Friday, November 8, 2013

Dr Joseph Chang: Ipoh-born makes it big as top scientist in renowned firm

PETALING JAYA: Passionate about science as a boy, Ipoh-born Dr Joseph Chang (pic) never dreamt that he would one day become the top scientist at an international direct-selling company.

Leaving home at 17 to study overseas, Dr Chang, now 61, is the chief scientific officer at Nu Skin Enter­prises Inc, a leading distributor of anti-aging products and supplements.

Prior to that, he co-founded a nutritional supplement company called Pharmanex, with its range of products sold in 38,000 stores in the United States before it was bought over by Nu Skin.

“My journey is one pleasant accident after another,” he said.

“I was planning on returning to Malaysia after doing my doctorate in pharmacology at the University of London.

“But opportunities presented themselves to me,” said Dr Chang, who was a lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University in the United States before being offered a job to do research and development for a drug company.

After successfully developing drugs to aid arthritis and organ rejection, he went on to form Pharmanex in 1995, and sold it to Nu Skin three years later.

Nu Skin currently operates in 53 markets across the United States, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Even though he is now an American, Dr Chang, a father of two, said he would visit Malaysia every year and missed the delicious durian and his hometown’s signature hor fun.

“You can take a guy out of Ipoh but you can’t take Ipoh out of a guy,” he quipped.

Dr Chang, who lives in Utah, said it was important to be creative in one’s efforts to achieve goals.

“Malaysian parents are interesting to me.

“They are averse to risk and insist that their children take up ‘safe’ professions like medicine, law and engineering.

“Malaysian parents cannot accept failure well,” he noted.

“To them, it is not seen as a temporary speed bump.

“But that is part of the challenge that comes from the unknown,” Dr Chang said.

“What matters is that you can recover from the failure.”

*Taken from The STar Online

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