THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: “From my window, I see families doing things together, birds dancing, blue skies. How can I not be thankful for what we have?”

Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Linda Kao propelled herself from W.T. White High School and a part-time job in a flower shop to Southern Methodist University as the assistant dean for global programs. Before that the Advocate 2019 Fierce Female was a successful model and in charge of logistics for the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Mr. USA pageants. Kao is on the board of directors for the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. Mother to a son and daughter, who attends Hockaday, Kao is a cancer survivor who seizes the day. We caught up with her to see how she’s doing during the coronavirus pandemic.

What are you doing now?
I am still the Assistant Dean of Global Programs, Cox School of Business at SMU, currently working from home like most people. The impact of the global pandemic is changing our lives dramatically. Travel is restricted and borders are closed. We have to be agile and innovative  in delivering meaningful global experiential learning opportunities if we can’t get there.  We have to bring the world to us.

How are you coping during the pandemic?
Working online and Zooming keeps me quite busy.  However, I absolutely love spending a lot of quality time with family; we eat, we laugh, debate current issues, take our dog for walks around the neighborhood. It’s been an incredible bonding moment.  Cooking has become a creative outlet since I have to do so much of it. It’s actually fun.  From my window, I see families doing things together, birds dancing, blue skies. How can I not be thankful for what we have, and the ability to help those in need?

If you could go back in time to your high school, what advice would you have for yourself?
Be bold, be curious, be kind to others and never stop learning. Don’t be afraid of not knowing what to do next, be open-minded and work hard.  Good things will come to you!


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