Reflecting on a year with more boom than doom and gloom

I began this year writing about gloom and doom. Global volatility and the U.S.-China trade war had me deeply worried about 2019. I thought my biggest challenge was to just stay positive.

For sure, there’s still plenty of turbulence, upheaval, and uncertainty in the world. But looking back on the past 12 months, I’ve got to say 2019 was a great year overall for AmCham Taipei

Here are just a few things that excite me and leave me hopeful for the coming year:

  • Our membership has grown, with several of the world’s most exciting, innovative, and well-known companies joining our community. This strengthens our position as a main driver of innovation on Taiwan.
  • We created a NextGen Leaders Program that will help cultivate and inspire high-potential young professionals. Demand for the program, which begins in January, was overwhelming. Taiwan’s future success will greatly depend on whether it can develop and retain talent. AmCham will play a key role in this vital endeavor.
  • Our industry committees were energized with 25 new co-chairs who have volunteered to help lead our advocacy agenda. We also launched two new committees: Defense and Digital Economy. And our Private Equity Committee has been reactivated. Industry committees are AmCham’s backbone, and it’s stronger than ever, thanks to the dedication of our members.  

My favorite memories from 2019 are too many to list here. They include celebrating our CEO Mission’s first full day in Washington, eating raw oysters while rehashing all the meetings with former Chairman Leo Seewald at a bar across the street from our hotel. Leo brought a work-hard-play-hard spirit to his role that was instrumental in helping us achieve so much and have a lot of fun while doing it.

I’ll never forget the huge group of members who showed up for Amy Chang’s farewell Happy Hour celebration. Amy touched so many people during her many years leading our Government Affairs team, and it was wonderful to see them all turn out to bid her a happy retirement.  

Another big crowd turned out for Don Shapiro, our senior director and TOPICS editor-in-chief, when he was awarded the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy for the 50 years he spent sharing Taiwan’s story with the world. Presiding over the event, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told the audience that the doctoral dissertation he wrote about Taiwan’s democratization was full of citations to news stories written by Don. 

Although there was some gloom and doom this year, I don’t remember too much of it. Most of it is crowded out in my mind by the many memories that made 2019 one of the most fulfilling years in my career – and I hope in AmCham’s history.