Who is Sara Wang?
"When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'.” – John Lennon
As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a professional dancer. I love to dance because of its movement and expression of body language, incorporated with music. It blends visual and acoustic senses and emotions. However, this was a dream that I grew out of. The fundamentals and discipline I learned while being a dancer became a part of who I grew to become. As I grew older, I realized that I am a swift learner, retain a lot of information, take what I am learning, and transform that information to enhance other aspects of my life. This is what led me to become who I am today.
Hi, it’s fabulous to meet you.
My name is Sara Wang, and I am a Vancouver, B.C.-based businesswoman, executive coach, and the Founder of VIV Coaching.
With over 20 years of experience as a management consultant, I have helped corporate and nonprofit organizations globally and expanded international markets. I’ve thrived in various industries, including oil and gas, steel, real estate development, renewable energy, sustainable development, art, culture, and large-scale projects related to the Olympics.
The Path To VIV
VIV coaching was conceptualized in early 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. I volunteered at local non-profits, helping businesses and organizations overcome obstacles and grow during these new turbulent times caused by the global crisis. I focused on mentoring and coaching entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders. I recognized the unsustainable patterns in how people led and the vast emotional factors playing into decision-making. Something was missing in the business coaching space, so I decided to create VIV Coaching and change how leaders run organizations and enhance the way entrepreneurs work with coaches. I see a crisis as not the time to "survive," but where changes and opportunities lie and the opportunities to thrive.
My Journey & Experience
How did I cultivate the knowledge that I have today? I learned everything I know over the last few decades through first-hand experience paired and many pivotal moments in my career.
I was the senior consultant for the overseas business development of the world's largest steel company, ArcelorMittal. I created and led the “City of Tomorrow” initiative in its then primary target market, China. In this position, I organized a cross-industry conference and exhibition in 2007 in partnership with international and local government authorities, business organizations, world experts in urban planning, architectural firms, research institutes, and world-leading environment companies. We joined together to discuss, learn, and present new technologies and solutions around sustainable and environmental improvement while envisioning cleaner, greener, and more livable cities of the future. As a result, the ‘City of Tomorrow’ paved the way for an innovative and forward-thinking mindset. The continuous efforts and collaboration led to the policy shift in China in 2009, with accelerating investment and support in the sector trying to become the world leader in clean-tech, renewable energy and climate issues and a pillar of the COP21.
During my time as Managing Partner of the management consulting firm IMA, I grew the company across three continents during the 2009 global financial crisis. The economic downturn was a period of time when the firm thrived because I led a strategic transformation within the organization. We transitioned traditional industries to become experts and advocates in renewable energy and sustainable development.
Awards and Accomplishments
One of the accomplishments I am most proud of is the charity school project. I Initiated and led the philanthropic project of rebuilding an elementary school of nearly 2000 students after a massive earthquake in China, in 2008. We formed a cross-party team of experts and raised over 2 million euros (CA$3M) in one week. The project was complete with world-class standards and 60% cost savings. In addition, I was the Curator who organized and resurrected the exhibition after a major emergency crisis just 30 hours ahead of the 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremonies. This project was a social project for BHP Billiton and the Australian Government, supporting over 300 aboriginal communities in the desert of Australia to preserve their history, art and culture while providing education and job opportunities and advocacy for cultural inclusion and sustainability. This project led me to receive a commendation from the International Olympic Committee officials for hosting the best exhibition at the Olympic Expo.
My recent nomination for a Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award helped shine a spotlight on my contribution to the community and how I can help organizations, lead and coach from a place of integrity. I am actively involved in philanthropic projects, particularly advocating for sustainable development, supporting education for underprivileged children and promoting arts. I recently became the new Entrepreneur in Residence of Spring, the incubator for impact ventures. I volunteer by mentoring at local organizations such as the WeBC (previously Women Enterprise Centre), the Forum, and as a Knowledge Philanthropist at Vantage Point. I obtained an MBA in Global Management from Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France and a BSc. in Analytical Chemistry.
VIV Is To Live
John Lennon’s response to his teacher that he wanted to be happy when he grew up stuck with me. His teachers accused him of not understanding the question and told him that his answer wasn’t correct. He understood the question more profoundly than the other students. He knew that when he was older, he wanted to be happy. Without happiness, we don’t have much. John’s words resonate with me and inspire me to integrate my client’s internal experiences with business success.
In French, the word “vivre” means to live, which inspired the name of my company, VIV. I have a strong desire to help others live and thrive through challenges. I believe that business coaching should go beyond simply talking about strategy and instead focus on actual sustainability needs based on a forward-thinking mindset, adaptability and change, paired with impact and mindfulness.