How My Cleft Palate Prepared Me for Life on Wall Street


By Dave Liu, as informed to WebMD through Smile Train

Many would contemplate being born with a cleft lip and palate a setback that would have adverse implications all through one’s complete life. Looking again now, as a 30-year veteran of the finance and know-how trade, I can see clearly that my cleft journey gave me the instruments I wanted to rise on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, and achieve enterprise. 

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I used to be born within the Seventies with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, and have undergone nearly a dozen surgical procedures all through my lifetime. At the time, earlier than the age of the Internet and social media, I used to be unable to seek out position fashions, or foster connections with these in related conditions. It wasn’t till my twenties that I met one other individual with a cleft. I spent nearly all of my childhood in Hong Kong, the place I largely saved to myself, remoted by the social stigma related to having a cleft.

Growing up will be troublesome for anybody. And it may be particularly exhausting for cleft-affected people; with out illustration, it’s isolating and lonesome. After being bullied and ridiculed by others, I used to be taught an vital life lesson by my mother and father at a younger age: to deal with myself and ignore what others have been saying about me. I channeled my vitality into bettering myself via my research and shops like drawing comedian books and Chinese portray. It enabled me to disregard what others stated and deal with bettering myself.

Despite the peculiar seems and fixed stares, I used to be all the time reminded of the phrases spoken to me by my mother and father. To this day, I nonetheless use them as my North Star. Focusing on my research and self- enchancment, I acquired a finance diploma from the Wharton School and an engineering diploma from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences on the University of Pennsylvania. Upon coming into the workforce, my cleft ready me nicely for an extended profession on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley by giving me what I referred to as “rhino skin.” A psychological  toughness to persevere. I discovered to view it as a blessing slightly than a curse, as a result of it gave me the fortitude and dedication that propelled me all through my profession.

Now that I’ve achieved lots of my profession targets, my hope is to function a supply of inspiration for cleft-affected people and create a cleft council composed of the position fashions and illustration that I want I had as a toddler. If I might share a message with youthful people who’re going through adversity, I’d say: bear in mind you aren’t alone and to consider in your self. With a little bit of luck and perseverance, you’ll be able to obtain something you need.

To share my journey and the ways I used to climb the company ladder, I wrote a e-book titled, The Way of the Wall Street Warrior: Conquer the Corporate Game Using Tips, Tricks and Smartcuts. One hundred percent of my internet proceeds will profit charities like Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused group that transforms lives, and smiles, via the free cleft surgical procedure and complete cleft care they provide worldwide.  

About Dave Liu

Dave is a 30-year veteran advisor, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and creator of The Way of the Wall Street Warrior. You can be taught extra about Dave by visiting his web site at

This article is a part of WebMD’s contributor program, which lets individuals and organizations exterior of WebMD submit articles for consideration on our website. Have an concept for a submission?  Email us at [email protected]

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