Thriving on Life
As the chief marketing officer of social enterprise and non-profit Thrive Projects, International School of Beijing (ISB) alumna Amanda Chou ('15) helps communities develop sustainable social enterprises through vocational training programs and proper utilization of local resources.
Amanda Chou, currently a junior studying public relations and political science at Syracuse University, New York, is an ISB dragon through and through. The Chou family’s connection with the school has been ongoing for almost 20 years: Amanda graduated with the class of 2015, her sister Alison graduated in 2009, and her mother Wendy Chou, who teaches Chinese in the elementary school, has been working at ISB for more than 15 years.
“My time at ISB has made me extremely passionate about paying it forward in the real world,” said Amanda. In addition to being a full-time student at Syracuse University, she is the chief marketing officer of an on-campus club called Thrive Project. Thrive Project develops sustainable, community-based solutions through customized vocational training programs and proper utilization of local resources. Thrive is currently running projects in Nepal and launching projects in Haiti. This summer Amanda took up the opportunity to go to Nepal and participate in Thrive’s work on the ground. “It was an amazing experience: traveling to Nepal, working directly with communities there, and seeing our work translate into real social change,” she said.
The ISB community has the opportunity to play a role in Thrive’s projects: the organization is participating in the annual Clinton Global Initiative University Conference this October, competing in their Commitments Challenge, a crowdfunding competition. To contribute to their crowdfunding initiative go here.
As the chief marketing officer of Thrive Project, Amanda develops the non-profit’s branding, storytelling, and outreach approaches, creating and managing written and visual content published on Thrive’s website, social media, and in third party publications. Amanda derives great satisfaction from the work that Thrive does. “One of my recent proudest accomplishments was when Thrive placed first in the social entrepreneurship track of the New York Business Plan Competition earlier this year in April,” said Amanda. “I was so happy and proud we were recognized as a hardworking socially-conscious team.”
Amanda credits her incredible and inspiring ISB teachers and mentors for helping her discover an equilibrium between ambition and patience. One of her favorite teachers was Glen Russell (HS Math), whom she says taught her how to tolerate her shortcomings, find humor in all situations, and focus on what's most important. “Mr. Russell really pushed me to take risks academically. He also played a big role in helping me keep a level head. To this day, I look to him for guidance and advice that is sound, balanced, and funny.”
Amanda says her culturally diverse and academically challenging schooling was critical in forming her outlook on life. “ISB taught me that as a global citizens, it’s our responsibility to pay it forward: to help others and to create sustainable solutions for society,” she said. “There are no words to describe how grateful I am that I look at things with a wider perspective.” She also said that meeting the requirements of the rigorous academic program at ISB required her to develop excellent time management and efficient multitasking skills. “I bring that discipline and passion into every aspect of my life, both as a student and as a social entrepreneur,” said Amanda. “I am a firm believer that if you really love and believe in what you are doing, that dedication will come back to you tenfold.”
Read more about Thrive Project here.
Contribute to Thrive’s crowdfunding here.