After graduating college in 2005, Meredith Chin ’01 made the decision to move across the country to work for a startup called “thefacebook.” In nearly nine years, Chin witnessed Facebook grow from a collegiate website to a network connecting over a billion people.
Centered around the theme of courage, Chin recounted her business ventures, her experiences at Andover and her personal life in her presentation “Learning to Live a Brave Life,” last Friday in the Underwood Room.
Chin described how during her Lower year at Andover, she struggled in math because she didn’t understand the concepts. After explaining her problem, her teacher returned to class the next day with a different way to teach her.
“[This experience] taught me two things: it’s okay to look through a different lens. Having a different perspective on things will teach you so much about who you are as a person. Secondly, it taught me to find someone who can act has your lighthouse…find mentors,” said Chin.
Chin also described her experience coming out via Facebook. “Even though I already told so many of the people I was closest to, [coming out on Facebook] unlocked all these things for people that are the next level of people I was connected to,” said Chin.
In the Facebook post, Chin offered words of encouragement to those going through similar struggles.
“First, don’t let fear be the better of you, don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from who you can become. Second, give all of yourself, your life will be better. Third, be kind to yourself. Fourth, you are strong enough. God created you to be strong enough. Finally, you will survive this. You are loved. Be brave,” wrote Chin in her post.
After seeing the Facebook post, Aya Murata, faculty advisor to Asian Society, decided to contact Chin to coordinate a visit to Andover.
“I thought her experiences would resonate with the students here. Any chance to bring young alumni to talk [is] invaluable. It makes the students take a step back and think about what’s going to happen [later],” said Murata.
Chin also discussed how her fandom of Lady Gaga led her to a meeting with Gaga’s producer, Troy Carter, at a tech conference. As a result of the meeting, Carter has become a mentor to Chin, and after leaving Facebook in April 2014, Carter offered Chin a position as a CEO of a new media company.
“[Meeting Carter] is an illustration of a time when I manifested something for myself through hard work and lots of courage. I always wonder what people do when they have three minutes of someone’s time,” said Chin.
Chin discussed being biracial. For Chin, being half Chinese and half white meant that she was never fully Asian or fully a part of the “white community.”
“Being half Chinese is another lens that I get to look through. Not everyone is lucky enough to have something like that. It’s nice to belong to either community in a way,” said Chin.
Chin’s presentation was sponsored by Asian Society, MOSAIC, and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
“I came [to the presentation] because I hoped to get a new perspective. [I wanted to get] a perspective of someone who came to this school at a completely different time and a perspective of where she is now,” said Amadi Lasenberry ’17.
At the end of her presentation, Chin emphasized the importance of bravery above all.
“Be brave enough to look through a lens, and to see things differently. Be brave enough to talk to people you’ve admired from afar. Be brave to walk through doors – doors you’ve unlocked for yourself and doors you’ve unlocked for other people,” said Chin.