Because my family and I have had this amazing opportunity to build a life in the United States, I have always made it my mission to give back to my community and live life to its fullest, both in equal measure. I am eternally grateful for both the incredible joys and successes as well as the failures and losses. It hasn’t always been an easy road, but I would take back or change any of it.
In 1979, my father left Taiwan to embark on a new journey in America, leaving my mother and I behind while he pursued higher education and better opportunities for his young family. My mother and I joined him a year later in New Jersey. Together with my brother, the four of us lived in a one bedroom apartment as we began our life in America.
My Taiwanese parents sought a better life for our family, and a shot at the American Dream. My parents didn’t have much, but they pursued higher education, worked their way into the middle class, bought a home and saved enough to send their children to college without any debt.
As a student at The University of Texas, I fell in love with Austin and never left. I worked at Dell before opening my own business, Gideon Contracting. Starting with nothing but loans and a strong work ethic, I grew Gideon into a multimillion-dollar company responsible for construction, renovation and repair of federal government facilities. I am always looking at entrepreneurial ventures, ideas, and investments.
I married the love-of-my-life, John Sheppard, and we have two young sons who keep us on our toes, Caden and Christian. We live in Northwest Austin and my parents, and my brother and sister-in-law also live in our neighborhood.
My passion for social and economic justice fuel my community involvement. I believe that education is the key to economic prosperity, and access to education for girls and economic opportunities for women, will lead to a safer, healthier, and more just world. I love entrepreneurism and would love to see self employment continue to be an option for economic independence.
Some of my involvement in the community include:
Texas Democratic Party – Vice Chair of Finance
Austin Children’s Shelter – Board of Directors
Planned Parenthood – Community Board
Asian American Resource Center – Board of Directors
Texas Lyceum – Director
Young Presidents Organization – member
Women’s Donor Network – member