Coffee With Me

Change-maker: Shaylen Chang

Age: 25

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

Instagram: @shayyylen 

Education: Digital Arts, B.S. with minors in Western Art History and Business from University of Oregon; Communication, M.A. from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Coffee of Choice: Soy vanilla latte – hot or iced.  For a treat, iced soy caramel macchiato with extra caramel drizzle.  During the holidays, hot soy peppermint mocha.

Who am I?
Creative type.  Artist, designer, and spontaneous adventurer.

What do I specialize in?
Photography, social media marketing, influencer marketing.  I currently do online marketing for a hotel – arranging collaborations with influencers, promoting room and restaurant specials on social media, planning and engaging the hotel’s social media posts, responding to guest reviews, even planning events.  Before I started grad school, many of my internships involved managing social media accounts and graphic design work.  Influencer marketing is my favorite focus at the moment.  It is a growing industry with great potential.

What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the next big thing – the way I see it at least.  Collaborating with social media influencers, or individuals with large following and engagement on social media, can have a tremendous positive impact for both the business and the influencer.  Influencers create content promoting a business or service to their followers.  This helps the business reach a targeted and specific demographic.  For example, a hotel will partner with travel-focused influencers.  When the influencer posts at their hotel, the hotel reaches a new audience who are looking for travel inspiration – where to visit, where to stay, and what to do.

What do I do in my spare time?
What spare time?  I need to always be occupied with some type of activity.  Whether it’s doing something active – hula, yoga, barre class, hiking – or doing something creatively fulfilling – photo shoots, reading inspirational books, making jewelry, trying new restaurants, going on adventures with friends.  I also have a weakness for binge-watching sitcoms and going shopping.  And I definitely want to travel more in the near future!

Why “Coffee With Shay?”
It seemed like a natural path to take.  It was a random and spontaneous idea that popped into my mind on a drive home from work.  Since then, I knew it was my next project and spent every spare moment to make it happen.  A little history of why I love going out for coffee…  While I was attending the University of Oregon, I would have brunch and coffee with all of my friends when I returned home for summer and winter break.  Over time, this became a ritual.  Every week, I would have coffee with one of my friends to catch up and talk about what we’ve been up to.  More often than not, these coffee talks would become brainstorming sessions of our latest creative projects.  I have such an inspiring network of friends.  They inspire and encourage me every day to bring my ideas to life.  I greatly appreciate this and wanted to share this with the world …or whoever is interested in reading about some really awesome individuals.  When I hear about my friends making their dreams happen, it gets me excited and inspired to do the same.

Who is my biggest inspiration?
I have so many.  Everyone in my life has inspired me in some way.  But I must say, both of my grandmothers have inspired me the most.  My dad’s mom, whom I have only known through stories, has been described to me as THEE life of the party who would talk and find a connection to anyone and everyone – I aspire to be like her.  My mom’s mom, my dear Nana, is one of my favorites in the world – her happiness, patience, peace, and willingness to drop everything to help anyone and everyone inspires me to be just like her too.

What is the greatest piece of advice I have ever received?
“If you want something, speak up.”  That is something my Aunty Evelyn would always scold me when I was growing up.  I never did like when she said that at the time but now I am so grateful for her tough love.  If you want something, make it happen.  Go for it.  Don’t wait for someone else to make it happen for you.  The opportunity may never come around again.  Now, I jump at every opportunity I see and it has gotten me to where I am today.

What are key issues I am passionate about?
Environmental conservation – especially ocean conservation.  I like to think that if I had stuck to the sciences, I would have been a marine biologist.  Also, plant and animal conservation – especially native Hawaiian plants and animals.

Why focus on change-makers?
Would you have believed me 20 years ago if I told you, “One day, you will be able to press a magical smart hand-held device with one finger and influence thousands of individuals all at once?”  As a young girl, I would always tell my dad, “I am going to change the world.”  He would laugh at this “far-fetched” proclamation and say, “You go do that.”  In the world we live in, change is inevitable.  The growth of the internet and social networking sites has made it possible for anyone to influence an incredibly large audience of people around the globe in an instant with just one social media post.  We live in the age of influencers.  People are more aware of what is happening in the world and many of them want to make positive changes.  Now, changing the world doesn’t seem as far-fetched of an idea.  People are changing the world from the tips of their fingers without even realizing it.  They are following their passions, making positive changes, and communicating with like-minded people, thus creating new trends faster than ever.

What change do I want to see in the world? 
I want to see people following their dreams and pursuing their passions.  In this digital age, anyone can learn pretty much anything – that’s what YouTube and Pinterest are for right?… at least for now until the next big thing comes along.  There’s no excuse not to make it happen.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.