inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Shuya Gong

“Don’t hate what you don’t understand.”

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I was born in Beijing and moved to Chicago when I was five, where I started settling into American culture and life. I spent a lot of my time in school reading novels under the table and being curious and excitable about everything, but made sure to get all of my official work done because #tigerparents. I played percussion with the Percussion Scholarship Group of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and curiously it was this creative outlet that taught me the most discipline and mental perseverance–yet the abstract and artistic nature of it drives my innovative side. Fast forward to college, I’m studying mechanical engineering because I fell in love with fabrication and machinery in a computer aided design class, and started working for IDEO coLabs–as a venture designer. Which, fun fact, is basically taking ideas and making them real. As a result, I spend my days looking at emergent technologies and switch between the abstract and concrete to try and make things that are unseeable, and have a high impact on humans.

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
Is saying Google’s main search engine page cheating? Pretty big fan of Google Tilt Brush right now, but also any of the Autodesk apps.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My father. Papa Gong is a true renaissance man living in the modern world and does an amazing job of juggling all of the interesting aspects of his life. He’s had a fruitful life and career as a surgeon, a business man, a preacher, a teacher. a traditional Chinese medicine man, and an urban farmer, among other pursuits. He taught me to have a mastery in a lot of things, and know a little about everything. Here’s a shout out to the man who gave me all the tools to get to where I am today.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Werk werk werk werk werk werk. Is that by Beyonce? That, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. As well as Mozart’s 4th Symphony+Golddigger. If you haven’t heard that mashup yet–you should.

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Being happy with never feeling like I’ve made it. I think I realized that there’s a difference between being satisfied with where I am, in my current state, with the momentum and hopes of doing a bigger project or tackling something more challenging, and it’s okay to not do it all at once. I’ve had a tendency to bite off way more than I can chew, and figuring out how not to choke is a lesson that I’m still learning. Finding the things in life that truly make me happy because they can’t be quantified has helped, like spending time with family and friends, or finding an activity that isn’t at all competitive.

Ideal Job:
Continuously finding the newest technologies and figuring out what to do with them. I guess it’s similar to what I’m doing now, but being able to help people who are interested in it and capable to take it to the next level. I’d also love Jeff Kowalski‘s job, the CTO of Autodesk. I want his job mainly because he works in a company that makes cool stuff to help other people make cool stuff. It’s a company that has a generative core business, and having a say in what that looks like is some powerful stuff. It’s the future of making things, and that’s where I’d like to be. I also wouldn’t mind being Ellen.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Own it. Have the creative confidence to go make your life, your work, everything that you interact with better than it was yesterday and believe that you can do it. If you keep trying, eventually there won’t be anything stopping you.

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