Meet Fei Wu: Creator, Podcaster, Documentary Filmmaker
Fei Wu is a Chinese immigrant. From Beijing, she traveled to the US at the age of 17 to play ice hockey at a private school in Fryeberg, Maine. Ice hockey. In Maine. A high school-aged Chinese girl. Since most kids in Maine come out of the womb on ice skates, Fei had some catching up to do. She never dreamed she’d be allowed to play (there was not a team for girls) let alone end up being Captain of the team. This one Fei Fact tells you so much of what you need to know about the woman behind Fei’s World. Fei is not only brilliant and beautiful, she is determined and kind. Her unique perspective is brought to life through the stories of other unsung heroes and artists via her podcast, and soon, through a documentary short film web series.
Me, Fei and altMBA
Fei Wu is a fellow Raven, an altMBA alumnus. I messaged her through our alumni Slack community, and she graciously agreed to make time for us to connect. It was an inspiring and challenging conversation. Fei is everything I expected she would be and more. Her warmth and intelligence are undeniable when you listen to her speak. Fei is creating the world she longs to inhabit. She is an important voice for Asian creators and others who might remain in the margins, without a role model to lead the way. Today, fearless Fei is blazing a trail for those voices.
Fei Wu Has Mad DJ Skills
Back in China, Fei got her start in broadcasting by hosting a Chinese National Radio program called Youth Rhythm. She was the first bilingual Chinese DJ they’d ever hired. Her program opened the door for her to attend an international school in the US, and with her parent’s support, Fei embarked on a journey that would change the trajectory of her life.
Fast forward to age of 26. Fei was still in the US, living in Boston and working in the tech consulting and advertising world. When Fei lost her father to cancer, she discovered letters he’d written in response to her old radio show listeners. Her realization that she didn’t have any recordings of his voice, and the longing to tell important stories, ultimately led her to leave her corporate job and start her own business. Since then, she’s never looked back.
Q & A with Fei Wu
Tell me how you began your journey as an entrepreneur?
I’d had the idea I wanted to go into business on my own for quite a while before I started, but I needed a green card to work without sponsorship. Most of my colleagues in advertising and design had a side hustle, and yet they worried about leaving their jobs. I was daunted as well, but I longed to work independently. Since I was younger, I’d started a habit of saving $200-$300 each month. By the time I was ready to go out on my own, I had created a cushion for myself to fall back on. In January 2016 I had my green card. I created my own LLC and got started.
How has podcasting changed since you started? Why do you think it is such an important medium?
Podcasts have changed significantly since I started four years ago. Lots of podcasters spend a lot of time planning the theme and structure of their podcast, but I decided to start shipping right away. What I appreciate most about this medium is the ability to engage with another person in a truly meaningful way. It’s a conversation or interaction that is very different than writing for me. Whereas writing tends to be more formal and structured, being in the moment with someone allows me to truly show up as my most authentic self. Podcasting has become such a powerful medium for long-form content. The tools and technology have evolved so significantly, virtually anyone who wants to be heard can share broadcasts around the world with the click of a button.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as an entrepreneur?
Embrace the downtime. As your business matures you will have periods where you don’t have a deadline. Initially, this can create a lot of fear and anxiety, but if you can truly embrace it and use the time for renewing yourself, learning new skills, reading books and self-care in general, you will be better prepared for your next big challenge. I have learned to build in downtime so I have room in my life for rest, creativity, learning, and self-care. Even something as simple as making time to go to the gym or for a massage can offer significant benefits.
What upcoming projects are you most excited about?
I’m working on a series of documentary short films that are both thrilling and exhausting! My intention with this project is to deliver a compelling series of short films that demonstrate the challenging transitions people are required to go through to succeed in the modern-day world. I want to inspire people facing any kind of challenge, and validate those who are already on the road to a positive change and living life on their own terms. We’ve got some exciting interviews lined up including Seth Godin, Dorie Clark, Sarah Cooper, Mick Ebeling, and more. My partners and I are scheduled to begin shooting the first week in September and we can’t wait to get started!
Who has been the biggest influence on your work life? What lessons did that person teach you?
Seth Godin has been a huge influence in my life. Not only through my altMBA experience, but through his writing, and the relationships I have built through the communities he has created by forging his own path. So much of what he has taught me, both by example and through his work, has contributed to where I am, and where I’m going.
What in your life are you most proud of so far?
I’m proud that the life I’ve created for myself allows me to show up for my friends and family when they need me. If someone is sick or going through something, I’m able to create space for them and offer my support. Whether it’s taking them to and from the hospital or keeping them company through a difficult transition, I’m proud I can make time for what matters most to me. It is one of the best things about my life and work.
Whose kindness has made a significant impact on your life?
Of course, my mother comes to mind. Like many mothers, her kindness has had a lifelong impact on me. My life partner Adam is someone whose kindness has changed my life. To share my life with someone who is as excited, or even more excited, than I am about the work I’m doing, is a gift. He is my cheerleader, and my podcast wouldn’t exist without him. I’ve also been supported by dear friends, my podcast producer, German Ceballos has been instrumental in making the podcast so successful. And my documentary co-creators, Director Ed Gregory, and Producer, Dan Cooper have helped make my dreams and ideas a reality.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s the Seth Godin quote on the coin we received at the end of our altMBA experience. “Embrace emotional labor. Dance with fear.” It is daily, both a challenge and inspiration to me.
Help Fei Tell Inspiring Stories
If all goes well you’ll be able to see Fei’s documentary series premiere sometime in 2019. I couldn’t cover everything in one post, so when the first webisode goes live, I’ll write an update. In the meantime, go take a look around Fei’s World online and consider helping her tell her stories. In the current political climate, supporting her work is a tangible way to affirm the value of immigrant voices in American culture. In addition, check out her podcast (there are no ads) share it with your friends and subscribe. Then drop her a line and let her know what you think.