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This month, we are saying goodbye to four TAP-NY board members. We asked them to reflect on some of their favorite TAP memories and experiences – check below for their thoughts and memories of their time on board.

Kristie Kuo, Outgoing Membership Chair

Jen Nguyen, Outgoing Vice President

Ben Watkins, Outgoing Co-President

Kevin Wong, Outgoing Professional Chair

Kristie Kuo

Kristie Kuo – Outgoing Membership Chair (TAP-NY Board 2017-2019)

1) What was your favorite TAP memory and why?

I loved putting together the Mid-Autumn Soiree in 2017 at the Museum of Chinese in America. It was such a fun event, with open bar and food, in such a great venue. I remember it being a ton of work to put together but it was all worth it seeing it all come together!

2) How has TAP helped you grow as a person and as a member of this community?

Before joining TAP, I wasn’t very connected to my own roots or to Taiwan, and through the last three years being on the board and organizing cultural events and meeting this community of fun, welcoming people who have had similar experiences as I did, I feel a lot prouder of my heritage and being Taiwanese. I’ve loved feeling more connected with myself and knowing that I’m a part of something bigger, which I hadn’t felt in school. TAP has helped create a sense of belonging that really helped me transition into the city. 

3) What are some words of advice you would give to incoming board members?

Have fun! Remember that members come to meet people and have a community, and that should be your guiding star underneath all the administrative work of organizing events, attending meetings, setting up EBs. People will come because the members and board are fun and welcoming, so don’t get bogged down by making rules or having the perfect event. Be creative with the events you want to do and bring that positive energy, and you’ll get the support you need.

Jen Nguyen

Jen Nguyen – Outgoing Vice President (TAP-NY Board 2017-2019)

1) What was your favorite TAP memory and why?

Wow, this is a hard one! I’ve had so much fun these past three years, that it’s impossible to pick just one favorite memory. I don’t even think it’s fair to make a list because there is just too many to count! But if I had to name a few…

1. Taking trips around the world with my TAPfam – from Vegas to Austin to Taiwan and more!
2. BAJJ crew in Taipei
3. Circle – need I say more?
4. Late night Karaoke with Kevin, Victor, and Agnes – and ditching halfway through late night Ktown eats
5. Helping people find love through 4 TAP Speed Datings
6. Three amazing board retreats – Mt. Snow, Poconos, and Lake Naomi 
7. Speeding down the slopes during TAP Ski Trips and D.C. Board Retreat
8. Slumber party at Linn’s and making facemasks
9. Onesies
10. Working so hard on my Ding Tai Fung XLB costume because my first try deflated 🙁
11. Kristie drawing on everyone at Boatchella
12. Meeting Taiwan’s President Tsia Ing-Wen and Vice President Chen Chien-jen
13. Dressing up as Awkwafina from Crazy Rich Asians for Halloween and getting featured on Awkwanfina’s and Jimmy O.Yang’s Instagram!
14. The many TAPpy hours, Alumni mixers, dinner series, and hanging out just because
15. And best of all, if it wasn’t for a July 4th trip that my fellow TAP board member, Jess Chen, organized, then I wouldn’t have met my fiancé, Matt 🙂

2) How has TAP helped you grow as a person and as a member of this community?

Community is the heart of TAP, and it’s this community that has provided me with such a rewarding experience. With every TAP event, I’ve met a diverse set of personalities, point of views, and ideas – all of which have expanded my own perspective. I got to bond with TAP members from all around the country – from TAP LA to TAP Atlanta.  I even crashed TAP DC’s Board Retreat (thanks, TAP DC!).  And with every encounter, this community has always been supportive, warm, and welcoming.  As an added bonus, I’ve also become so much more aware of my own Taiwanese identity (even though I’m just half). 

Overall, being part of TAP has given me so much – an expanded network filled with amazing people, long lasting friendships, and memories I’ll never forget.

I’m so glad to be part of this community and TAPfamily. 

3) What are some words of advice you would give to incoming board members?

Have fun and go all in!  You’re joining a warm and welcoming family who will always be there to support you, so don’t be afraid to try new experiences or test your limits.  

I also can’t believe how quickly these past three years flew by. So to quote Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Good luck and I’m so excited to see everything that you’ll be doing next year!

Ben Watkins

Ben Watkins – Outgoing Co-President (TAP-NY Board 2015-2019)

1) What was your favorite TAP memory and why?

Too many to count! In terms of TAP-NY events, I’ve always loved the ones that bring the entire community together. Lunar New Year banquet probably tops the list. It’s the first big event of every year. Everyone gets to catch up from the holidays and let loose over ridiculous games and an A+ BYOB drink selection. TAPpy Hours are also awesome because it’s a combination of new and old faces and reminds me of a reunion every time. There’s always a random TAP alumni in town and you inevitably end up going out after. It’s the best way to wind down the week, hanging with the people you love.

