This story is a part of our ‘A Day in the Life’ series that highlights the career journeys of 2U employees across the world. Throughout May we’re celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and featuring 2Utes of Asian-Pacific Islander (API) descent.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Houston, Texas, Katie Fung grew up in a strict household. She describes her mother as a “tiger mom,” who had high expectations for Katie to be the best at all she did and pushed her to succeed above all else.
Her upbringing resulted in two separate outcomes: Katie is driven, hard-working, and a perfectionist (almost to a fault), and she is the opposite of a “tiger mom.” Katie prides herself on always being supportive, understanding, and encouraging of those she surrounds herself with in her personal life and at work.
That inclination to assist, comfort, and serve is what led Katie to a career of helping others. Her first role in service was in emergency communications. “How better to help others than to literally help save lives,” Katie thought. But after spending more than five years reacting to difficult, complex, and dire situations, Katie needed a break. She learned to be quick, prepared, and vigilant—all important lessons learned—but she needed a way out of the darkness. She found the light as a result of a fateful Facebook comment that led her to an opening for a part-time recruitment role at Trilogy, a 2U, Inc. brand.
Today, Katie has transitioned from part-time to full-time as a regional recruitment manager, a position that allows her to lead a team whose daily job is to change lives through professional opportunities. She applies the skills she developed working in emergency situations to remain calm, stay one step ahead, and uncover solutions in a fast-paced, high volume environment. She also uses lessons learned from her upbringing, encouraging and supporting her team because she believes “we can only succeed by working together.”
Are you interested in learning more about Katie, what it’s like to be a regional recruitment manager, and, in light of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Katie’s perspective as a 2Ute of Asian-Pacific Islander (API) descent? Read on for a day in the life of Katie Fung.
Why did you join Trilogy, a 2U, Inc. brand? What is it about the company that sparked your interest?
Joining Trilogy was kismet. I initially joined as a part-time sourcer for instructors and the very first week I started working on outreach, I received a message back from a candidate. They thanked me for providing them access to an open door and said that this was just the opportunity they were looking for to make a positive impact. I was hooked and knew that this was how I could help others.
Even as a part-time employee, I always felt welcomed as a full team contributor. My managers reached out to check on how I was doing, they supported my growth, and some of my previous leaders are still my go-to for advice or just to chat. They created an atmosphere of acceptance and once there was an opportunity to join the team full-time, it was a no-brainer that this was a place where I could grow and flourish.
How would you describe your role as a regional recruitment manager?
As the regional recruitment manager for the Northwest, my role is to ensure that we provide exemplary instructional support to our boot camps in the Northwest region. I am also a brand ambassador. Initial outreach from recruitment may be the first time that an instructional staff candidate has heard of our company. I work with my team and our cross-functional partners to ensure that we give 2U an outstanding reputation by bringing on the best instructors to support students. This year to date, my team has had to fill more than 150 instructional roles. We have impacted the lives of more than 150 instructional staff who, in turn, have impacted approximately 1,500 students.
Katie Fung's team on a Zoom call
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your job?
The most rewarding part about my job is not just supporting students with great instructors, but also knowing that we can offer instructional opportunities to well-deserved professionals. The greatest example of this has been in our current climate. While many companies have either laid off employees or reduced their hours, we’re still hiring instructional staff and have been able to give opportunities to some professionals who lost their primary roles because of the economic impact of COVID-19. One of the biggest challenges and opportunities is growth. As we have scaled, we’ve implemented new systems to help support our expansion. While some systems are still being worked out, we do have a fantastic support network and it’s an incredibly beautiful thing to be able to build out systems for each intricate detail of our unique recruitment environment.
What’s your favorite part about working at 2U?
The culture at 2U has always been my favorite part. I came from a previous role where it was required for me to consistently work more than 60 hours a week, and managers were distant. Here, managers and leads have always pushed for a healthy work/life balance. They also constantly show immense care and support. For example, my manager Vivian Enos has sent birthday cards, get well packages, and takes the time to get to know each one of her reports. Managers and leads have also hosted various events, like recruitment Secret Santas and remote movie nights, to build rapport and strengthen our relationships. It’s an incredible atmosphere that makes you feel valued not just as an employee number, but as an individual.
What does Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
It’s an important first step to building awareness of Asian American history and culture, and a good reminder to acknowledge Asian American contributions. Although the first step is important, so are the continued attempts to incorporate that awareness into everyday life. Instead of allowing the history of a vast and diverse community of Asian American Pacific Islanders (encompassing nearly 50 countries) to be condensed into a single month, and turned into a rote thing celebrated yearly, we should be going beyond the month and embracing that Asians (and others) are Americans 12 months/365 days of the year. As Morgan Freeman once said, "Black history is American history,” and so the same can be said of Asian American Pacific Islander history.
Who is your Asian-Pacific Islander (API) icon?
Pop culture-wise, Margaret Cho. Cho has continually redefined what it means to be “Asian American.” As the first successful Asian American comedienne, she paved the way for future Asian American stand-up comics, like Ali Wong and Jenny Wang. In everything she’s accomplished, Cho continues to push the envelope and fight against the idea of “acceptance” and what Asian Americans “should be”—by simply being unapologetically herself. She is an active example for Asian Americans that we can go against the “model minority” stereotypes and be outspoken, loud, rebellious, and even successful despite it all.
What advice would you give to someone just starting at 2U?
Don’t be afraid to reach out! We have some of the most friendly folks at 2U and people are more than happy to help you find your way. From locating resources to explaining different workflows, I’ve personally been helped by so many of my fellow 2Utes.
Are you interested in a job like Katie’s? Check out our Careers page for information on open positions. We’re hiring.
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