Ascend N. California – Ascend Executive Network (AEN) Member
Thank you for serving as an Executive Mentor in our Ascend NorCal 2022 Growth program. Do you have additional words of wisdom you’d like to share with our members?
I recently released a completely free career development course at www.victorcho.com/course. Think of this as 30+ years of CEO learnings all boiled down to 10 critical lessons. One of the most important lessons that I touch upon in that course is to build your external support network, something Ascend is perfectly designed to do. Too often as Asians, we believe we need to be the sole driver responsible for our success—but this is a flawed view. Our own skills and accomplishments are only a small piece of the formula that creates success.
You encourage business leaders to include society as a stakeholder, which resonates with Ascend as we work to drive workplace and societal impact by developing and elevating Asian and Pacific Islander business leaders and empowering them to become catalysts for change.
Sometimes in life we are given the gift of having some control and leverage in society. This could be running or starting a business, having a large consumer or media-based following, running a non-profit, working in government, and much more. I have always held a firm belief that if you have been granted this gift by society, you have a responsibility to ensure you are using that leverage for the benefit of society in some way. That doesn’t mean we all need to run off and start a non-profit tomorrow. However, it does mean that every leader needs to be accountable to the society at large. I've been calling this concept "The 4th Stakeholder" and have been expanding more on this concept at my website https://www.victorcho.com/4th-stakeholder.
What are you working on learning more about these days?
Artificial Intelligence is top of mind for me as it will potentially become the most impactful technology ever built by humans in terms of changing how we behave and live as humans. To gain a deeper understanding of the current state, I am self-teaching myself the data-programming language R, which is used to build many ML and AI models
With such a busy schedule, do you make time for a hobby or collect anything for fun?
COVID provided a new perspective for me in terms of the dynamics of time and, as a result, I began building a small collection of watches. One of my favorites is a hand-wound watch that was re-built from a reconstructed pocket-watch. The ticking is so loud you can hear it from a short distance away
Tell us about your family.
I am the proud father of two beautiful not-so-young girls and have been happily married for over 25 years to my incredible and inspirational wife, Cecilia.
Do you have a favorite family tradition that you enjoy celebrating?
We love Christmas and every year we put up a large (now artificial) tree. During COVID, we decided we would actually keep our 2019 tree up until COVID was ‘over’. Of course it’s still not ‘over,’ but we did take it down after everyone in the family was vaccinated. So, yes, we had our tree up for almost 2 years!
A passionate consumer advocate, Victor most recently served as the CEO at Evite where he led the company back from the brink of COVID-19 extinction and returned it to growth, financial health, and achieved a successful corporate extraction. Prior, he was the CEO at Kodak Gallery during a multi-year turnaround. He served as the Vice President and leader of Intuit’s web channel, taking the business from $300 million to $1.3 billion+. Victor also spent seven years at Microsoft, where he launched some of the company's earliest Internet commerce initiatives.
The recipient of numerous awards, he’s been named Internet Person of the Year by the Internet Marketing Association and received an Italian Knighthood from the Royal House of Savoy for his philanthropic efforts in raising nearly $30M for charities and non-profits.
Victor currently serves on the boards of Evite and ModoPayments
Current Residence: Burlingame, California
Birthplace: Originally born in a small farm-town an hour outside of Cleveland, Ohio.