Spend two minutes with Ching Louie, owner of Louie Properties, and you would never think that this successful career woman and active community member used to be timid. Her sparkling personality is undeniable, and if her colleagues, fellow volunteers, or family had to describe her in one word, it would be “resourceful.” Considering her workdays have no set hours and go well into the weekends, it’s a surprise she even makes time to talk non-business talk, let alone get involved with the community. And yet she gladly does with an open heart and a warm smile.
About three weeks ago, the Hong Kong Schools Alumni Federation hosted its 16th Annual Charity Ball held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, and the event was co-chaired by Ching Louie. The Federation’s main fundraiser raised more than $300,000 for scholarships to support students from Hong Kong and California to attend universities in the United States. She served as the president in 2009 and continues to find ways to give back to her former and current communities.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Louie moved to Hong Kong at age 14. After attending International School, she came to the United States in 1977 to attend Occidental College. She then transferred to USC, but financial issues and her mother’s passing hit her family so hard that she had to put a pause on her education. As a timid international student, she did not qualify for student loans, and she believed that only the “crème of the crop” students received scholarship opportunities. However, Louie didn’t let obstacles obstruct her hard work ethic. She took a part-time job and eventually earned a Business and Economics degree from UCLA in 1981.
It is Louie’s personal experience that drives her volunteer efforts. Louie helped establish the scholarship committee for the , instituted seven Chinese Clubs in the San Gabriel Valley, and organized various speech contests. Her volunteer experiences don’t stop there. Not only is she a volunteer, but she is also a leader. Louie led the San Marino Lion’s Club as former president and has served with the , , and countless other committees.
Currently, she is the owner of Louie Properties, a property management company based in Temple City. The road she took was a winding one, but never a path that discouraged her.
“I keep on farming and whatever crops I reap, I’ll be happy with," Louie said. "I can only worry about what’s under my control."
She has learned from an array of fields, having worked at All-State Insurance, the Universal Hilton, and RE/MAX. She was even recruited to be the fundraiser for a Senate campaign in the 90s. Perhaps her most unique training technique that has stuck with her through the years is keeping a mirror by her telephone.
“The mirror reminds me to smile. Every time I talk on the phone, that smile will pass through that line, and the other person knows I’m smiling” she said.
Those smiles don’t stop with business calls. Louie’s office in Temple City is always filled with visiting clients, friends, and food.
“I try to bribe them with food,” Louie jokes.
A can-do attitude coupled with a sense of humor makes Louie an engaging leader, as she seems to prioritize strong and healthy relationships over business.
Pon Norasingh, one of Louie’s clients, has known Louie for about four years. This past week, Norasingh brought Laotian food to the office just to show appreciation for Louie and her staff.
“Ching is very resourceful, and she doesn't mind to go out of her way to help you and talk things out with you," Norasingh said. "She’s very talented in terms of human resources and she won't hesitate to contact the expert."
What Norasingh appreciates most about Louie’s workspace is that it has an open door policy. Louie Properties is more of a home office with a family atmosphere, which is perfect since Louie considers her colleagues and clients as part of her family.
Like her volunteer work, Louie wanted to help and mentor young people within her own company. It is because of Louie that Justin Cheung, former SMUSD student, is now an associate broker at Louie Properties. With a Regional Development degree from the University of Arizona, Cheung wanted to get hands-on experience in the real estate industry and learn from a respected community member. Louie proved to be the perfect mentor. He appreciated that his boss gets “fired up” about many projects. Her enthusiasm and passion to help others still surprises him. Cheung shared that, “There was a big plumbing issue on a Saturday at 1 a.m. on a holiday weekend this past year. She ended up going to the building and stayed past 3 a.m. to make sure the issue was resolved.”
Perhaps what is most impressive about Louie is her positive attitude. A self-proclaimed “hopeless optimist,” Louie is not hopeless at all, especially when it comes to current thoughts of the economy and business.
“You set the tone and control the mood of the environment," Louie said. "When the economy is bad, I look at it as an opportunity for learning and re-organizing.”
As for her change from a shy international student to a confident business and community leader, she attributes her growth to her husband and colleague, Ron Louie whom she met in Chinatown in 1983. “He encouraged me to speak up. I learned to fight for my right. And he gives me space to blossom.”
Louie encountered much discouragement and obstacles along the way, but she always reminded herself that "You had a vision for the company. There's no return. Just keep moving on and God will take care of the rest."
Ching Louie resides in Pasadena and has been married to husband, Ron Louie, for 26 years. They have one daughter, Ronni, a SMHS and USC graduate, who returns next month from her one year in Australia.