*One of a collection of stories written about alumni for the Jepson School of Leadership Studies's 25th Anniversary

It is safe to say that Liang-Yun Cheng, ’17, knows a thing or two about leadership. The University of Richmond graduate studied leadership at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and in July, she was also named the national Omicron Delta Kappa (OΔK) Leader of the Year for Creative and Performing Arts. Now as a member of the Jepson School’s global alumni network, Cheng is putting her leadership skills to use to excel in her career.

“In mid-May, I packed four years of my college life into four suitcases and returned to my home country, Taiwan. Soon after, the next chapter of my life began. In July, I started working for Deloitte Taiwan under the Audit Innovation Center,” says Cheng.

Although she is 8,000 miles from the University of Richmond campus, Cheng, who twice represented the University of Richmond at the National Team Selling Competition and who served as a member of the Jepson Corps, is finding that her new work in data analytics completely overlaps with her areas of study and interest.

“A huge part of data analytics is the ability to think of analysis models that would generate meaningful insights. This process requires a lot of critical thinking as we need to first break down the problem at hand and then, through discussions, construct suitable models,” explains Cheng. “This is exactly what we did in each Jepson class. We break down a complex leadership issue in order to understand the underlying causes.”

In addition to learning a new role, Cheng, who has lived abroad for the past 11 years, is also getting used to working in Taiwan. One of the biggest challenges at her work has been adjusting to using Mandarin as her primary language. She points out that while she has never forgotten the language, English has become her dominant language and she now must reacquaint herself with Mandarin.

To navigate workplace changes, Cheng remembers studying leadership as relationships among people, noting, “As a new member and the youngest one on the team, I think of how I could most effectively influence others. I have also shared with my colleagues on how we should approach the audit teams that we support in order to have a better collaborative working experience with them.”

Cheng was already living in Taiwan when she received national recognition from OΔK, the premiere student leadership honor society in the United States. She says that the award reflects the ways in which the University of Richmond and the Jepson School have helped her succeed, both during her time at school and now that she has graduated.

“I think it has just sunk in how big of a deal this award is as I think about it. The applicant pool was very strong. They were leaders of leaders. But I was one of the top five finalists. It is such an honor to receive this award,” reflects Cheng. “While this award recognizes my success, it also recognizes the caring and amazing community that has supported me to become who I am today.”