My name is Stephen Chance, and I’m a proud member of NABEA. I am currently an associate at an investment bank here in Singapore (Southeast Asia) where I focus mostly on expense management initiatives. I hope to share a piece of my story with you to inspire anyone who might be thinking of traveling outside of their comfort zone to find the beauty that is Asia.
If I were to tell you my upbringing, my journey to Asia may appear obvious: My dad spent time in Japan during his 8 years in the Navy and passed on his liking of Japan every chance he got. The reality, however, is that moving to Asia was not an easy choice. My family actually opposed the move as it’s simply too far and most of my mentors thought of my fascination with Japanese literature/language as no more than a hobby. In all honesty, that’s not entirely wrong: I’m here because of my interest in studying Japanese, the excitement that I feel when traveling to new places, and a wonderful year that I spent studying abroad at Keio University.
Born and raised in San Diego, I’d only left California on three brief occasions before I was 18. Only my dad had ever left the country for an extended period.
Like most growing up in the states, I was presented with the option of studying either Spanish or French in high school. I took the Spanish route, which seemed to be the most fun and relatable, but I never seemed to reach that next level of familiarity with the language. After studying for 3 years, I decided to self-study a language of my choosing. I dabbled in Korean, due to its linguistic charm, but ultimately decided to try out Japanese. A few apps later, I was on my way to learning about the language, geography and even culture.
Less than 5 years later, I graduated from the University of California Davis with degrees in Economics and Japanese. I had studied abroad in both Japan and South Korea!
So what happened and why NABEA?
My interest in Japanese led to my first trip to Japan in 2012. That extrapolated into me learning the language and exploring different parts of Asia. Combine this with my curiosity for financial markets and we arrive at why I started my first job working in private equity advisory for a Mitsubishi subsidiary and found my way over to an investment bank. Through school and work, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to learn new languages while traveling and even spent extended periods of time in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. My corporate journey has taught me some of the best lessons on hard work, while providing a platform for me to pursue my interests and enabling me to see the world.
I believe that our perspectives are shaped by our knowledge and experiences. NABEA and it’s founders offer new perspectives with the goal of encouraging black men and women to take that more uncertain route, while also informing them of the many adventures waiting just across the pond.
From the first moment I started studying Japanese, I felt as though the world around me was growing. My experience living and working in Asia has been nothing short of phenomenal. I simply hope to share this with others and help in anyway that I can!
Join our community of black individuals who engage with Asia through discussions, local events, and programming by visiting our Join US page!
Input your areas of expertise and contact information to gain access to our professional database, a collection of black specialists on Asia-related on our Professional Database page!