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Grace Daly – How to overcome struggles?

Transcript of the interview of Grace Daly

David Laroche: Do you had some struggles in your life and are you proud of about it? Can you share me an experience or struggle and how you overcame it?

Grace Daly: Yes. You know what? Yes, I’ve had a fair amount of struggles in life like anyone has because struggle helps us grow. I think being a first generation born in the US here, coming from a large family—I am the fifth youngest of six kids firstborn here in New York, native New Yorker, and all my brothers and sisters were born in Hong Kong. I think growing up in a traditional, old-fashioned family, Asian family—not so much from my parents. My mom and dad are wonderful. They’ve always been very supportive and encouraging, especially in our careers and especially in our jobs, but I think the traditional way of thinking in the Asian society, like even in China now, I felt that I always had to prove self-worth as a woman, as an Asian woman coming from that stigma.

So what happens is, it’s funny, because I think I overcome it probably with a vengeance, because when I look at my career track and what I’ve done in retail development, I’ve built hundreds of stores, hundreds of hundreds of stores around the country from major national retail chains, and I’ve done it in a predominantly male-oriented industry. So I think because I grew up with a stigma from a very traditional way of thinking—not from my parents, my parents were wonderful, they’re very encouraging as they always are.

David Laroche: It was the culture?

Grace Daly: The culture, yes. I mean, that’s why in China all the orphans are all baby girls. So I think having grown up with that, for me to get over it, I’ve actually gone the way other degree and had a good amount of successes in retail development, which was at one point a very male-dominated industry. So that really kind of propels me.

So what I perceived as maybe a struggle or challenge, actually propelled me to go beyond that. Does that make sense?

David Laroche: Yes. How did you do it?

Grace Daly: How did I do it? So, also to further the story, being the fifth youngest of six children firstborn here in New York, I grew up a little two-bedroom apartment in China Town, Lower East Side. I always see my parents struggle. You know, my dad worked late hours on a restaurant business. He was electrician by train, but when he came to this country, he worked very hard in the restaurant business because he didn’t speak the English language. And my mother, who wasn’t working back in Hong Kong, here she worked in the factories, in the seamstress factories. Nowadays, a lot of those jobs are outsourced to other countries.

So I grew up watching my parents work so hard. And being the fifth of six children, I just figured, David, by time they got to me, there’s not going to be more money left. Let me just take care of myself! So I’ve always had this innate drive to always—whatever it is, pay for my own braces when I was like 18, or buy my own first used car or my house or whatever it is—I’ve always been very driven to just kind of take care of myself and wanting to take care of other people because I figured my parents, they’ve got the other 5 kids to worry about. And all my siblings are doing great, but do you know what I mean? I think growing up with that perception has actually helped me propel me.

David Laroche: Do you think people who don’t have the same backgrounds and you can do the same?

Grace Daly: Absolutely, without a doubt. Actually, one of the keynotes that I do when I mentor and I also speak to empowering women is that I’ve had a lot of success in my corporate America years in the last 20 years before my entrepreneurial in retail construction, design and facility management. I say that to really share with you that I don’t have formal education in it. I’ve asked a lot of questions and I’ve learned a lot from the industry and I’ve had wonderful mentors.

So if I can do it, if I can have that amount of success in such a niche industry without having formal education, anyone can do it. It’s limitless, it’s boundless. Whatever it is that you want to do to accomplish, it’s really boundless.

David Laroche: I think so.

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