Alumni Leejoo Hwang took the time to answer some questions and to update us on what he has been up to since his time with Experiences Canada. This quick read shows just how life changing our programs can be.
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Leejoo Hwang from Vancouver and I respectfully acknowledge that I reside on unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Lummi, WSANEC, Katzie, Sto:lo Treaty Association, and Semiahmoo territory. I’m passionate about the triple bottom line, ecological, social, and economic sustainability, and I believe in solving world issues through entrepreneurship and business. I’m currently working on a startup called MeaningfulWork, a web application that helps you find volunteer opportunities and new ways to give back! On the side, I work with the government on creating policies! I am a Watson Scholar and a Ford Scholar and used to advise for Health Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the City of Surrey.
When and which Experiences Canada programs did you participate in?
I got a chance to be part of an awesome network of people from all over Canada during Canada 150 & Me and got a chance to think about what the next 150 years of Canada would look like. I attended the Vancouver conference and the National Conference in Ottawa after writing about the importance of community gardens and how it can build resiliency in our communities while bridging our neighbors.
How did your participation and involvement with Experiences Canada impact your life?
Before attending Canada 150 & Me, I didn’t realize how big Canada was. After the conference, it motivated me to explore the rest of Canada including Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. As you can see I still have a lot more places to visit. Understanding how big Canada is and really how big the world is, it allowed me to think broader and wider. I’ve always imagined a life only in Vancouver and now I’d love to not only travel but also live in different cities. In relation to the work I am doing now, it really put a strong emphasis on civic engagement and volunteering. I’d love to not only take MeaningfulWork across the country but the world.
Can you tell us about where you are now? What your life looks like today?
I spend most of my time building MeaningfulWork with James and Raaj who make up the co-founder team. I had the great opportunity in Egypt to represent Canada for World Youth Forum and virtually in Italy as a delegate for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance. Running a startup as a co-founder and COO I wake up at 8 in preparation for our daily standup at 8:30. have a handful of meetings, and then help people find MeaningfulWork and onboard nonprofits so you have more options and a steady stream of volunteer opportunities. During the evening and weekends, I volunteer my time with a handful of nonprofits. You can see more of what my day to day look like on my Twitter @hwangleejoo and TikTok @h.leejoo
What advice do you have for today’s youth?
If I can do it, you can do it better. It’s an advice I heard every person I looked up to tell me. I’m no one special, if anything I’m just like you. Take up the courage and do something you really care about. You don’t have to spend your life carving yourself into a shape rather carve a place where you feel like you belong and others just like you will thank you for it.
Anything else you would like to add?
Volunteering is not only a requirement to fill out your hours for school, but a great opportunity for you to start developing skills, and start giving back to cause areas you care about whether is climate change, black lives matter, stop Asian hate and so much more. If you’re looking to give back and acquire new skills check us out at meaningful.ca and let me know you signed up after reading this article!