Angela Jing Yang BComm’05
March 30, 2020
Angela Jing Yang BComm’05
Real Estate Agent
Since late January, Saint Mary’s University alumna Angela Jing Yang BComm’05 has been fundraising to help combat the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, China.
“Helping others at difficult times has always been important to me,” says Jing Yang. “My friend Jennifer Lynch and I saw reports of people becoming ill and dying because of the coronavirus. Seeing the sacrifices of medical professionals, we were compelled to contribute.”
Jing Yang and Lynch have raised more than $20,000 worth of medical supplies including N95 masks, goggles and protective clothes for hospitals in Wuhan and Si Chuan. Lynch, a professional accountant who attended the Schulich School of Business at York University, and Jing Yang, purchased all of the supplies upfront to kick start the initiative. Then, they organized an online WeChat group to see if others wanted to help. All of the supplies were successfully delivered to China and used by front line doctors and medical staff.
Now that the virus spread has subsided in China, Jing Yang and Lynch are helping with the crisis in Canada. “We made five donations to China; however, given the spread of the coronavirus in Canada, we are now focusing our efforts here,” explains Jing Yang. “WeChat group members are currently working on coordinating donations to Toronto area hospitals.”
The WeChat group has close to 200 members including Saint Mary’s alumni Dan Ding MFin'15, Yiana Zeng BComm’14, and Qi Wang BComm’06 as well as York University's Schulich School of Business alumni. Some members reside in Canada and others in China, all of which are united by their desire to lend a helping hand at this challenging time.
During the pandemic, one of the issues has been the logistical challenges of delivering supplies to China. From the 12-hour time difference to international flight cancellations and confusing government processes, the group faced adversity but did not give up.
However, the groups’ first delivery was finally a success. It was made by member Johnny Wang who travelled to South China with four suitcases full of supplies. Once he arrived, he forwarded the supplies to Wuhan. Within five days, doctors at Wuhan Xie He Hospital were using them on the front line.
Jing Yang credits the success of the initiative to WeChat group members and others.
who supported the project including Dr. Chao Yang, the Chief Resident from WuHan Xie He Hospital, a Chinese Real Estate Investment Group, and Da Meng Ontario Inc. These supporters worked very hard to ensure that all of the supplies made it successfully to China.
“I hope this is just one small example of how humanity can come together. It shows that what unites us is stronger than what divides.”
Anyone who wants to join the WeChat group can through scanning the below barcode. However, most of the conversations are in Chinese, but WeChat does have a translation function that you can use.
Angela Jing Yang BComm’05
Digital Credit Card Product Lead
Laurentian Bank of Canada
“Getting my BComm at Saint Mary’s helped me understand what I wanted and what I can do well. I realized then that you have to do something you love, something you are passionate about.”
Could you tell us about your current position?
I am the Digital Credit Card Product Lead for Laurentian Bank of Canada. I am very proud that I am building the credit card portfolio from scratch and managing such a complex and multimillion-dollar project end-to-end. I work with internal and external stakeholders on product design, business requirements, user stories, business case development, launch strategies, and execution. I make sure all deliverables are on time and within budget. Moreover, I also work with senior executives to design product roadmaps to ensure our launch strategies meet the overall digital transformation plan with the desired client’s experience.
What led you to a career in the financial services sector?
After getting my BComm, Marketing at Saint Mary’s, I decided to get my MBA at the Schulich School of Business at York University. When I was in school, I talked to a variety of people to see what different sectors I may have been interested in. That’s what led me to my first position at CIBC. I knew I wanted to do something on the business side like launching a product, creating it from end-to-end. It’s super exciting!
What moments in your career have been the most rewarding/exciting so far?
I would have it say it was successfully launching the Laurentian Visa Infinite card in 2016. Building the credit card from scratch and translating what was on paper to the finished product. Also launching the Petro MasterCard card at CIBC in 2012. Currently I’m doing something exciting, which is designing a digital credit card and working on the digital bank platform development project.
How do you feel Saint Mary’s prepared you for your current position?
Getting my BComm at Saint Mary’s helped me understand what I wanted and what I can do well. I knew then that I liked marketing and wanted to go into product management. Being at SMU helped me discover my interests and my passion. I made friends and met professors that triggered me think more deeply about my career. I realized then that you have to do something you love, something you are passionate about.
What made you choose to study Commerce at Saint Mary’s?
Back then, I wanted to go to a university in a smaller city. A place where I could practice my English. The Commerce program at Saint Mary’s was, and is, very well known, even in China, so all those factors led me to choose SMU. I also knew students that studied there who said wonderful things about the university. My choice turned out great!
What advice would you have for current or incoming Saint Mary’s Commerce students?
A few things, keep curious about the world and what is going on. You need to discover what your passion is, as I discovered mine was about payment. If you think you’re interested in something, go deep into it and keep learning about it. Go to webinars, events, and network - meet new people and talk about your interests. We all have different personalities and it’s about finding the right fit for a career. Get involved in different competitions like I did in the ‘What is the Next Big Idea’ contest and case competitions, which were very valuable. Also try Toastmasters to learn presentation and communications skills. These skills will prepare you for any career.
What was the most beneficial thing you learned or experienced while attending Saint Mary’s?
I met my husband at Saint Mary’s! He also went to SMU and graduated in 2003 in computer science and business administration. He helped guide me in my decisions. He made me realize that I didn’t want to go into computer science!
Would you recommend a career in the banking industry to students? Why?
I think it depends on what the student wants. The financial services sector is a very dynamic industry and is constantly evolving. I think, again, it goes back to what the student is passionate about. If you’re passionate about IT, try telecommunications. Take your first job and see if it’s the right fit for you. It may not be, but it will be a great experience to build confidence and help you discover your career path.
If you weren’t working in the financial services sector what do you think you would be doing?
I would be teaching. I was teaching English in Taiwan for 3 years after I graduated from SMU. I love teaching. It has such an impact and it influences lives. I think it would be great to be a volunteer teacher and travel to small cities and make a difference. So that’s probably what I’d be doing or what I may do when I retire.
Do you have any career building advice to offer fellow alumni?
Continue working on what you’re doing, but be open to possibilities because there are a lot of opportunities out there. Also, get the education and certificates you need. You might want to get your CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) before you graduate if you want to do Finance - or get your GMAT test done if you want to go for an MBA after. So keep learning and building the foundations of your career.
Looking back at your time at SMU, what makes you nostalgic about your time on campus?
I finished the Commerce program in 2 and a half years, so that meant summer school. It was an amazing experience! It enabled me to travel to 10-12 countries in Scandinavia, Europe, and the UK. Also, as I mentioned, I met my husband at Saint Mary’s and we were able to travel together.