Q&A with Meiying Li, RFL Academy 2016

Meiying Li was born and raised in China and moved to Aspen in 1995. As a recent immigrant with no English skills, Meiying faced big barriers in the professional world, but in a matter of years, she had transitioned from working at a dry cleaner to her first job at Alpine Bank. Recently, Meiying was promoted to banking officer for Alpine Bank and remains committed to furthering her leadership training through RFL. After graduating from the Academy program in 2016, she returned to RFL this year as part of our Mastermind 9 women’s cohort. We chatted with Meiying recently about how RFL has helped improve her confidence and embrace new ways of seeing and doing.

Roaring Fork Leadership: Tell me about your career journey? 

Meiying Li: I was a kindergarten teacher in China, so I have a teaching degree in early education. My When I moved to aspen in 1995 after I married my husband, I didn’t speak any English and worked in a dry cleaner. Gradually, I learned some English and started working at the early learning center taking care of kids. After two years, I got a job at Alpine Bank as a teller. I learned a lot thanks to my coworkers and supervisors and I was able to advance over the years through a series of promotions. 

RFL: Wow, that’s quite the series of transitions. How did RFL help you in that journey? 

ML: Since arriving in the U.S., I’ve always had language barriers, so going through RFL really boosted my confidence in terms of communication skills — how to talk to people and communicate efficiently. It opened up a lot of different ways to do things. I learned that often, you can get what you want simply by saying something in a different way, as well as self-awareness, active listening, and the importance of acting with integrity.

Meiying (second from right) skiing with her son, daughter, and son-in-law

They also teach you to look at things in new ways. You have a choice about how you see someone in a particular situation. Maybe a person is doing something that annoys you, but you can look at it from another perspective and see that they’re acting that way because they care about you.  

I graduated from the Academy program in 2016 and since then, I’ve wanted to continue that learning process, and refresh my skills, which is why I chose to do Mastermind this year. Nancy brings your confidence to the next level. We often sell ourselves short, but with Mastermind, you really learn to value yourself and respect yourself more. You reevaluate what you’re capable of. 

RFL: What does “being a leader” mean to you? 

ML: For me, being a leader is about caring and respect and being open – and making decisions with love. It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it.