How My Cleft Palate Ready Me for Life on Wall Avenue

By Dave Liu, as advised to WebMD by way of Smile Prepare

photo of smile train logoMany would think about being born with a cleft lip and palate a setback that might have detrimental implications all through one’s complete life. Wanting again now, as a 30-year veteran of the finance and expertise trade, I can see clearly that my cleft journey gave me the instruments I wanted to rise on Wall Avenue, in Silicon Valley, and reach enterprise. 

I used to be born within the Nineteen Seventies with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, and have undergone nearly a dozen surgical procedures all through my lifetime. On the time, earlier than the age of the Web and social media, I used to be unable to seek out function fashions, or foster connections with these in comparable conditions. It wasn’t till my twenties that I met one other individual with a cleft. I spent nearly all of my childhood in Hong Kong, the place I largely saved to myself, remoted by the social stigma related to having a cleft.

Rising up could be troublesome for anybody. And it may be particularly arduous for cleft-affected people; with out illustration, it’s isolating and lonesome. After being bullied and ridiculed by others, I used to be taught an essential life lesson by my mother and father at a younger age: to concentrate on myself and ignore what others had been saying about me. I channeled my vitality into bettering myself by way of my research and retailers like drawing comedian books and Chinese language portray. It enabled me to disregard what others stated and concentrate on bettering myself.

Regardless of the peculiar appears to be like and fixed stares, I used to be all the time reminded of the phrases spoken to me by my mother and father. To at the present time, I nonetheless use them as my North Star. Specializing in my research and self- enchancment, I acquired a finance diploma from the Wharton College and an engineering diploma from the College of Engineering and Utilized Sciences on the College of Pennsylvania. Upon coming into the workforce, my cleft ready me effectively for a protracted profession on Wall Avenue and in Silicon Valley by giving me what I referred to as “rhino pores and skin.” A psychological  toughness to persevere. I discovered to view it as a blessing somewhat than a curse, as a result of it gave me the fortitude and willpower that propelled me all through my profession.

Now that I’ve achieved lots of my profession targets, my hope is to function a supply of inspiration for cleft-affected people and create a cleft council composed of the function fashions and illustration that I want I had as a toddler. If I might share a message with youthful people who’re dealing with adversity, I might say: keep in mind you aren’t alone and to consider in your self. Expectantly and perseverance, you may obtain something you need.

To share my journey and the techniques I used to climb the company ladder, I wrote a guide titled, The Approach of the Wall Avenue Warrior: Conquer the Company Recreation Utilizing Suggestions, Methods and Smartcuts. 100% of my internet proceeds will profit charities like Smile Prepare, the world’s largest cleft-focused group that transforms lives, and smiles, by way of the free cleft surgical procedure and complete cleft care they provide worldwide.  

About Dave Liu

Dave is a 30-year veteran advisor, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and creator of The Approach of the Wall Avenue Warrior. You’ll be able to study extra about Dave by visiting his web site at

This text is a part of WebMD’s contributor program, which lets folks and organizations exterior of WebMD submit articles for consideration on our web site. Have an thought for a submission?  E-mail us at [email protected]

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