Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Chang.
Rachel, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
“At 12 years old, on the precipice of my high school years, I told my dad I wanted to make TV commercials. I had memorized every commercial currently on air and convinced myself I was destined to be a jingle writer – my favorite was Wayne Brady’s Folger’s “”Smiley Face Cup””. Being the loving and convincing father that he is, he redirected my dreams toward a career in architecture. It wasn’t until I graduated college that he revealed his plan of starting a family owned firm with my brother (construction manager), me (architectural designer), and himself (engineer). His masterminding aside, I really did fall in love with architecture. During my years at the University of Kansas and the University of Texas at Arlington, I was exposed to many rich experiences in the field. I conducted independent research on plant biomechanics, studied abroad in Italy, launched a professional mentoring program, taught design drawing to continuing education students, helped launch a non-profit community design study, completed a design-build farming project, interned at some of the most prestigious firms in Dallas, and even published research on the DFW Metroplex (can be found at the Harvard architectural library). When I graduated, I accepted a full time offer at my favorite firm in town and the rest is history…
…except not. On April 13, 2017, the day I got back from my honeymoon, I chopped all of my hair off. A month later I left my full time job in architecture. At the ripe age of 24 years old, I realized the empowerment of making my own decisions and I didn’t even need Gary V to tell me “we are in control of the one asset that we all give the most f#%ks about, and that is time.” For 10+ years I worked toward becoming an architect and when I FINALLY got there, I realized it wasn’t my calling in life. I spent a decade building a fantasy in my head that is far different than the industry that exists today. Instead of focusing on my best skills, I focused on the skills that fit the mold of architecture. It took me landing my dream job to realize it wasn’t the job, it was me. So I quit with no plan.
After a much needed, few month hiatus, I started my new career search. My former boss gave me the best advice I’ve received to this day: “”Don’t just apply for jobs you’re qualified for, apply to companies you’re passionate about.”” I knew I wanted to learn about “”business””, so in my mind, I had two choices. Stalk SMU and hope they let me into their MBA Program… or apply for a job at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center – a Texas based nonprofit that provides resources, mentorship, and access to capital for early stage entrepreneurs. The DEC won my time and my heart.
As the (now former) Director of Events and Programs, I received a crash course in all things startups by leading the largest entrepreneurial programming in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex including Techstars Startup Week Dallas, WEDallas (in partnership with Capital One), State of Entrepreneurship, etc. My time at the DEC inspired me to entrepreneurship and helped me discover the passion I was looking for since I was a 12 year old girl. I started Rachel Chang Consulting as a way to broaden the impact of the entrepreneurial community in Dallas and beyond.
In addition to being the Lead Organizer for Dallas Startup Week, Owner of Rachel Chang Consulting, and Venture Associate at Tech Wildcatter, I’ve had the opportunity to leverage LinkedIn Video to not only drive millions of views to my personal brand, but to the work happening within the community. I started with one take, unedited videos that cover everything from upcoming events to career advice to why the Backstreet Boys are a formidable reflective tool #CarThoughts. My content has since evolved to give a comprehensive look at entrepreneurship.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
“A quote that comes to mind for this particular question is “”overnight successes take years in the making””. While working at the DEC, I had the opportunity to spend time with some of the most brilliant minds in entrepreneurship. One distinct interaction was with Steve Case, the founder of AOL. He told the story of how when he started Ay fOL, roughly 3% of the population used the internet. It was an uphill battle to convince people that AOL was a worthwhile investment. It took ten years before the internet, and AOL, “took off”. Now worth somewhere in the billions, people may look at Steve’s career and think everything happened overnight. The reality is, he invested a decade (+many years before that) to get where he is today.
I love reflecting on stories like this one because it reminds me that no road is smooth. My biggest obstacles have been overcoming the mental struggles associated with changing careers and trying something new. When I decided to leave my job in architecture, I was met with some support, but also a lot of doubt. My biggest fears were voiced being my back and to my face; “you’re wasting your potential”, “you’re throwing your life away”, “you’re making a huge mistake”, etc… For several months after I left my job I lived in the idea that my “shot” was over. If I wasn’t doing architecture, I’d never find success in anything else. Now, I’m, living out my passions every single day. People who only know me from my time at the DEC or from LinkedIn see the fruit of YEARS of internal battling and external efforts to get to the point I’m at now. My goal is to be as transparent as possible about the struggles it takes to get from point A to point B so that others don’t make comparisons and feel as though they fall short. I also have to remind myself on a regular basis that obstacles are a beautiful part of the process.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Rachel Chang Consulting story. Tell us more about the business.
As of August 2018, Rachel Chang Consulting will be officially open for business! My company specializes in event management, community building, and business development for startups and entrepreneurs. My goal in starting my own company is to provide additional resources for our already thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Dallas. A lot of companies (especially startups), need assistance running large scale projects/initiatives but don’t have the overhead to hire a full time position. I’m excited to provide assistance to clients via my experience running some of the largest entrepreneurial events in Dallas and my expanding online and local network. I’m passionate about seeing my city grow and I fully intend for my company to reflect that.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is the best way to describe how I got to where I am, but I like to think I increase my chances of luck by showing up. I put myself in the way of luck as much as possible! In all seriousness, I think life is all about timing. I’ve been very fortunate along the way to have timing work in my favor for the opportunities I’ve pursued.
- Address: Rachel Chang Consulting
WeWork Thanksgiving Tower
1601 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75201
- Website: www.raedchang.com
- Phone: 4694287275
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: raedchang
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raedchang
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/raedchang
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raedchang/
Michael Bruner, Timothy Hoang, Emmanuel Lopez