotiating”.
What do you love most about being of Asian Heritage?
I love sharing my Asian culture with others so they can get past differences they see on the outside to see how similar we all are on the inside. I also love being able to dispel myths about the Asian culture such as the fact that some believe that Asians are not articulate (I’m the first Asian American Certified Speaking Professional in the National Speakers Association), that Asians are good at math (I suck!) and that Asians are quiet (I’m definitely not!). I love sharing Asian food and their origins with my friends and learning about their culture as well.
I am a 5th generation Chinese American. While I am Chinese I’m not accepted by many in my culture because I don’t speak the language (thanks to the California public school system I speak Spanish!) and I’m not fully accepted by many Americans because I don’t look like the majority. I think this is why my clients want me to talk about how to bridge the gap between Caucasian salespeople and their multicultural customers.
Tell us an interesting Asian History Fact:
Fortune cookies are not a product of China. The best guess is that they were invented in Los Angeles in 1918.
Who or what inspires you most?
Prejudice against Asians and others who are different inspires me every day. It’s what gets me up in the morning hoping this will be the day we eliminate prejudice and discrimination. I help salespeople to increase their sales to multicultural customers. Learning about culture bridges differences between people.
Something you often think to yourself that you’d like to say publicly:
Don’t be afraid of me! If you take the time to ask me about my culture and get to know me as a person, not a stereotype, you’ll see that we have more in common than we have differences.