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Member Spotlight: Ann Wang

HR director, Intermodal Association of North America, Calverton, Md.

A woman in a black dress standing in front of a train car.

As a child, Ann Wang, SHRM-CP, watched her father run his business in Taiwan and saw how much he cared about his employees. He inspired them to go beyond their comfort zones and paid for annual vacations to Japan and Korea for longtime employees. He even brought them back personalized souvenirs when he traveled to the U.S.

He took to heart the adage “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” He once gave a job to a homeless man living at a nearby park, and the man was able to turn the entry-level job into a career. 

Wang’s father instilled in her a mindset of compassionate leadership that she has carried throughout her HR career.

His example is why Wang finds joy in promoting second-chance hiring, helping citizens who were formerly incarcerated connect with meaningful work. As president-elect of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), she established a partnership with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency to connect employers with overlooked talent. For its efforts, the chapter received a Best Practices Impact Award for community enhancement from the Virginia SHRM State Council.

What unique abilities do you have?

I speak three languages. I spoke Mandarin and Taiwanese at home and learned English after moving to the U.S. when I was 5. Then I studied German in high school and studied abroad in college. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

Be the captain of your career, and you’ll be successful on your own terms. My mentor instilled in me that if I don’t like something, I can change it. 

What’s your favorite business book? 

Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results (Jossey-Bass, 2010) by Cy Wakeman. It’s a fun read. It shows leaders how much energy and time is wasted on drama at work and offers ways to create a better work environment that leads to better results. 

Photograph by Andre Chung for HR Magazine.


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