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About Julia

I am an ICF (International Coach Federation) certified coach. I’ve been coaching since 2009.

I was born and raised in Taiwan, a subtropical island located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. My Chinese first name, Hsin-Yen, means “speaking from the heart” (心, Hsin = heart; 言, Yen = speaking or language). I grew up in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Taipei is an energetic while crowded city. Very often we kids cannot wait to go out and play in the park. I remember playing volleyball, basketball and even baseball with my two brothers “at home”, i.e. “inside” of a 1,200 sq-ft condo on the top floor of a four-stories building. So fun. Strangely I don’t have much recollection about the glasses we broke and the troubles we got ourselves into. Just like most big cities, transportation has always been a nightmare in Taipei. For better mobility, I was a moped rider for six years in Taipei. Guess who took the picture of me on the moped? A policeman! Did you notice the loose strap on my helmet? The helmet didn’t count if the strap was not fastened. I received the picture along with a traffic ticket of NT$500 (New Taiwanese dollars), which was equivalent to $15 USD.

In 1999, I flew across the Pacific Ocean to US for graduate school. By December, I saw the “real snow” the very first time in my life. Snow is rare and considered good luck in Taiwan; when we have snow for a day or two on the top of the highest mountain, people believe the coming year will be a good year. I remember I was so excited, “Wow! How much luck I can stand for the coming year?!” Guess what, the following year, East Lansing had a snow storm bringing 18 inches of snow overnight. After spending 3  hours in the snow trying to dig out my little Toyota, my relationship with snow had gone sour…

I have lived in Michigan, Germany, New York and now in Chicago, IL. I speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, English, Taiwanese, very limited Japanese, and a few words in Thai (Chai, Mai Chai, Kup Koon Ka & Sawatdee Ka!) and German (Ja, Nein, Danke & Guten Tag!). I am grateful for the multicultural experiences with my classmates, friends and co-workers in US, a wonderful melting pot. It never ceases to amaze me the differences between different cultures, and yet similarities show up at the most unexpected places.

I am a scientist; precisely, I am a statistician. I work with other scientists to design better experiments and to distill deeper insights from data. I love my job. Instead of a number cruncher, I see myself as a storyteller. It’s exciting to “crack the code” and reveal the stories hidden behind the charts, tables and statistics. I don’t turn lead into gold, while I did win a nickname at work, “Magician of the Numbers”.

In 2007, I walked into a Toastmaster club in the evening of Valentine’s day. Wishful thinking, but I did not fall in love with public speaking immediately. Facing a crowd of native english speakers, I was so intimidated. I waited eight meetings to put myself together and give my first speech. The group (Extreme Toastmasters) was very welcoming. I was terrified but survived. One speech after another, gradually I polished my skills and gained more confidence in public speaking. In 2008, I participated in the Humorous speech contest (see video), something I wouldn’t even dream of doing just a few years ago. Result? I won second place and took a trophy home!

I stumbled into coaching a few years ago. At the time I was stressed out at work, beating myself up every day, and did not believe that the world can be a friendly place. As a first generation immigrant in US, I lost my inner compass. As a learner and an achiever (two of my Strengths Finder themes) I figured, “Let me learn this coach thing so I can dig myself out of the hole…” I was only half-correct: Coaching works, but it’s not about me finding the way out on my own. I was so much in pain, so blind such that I couldn’t see the path right in front of me. The shift did not happen until I hired a coach, who accepts me unconditionally, sees my passion and desires, helps me to clear road blocks, and challenge me to go after what I really want.

improvMy life has changed drastically. I cannot wait to get out of bed for “most” mornings (there are still a few tough days…). I do yoga everyday, lost some weight and quit drinking alcohol cold turkey. I enjoy juicing and raw food and was a vegetarian for over two years. I put myself out there and took classes on Improv and Standup Comedy at Second City (and I discovered that my 3rd career as a comedian!) I participated in the “free hugs” movement and gave loving hugs to strangers for 3 straight hours on Michigan Avenue. My next challenge is to attend a 10-day Vipassana meditation course, even though I have not been able to sit still to meditate for over half an hour…


I love the unique “me”. I feel alive! I love to show people what statistics can do for them, and I love to coach. I did not realize the solution can be so simple. I laugh at all the necessary and unnecessary struggles, and I am so grateful for how they shaped my life and made me who I am today.



Professional Background


PhD, Packaging, Michigan State University
MS, Statistics, Michigan State University
MS, Food Science and Technology, National Taiwan University
BS, Chemistry, National Taiwan University

Core Essential Graduate (CEG), Coach University
Corporate Coach University Graduate (CCUG), Corporate Coach University
ADDCA Certified Coach Graduate (ACCG), ADD Coach Academy

Work Experience
Statistician, Wrigley (2006-2014) and PepsiCo (2004-2006)

Professional Certified Coach (PCC), International Coach Federation
Brain Management Consultant (BMC), International Brain Education Association
NLP Master Practitioner, The Society of Neuro Linguistic Programming
Design Human Engineer (DHE) Level 1, The Society of Neuro Linguistic Programming
Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), Toastmasters International

Member, The Sensometric Society
Member, International Coach Federation (ICF)
Professional Member, ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO)
Professional Member, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
Member, Toastmasters International