Navigating New Horizons: Yao Lu’s Volunteer Leadership in UI/UX from East to West

In the bustling world of technology and design, where the whirlwind of innovation never ceases, there are inspiring individuals like Yao Lu who lend their expertise to forge careers and foster community growth through volunteering. As our volunteer UI/UX lead, Yao’s journey from Nanchang to Shanghai and eventually to the United States encapsulates a story of resilience, discovery, and passion.

Early Life and Challenges

Yao’s journey from the tranquil community of Nanchang in China’s Jiangxi Province to the bustling metropolis of Shanghai during her middle school years was a testament to her resilience and adaptability. The transition was challenging, from integrating into a new cultural milieu to overcoming language barriers, including the local dialect, Shanghainese. This period of isolation and emotional strain was a crucible that shaped much of Yao’s resilience and empathetic outlook. The pressure of academic excellence, particularly around the time of her college entrance exams, brought additional stress, leading her to seek emotional outlets to manage her feelings of isolation.

Discovering UI/UX

Yao’s path to UI/UX was not straightforward. With limited direct exposure to the industry initially, she relied heavily on online research and personal assessments to carve out her future direction. Her academic journey led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management in the United States, where she first encountered the barriers of being a foreigner and a first-generation college student in the United States. This experience was both challenging and enriching, teaching her valuable lessons in perseverance and adaptability.

Her transition into UI/UX and product management was not just a change of career but a pursuit of a passion deeply aligned with her values and interests. This realization came during her tenure in product management when she discovered her adeptness at understanding people’s needs and providing solutions. Her passion for UI/UX and product management drives her life; her journey is a testament to the transformative power of following one’s passion.

Influence and Inspiration

Mentors and role models can be powerful catalysts in our lives, and for Yao, a YouTuber and podcaster, Dr. Nancy Li became a beacon of possibility. Despite language barriers and cultural differences, Dr. Li’ success inspired Yao to pursue her passions relentlessly, reinforcing the belief that personal challenges do not define one’s professional capabilities.

Overcoming Barriers

The journey of an immigrant is often fraught with challenges, from cultural shocks to language barriers. Yao tackled these with a determination to actively integrate and engage with her new environment. Her efforts to connect with peers, participate in university activities, and be open to new experiences allowed her to transcend the initial hurdles and build meaningful relationships.

Yao Lu

Life Beyond UI/UX

Beyond her professional and volunteer work, Yao is a voracious reader, using literature as a tool for empathy and problem-solving. Books have offered her perspectives and frameworks that assist her career and personal life challenges, including navigating changes like marriage and motherhood. Above all, Yao cites being a mother as her proudest and most transformative accomplishment. Parenthood has profoundly shaped her identity and outlook, offering unparalleled insights into empathy, resilience, and the complexities of human relationships. She considers this role her most significant achievement, which continues to influence every aspect of her life and work.

“Life whispers in the breeze— Embrace flexibility with ease, Fulfillment lies in hands that help, lift another, elevate yourself. Not a race, but a voyage grand, detours are vistas, no missteps on this land. Let your heart navigate the expanse so vast, savor the journey, secrets unfurling fast. You know your heart, it holds the key, ‘Believe in me,’ it says, and you shall see.”
Yao Lu
Believe in Me Volunteer UI/UX Lead

Guiding Principles and Reflections

Yao’s life philosophy emphasizes honesty and meaningful engagement—whether in choosing a career path, engaging in volunteer work, or personal relationships. Reflecting on her journey, Yao believes in being true to oneself and making decisions that are not just financially or professionally beneficial but are genuinely fulfilling.


Embracing Authenticity and Impact

If Yao could give one piece of advice to her younger self, it would be to maintain honesty with oneself. This principle guides her through life’s myriad challenges and successes, ensuring that her actions and choices authentically align with her true self.


Yao’s story is a powerful testament to the impact of resilience, the pursuit of passion, and the transformative power of volunteer work. Her dedication to volunteer work within our community inspires us to look beyond the surface and strive for deeper, more meaningful engagements in every sphere of our lives. Her journey is a call to action, urging us to find ways to make a difference through volunteer work.

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