Hamilton Chan ‘91 came to Harvard-Westlake (HW) to talk about the impact of education on his life and what it was like to keep reinventing his career until he finally found the one he loved. He also gave students advice about how to make life decisions.
As a HW and Harvard University alum, Chan felt it was fitting for him to offer suggestions to students. His diverse path of occupations path. His diverse work experience includes being an investment banker, a corporate attorney with one of his most astounding feats as working for Kobe Briant, a studio exec, a tech entrepreneur, an executive coach, and a law school professor.
Chan spoke about his changing career and how it affected his life, “My career has had so many twists and turns, it could make your head spin!… I truly think that the amalgamation of my experiences as a banker, attorney and entrepreneur have enabled me to do what I do today as an executive coach and law school professor,” Chan said.
Chan is grateful for the great education he received during his childhood and has held onto many lasting friendships that he created with his classmates and teachers. Through his supportive community of classmates and teachers, Chan has gained the confidence he needed in order to persevere.
“The Harvard name carries huge weight and has been a big door-opener for me. Beyond that, the incredible teachers and thriving intellectual communities in all my schools has propelled me to always be curious and always be learning. I wouldn’t change anything about my education!” Chan said.
Chan also describes that the network of friends and teachers he has accumulated during his time at Harvard not only lasted a long time but also strengthened. NICE SENTENCE These relationships can be particularly beneficial in the long run since it will help gaining opportunities in the future.
“You will run into these people again and again, and continue to work with them in the future. This applies to teachers as well – the only reason we have these alums come to speak is because they are still in contact with their former teachers,” Chan said.
Chan predicts that HW students will have a promising future due to the strong background acquired from HW, but our education at HW comes with some drawbacks. At HW, students are accustomed to defining success as assessing the end results, but many factors, including not only hard work but also luck. However, in the real world, unmerited success will be more commonplace.
“ For some, school is confusing and perplexing. For others, life after school feels difficult to maneuver and grapple with. The important thing is to embrace the challenge of figuring it all out,” Chan said.
In addition to perseverance, Chan says having confidence will also be a driving force in life. “Wherever you get your self-confidence, it will be a key resource for propelling you far in life. For me, the intrinsic and extrinsic boost I received from going to Harvard has given me the unshakeable confidence that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to,” Chan said.
Through all of these efforts, Chan reflects and sees that he is fulfilled with his accomplishments, despite all of the unexpected obstacles he has had to overcome. He has discovered his autonomy, meaning, intellect, comfort, and love for others.
“After all my career twists and turns, my proudest achievement is the lifestyle I have created for me and my family. I love the amount of time I can spend with my 2 daughters and wife, and I treasure my leisure time playing golf and tennis, among other activities. This was afforded by having had a great education, supportive friends, passionate teachers, and a penchant for risk and the unconventional,” Chan said.
Chan’s presentation was helpful to many students in the audience. According to 9th grader Sophia Rascoff ‘23, “Our speaker mentioned a few times that it’s really important to learn from those around you and always keep learning, and I think that this is truly important.”
Sophia also agreed with Chan that “the connections that you make at HW will be important for the rest of your life…You will run into these people again and again and continue to work with them in the future.”
Students also had a positive reaction to something Chan called “the curse of expectations,” which is doing things to satisfy others and meet requirements that we think are expected of us. Rather than worrying about pleasing others, Chan believes that each of us should do things that make us happy.
Like Chan, Rascoff feels that “it’s important to make sure you enjoy the path as opposed to focusing on the destination and missing the ride.”
Chan’s ride as a student at HW is definitely something that he appreciates. When I asked him if he had any final words of advice to give, he said, “I’d like to say thanks to the extraordinary educators and staff at HW. I often say the best education I received in my life was at Harvard-Westlake. Go Wolverines!””
I really liked this article! I think you need to set up some of the quotes a bit more to improve the flow and cohesiveness of the article, but otherwise this is great.
This article is very good and you articulated very well! I think this is perfect for the student body as well as the spectrum!