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Five Question Friday: Jo Tang

August 7, 2020

GreenLight Employee picture

Welcome to Five Question Friday! This is the first blog post of a new monthly series, where we will introduce you to the employees of GreenLight. You’ll get to know our team and meet the folks who are helping us solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges!  

This Month, Jo Tang, Project Manager, answers five questions about her experience with the company, her background, and hobbies.

1. What is your favorite thing about working at GreenLight?

The team, the diversity of the talent, interests, and cultural backgrounds coming together based on our passion and dedication to work for a future we care about. The fact that we can get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but yet we are willing to find ways to keep moving forward together. I have met some of the kindest, brightest and most dedicated people at GreenLight.

2. What is your work and educational background?

I started off as a molecular biologist on the bench and figured that I must be cursed somehow as none of my experiments ever came out quite right. (In a biomanufacturing lab, my team was the only team that could only produce the intermediary molecule instead of the final compound. The intermediate molecule happened to be black, and our fermenter looked as though we had dumped a bunch of activated carbon into it. It was a pain to clean up. We (including the prof and the TAs) could never figure out what had happened. .=)

Anyway, jokes aside. While I love the science, my real motivation was always finding solutions based on science. I was really intrigued by innovation and start-up culture. So, right after undergrad, I pivoted into engineering management and market research. I have learned with time that market research and learning about peoples’ needs is something I enjoy. I did a first master’s in engineering management while working in Chile, and then did my second master’s in System Design and Management at MIT.

3. What do you miss most about being in the office?

Once again, the people. Even if they are just using the door beside my desk to go outside. Seeing everyone doing their thing, the “good mornings”; some very distinctive laughter that I can always recognize even from the other end of the office (Matt, Karthik, Andrey, etc.); Maria trying to feed me chocolate the whole time; Jackie always with a compliment and a smile (and an ear on the phone); walking around the office to find a room for a last-minute call/meeting; Catie eating lunch in 15min at her desk; Ramen days (even if I was not feeling like ramen…the smell…yum. I always would end up giving in), trying to wrap up a meeting as fast as possible to go join the happy hours on Fridays; Silly jokes at happy hour (even though half of the time I have no idea what people are talking about and pretty sure none of it is making sense, anyway)…. all those little things that make my day “normal.” 

4. What’s the best place you have ever visited, and why?

Israel. I loved the culture. One of my favorite places was one of the markets. Something about the loud people, colors, smells and new tastes (for me) that I really like. The few people I met were very honest and candid in their opinion. And I find the mix of different religious beliefs, history and background coexisting in the same place very interesting. 

5. Do you speak another language? How/why/when did you learn that language?

I speak English, Spanish, Chinese and understand a little of Taiwanese (which is really a dialect and not a language). I learned Chinese at home. I was born in Taiwan. My family and I immigrated to Chile when I was around 7 years old.

I learned English back in school. It was one of my goals to come to the US to study. So, I started prepping for the English exams (Toefl) around 8th grade, but did not move to the US until my late 20s.