Obviously every TAP experience is amazing because of the people, but I’ve also been so lucky to travel all over the country and the world with this crew. From clubbing in New York to clubbing in Vegas and clubbing in LA to clubbing in Taiwan… jk we do more than clubbing haha. We’ve bounced around breweries in Cincinnati, surfed the waves of San Diego, square danced all over Austin, chowed on seafood at the Boston harbor, experienced high dining in Seattle, drank civet coffee on the streets of Hanoi, hiked all over Vermont and upstate NY, watched the sunrise over Joshua Tree, and explored every inch of Taipei on a packed tour bus. 
Even if I can’t remember the specifics of every TAP memory or what I did or saw, I’ll always remember how I felt and those feelings are everything.

2) How has TAP helped you grow as a person and as a member of this community?

TAP brings together an incredibly diverse set of people, experiences, viewpoints, and opinions, both in the community and on our board. As a leader in the group, I’ve learned to listen to all these voices, make them feel heard, and figure out how to make the best (and sometimes hard) decisions. We obviously don’t have shareholders or an advisory board we need to answer to, but in a way, TAP has taught me how to manage a team and run a small company.

How do we grow the community? How do we innovate? How do we keep board members engaged and fulfilled? How do we manage our budgets? How do we build for the future? How do we work hard and have fun at the same time?? These are all questions I’ve had to think about over the years and I’m now a much “wiser” individual because of it.

And of course I couldn’t do it alone. TAP-NY has been around for over a decade and the path to success has been paved over and over by the alumni before me. And I’ve had the support of the best board members the whole way. They say it takes two to tango or it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes 12 incredible board members to throw hundreds of events for the thousands of TAP-NY members. 

3) What are some words of advice you would give to incoming board members?

Put in the work and be present: being a board member is a privilege. You have a community that depends on you and you need to step up to the role. Things will be hard but that’s why you have a board. Lean on each other, support each other at events, and show one another how important it is that you’re part of this experience together.

Leave your expectations at the door: you’re going to be working closely with new people in an environment that you’re not used to. The best ideas and collaborations come from an open mind and building off each other. Just because we did something last year, doesn’t mean we need to do it this year. 

Invest in your relationships: you’re about to embark on a journey that’ll hopefully last a lifetime. The alumni community grows stronger every year and these people will be your mentors, your allies, your travel buddies, your drinking buddies, your best friends, your best men / maids of honor, and everything in between. Cherish your time together. If you’re debating between an extra hour of sleep or an extra hour of hanging after TAPpy Hour, I encourage you to opt for the hang. You never know what trouble you’ll get into. And that goes for the national TACL network too. Make friends with other the chapters. At the very least, you’ll have a place to crash next time you visit and you never know how / where you paths might cross again.

TAP-NY community, thanks for everything you’ve given me the last five years. It was an honor and pleasure to serve you. Don’t worry, I’ll still be around. Maybe it’ll be my first year I get to enjoy the food at Lunar New Year banquet haha 😉 Happy Holidays, y’all, and see you in the new decade!

Kevin Wong

Kevin Wong – Outgoing Professional Chair (TAP-NY Board 2017-2019)

1) What was your favorite TAP memory and why?

I feel like everyone answers this with “there’s too many to count” but it’s true…what I cherish most about TAP is the closeness and warmth that we share with each other.  It’s something you’d normally see in cheesy Christmas movies but it’s shown through the sheer amount of time we’ve willingly spent with one another and that makes it really hard to pick a single memory.  If I was forced to pick some highlights, though, a few standout memories would include:

1. Collectively dressing up each Halloween (especially as a herd of Peik Lins)
2. Watching special videos together, both at a board retreat and at a slumber party
3. Spontaneously renting a limo in Austin to roll up to banquet dinner in style
4. Hanging out before and after board meeting by eating our way through Flushing and drinking copious amounts of bubble tea
5. Exploring and going out with TAP friends in Taiwan every winter
6. Making new bonds in various cities with other TAP chapters at convention and whenever stopping by another city

2) How has TAP helped you grow as a person and as a member of this community?

This is a very special community that I’ve had the privilege to be a part of, and I credit a lot of my personal and professional development over the past few years to TAP.  

Through TAP, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of friends from different walks of life who have helped expand my horizons. I’ve done new things (and some outside of my comfort zone) – like learning salsa at Dance Roulette, doing aerial and acro yoga, and going bouldering outdoors (thanks to those who helped me not die!).

I’ve also been able to pursue initiatives that I previously couldn’t since I didn’t have the platform, like launching our spotlight interview series or hosting various panel-style events.  And all of these experiences with others has helped me better understand myself – so thank you, TAP, and thank you, the TAP-NY community! 

3) What are some words of advice you would give to incoming board members?

Congrats and welcome to the family! My biggest recommendation is to lean in and go to every single convention! I went to (almost) every single convention over the past 3 years. Merely weeks after joining the board in 2017, I decided to attend convention (in Seattle) despite not really knowing my fellow board members well nor having any idea of what convention would be like. I jumped right in – and that experience became one of my most memorable moments of the past few years and made me keep going back for more!

It’s a unique opportunity to get to meet TAP chapters in other cities and make new friends, while also getting to build and strengthen your bonds with the rest of your chapter. And you get to get inspiration from how TAP impacts the TA community elsewhere.  

And of course, “leaning in” applies to your time locally too. Leverage your position as a board member and think big! Don’t be afraid to come up with new, creative ideas and make it happen.  I’m looking forward to being an active alumni and experiencing what you come up with!

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