Friday, October 11, 2013

Santa Chow: Approaching Difficulties with Perseverance and Grace

Dress for Success is pleased to welcome Santa Chow, a Dress for Success Vancouver client and success story, as one of four speakers at the Inaugural Success Luncheon on Wednesday, October 30th at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

Santa Chow
Santa Chow - Dress for Success client
and success story  

As an intelligent, fearless and strong-willed single mother of two, Santa Chow has the determination to succeed that is nothing short of astounding.“I know I can achieve anything I dream of because I have the will and the power,” she says.

Forty-six year old Santa immigrated to Canada in 1983 from Hong Kong and studied grade 13 in Toronto while her brother attended university. From there, Santa relocated to Winnipeg to attend university herself, but while in Winnipeg she contracted a rare lung disease doctors had never seen before. Santa spent a year in hospital for treatment and even had part of her lung removed. "I almost died from that incident."

Santa regained her strength and after several years returned back to Hong Kong where she worked in the family business as the CEO and controller of her father’s three factories. After four years, Santa left Hong Kong once again and moved back to the Canada with her husband, a dentist she met in Hong Kong.  

Santa worked managing her husband’s business for 13 years when her life took a sharp turn. Her husband asked Santa for a divorce. They had two children together, Tabitha and Sebastian. “When my husband left me and the children, I lost my marriage and my job at the same time,” she says. “I felt like I had nothing left.” Slipping deep into clinical depression, Santa went to see her family doctor. He recommended taking anti-depression medication, but instead Santa turned to natural medicine for healing and discovered running. Jogging for three hours every day, Santa produced the much needed endorphins her body required to start feeling better.

Feeling strong and healthy and ready for a new challenge, Santa joined the YWCA. No longer wanting to depend on a man, “I wanted control over my fate and destiny and to take charge of my life.” Through the YWCA, Santa rediscovered the direction she wanted her life to take and in 2005, she completed a full-time, female-only, six-month long program to become a contractor and learned the skills of the trade. “I completed the course and learned all the wiring, plumbing, carpentry, dry-walling, and tiling. I excelled at all five subjects, but I really love carpentry. I made furniture for my house; the bookshelves and my king-size bed. I made it all myself.”
From there, while juggling two part-time jobs and raising her two children, Santa attended UBC and finished the psychology degree she was unable to continue due to her illness in Winnipeg. 
After she graduated from UBC and through a friend’s recommendation, Santa was offered a job with FranchiseLink, Canada’s largest network dedicated to helping consumers navigate franchise and business opportunities.
When she secured a position with FranchiseLink, Santa became part of the Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group (PWG). The 18-month PWG program provides employed women with a network of support, practical information and inspiration to achieve success in careers and in life. Through the PWG, Santa was paired with a mentor, Kim Conroy, a chartered accountant and a career coach. “She gives me advice, she looked at my resume and once a week she gives me personal counseling.”
Since starting her job with FranchiseLink in December 2009, Santa has been promoted to Director of Asian Franchise Development. “I am the bridge between two cultures, the Asian business market and the mainstream North American market.”
Santa says that Dress for Success gives women the encouragement to educate themselves, and by doing so, the ability to make their lives and the lives of their children better.
“When we make changes for ourselves, it affects our children too, it shapes their lives. Dress for Success gives us encouragement; that even if we are alone, without a partner, we can do things on our own. We can make an impact in the world.”
About Dress for Success Vancouver
Dress for Success Vancouver is an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since its inception in 1999, Dress for Success Vancouver has helped more than 17,000 women towards self-sufficiency.

Event Details

Get your tickets at
Enjoy a 3 course lunch and the opportunity to network with other prominent business contacts across all sectors.

All proceeds are in support of Dress for Success Vancouver!


  1. Good one. Worth reading.

    1. I am an old friend of Santa Chow in Hong Kong. Can I connect with her ?

      Sammy Sou

  2. I am an old friend if Santa Chow in Hong Kong. Can I get connected with her?

    Sammy Sou