As an alumna, current parent, and Board of Trustees member, Sarah Leung ’90 has seen and participated in the evolution of Seattle Country Day School. From learning the scientific method to improving school programs, her steady involvement stems from appreciation of her own time here. “I have tremendous respect and gratitude for what SCDS provided me and all of its children: an inquiry-based, whole-child education in an environment that nurtures kids to be lifelong learners.”
Being a lifelong learner has shaped Leung’s academic and professional pursuits. She earned her BA in American Studies from Williams College before receiving a JD from Duke University School of Law. Now, she is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Big Fish Games, Inc., a company that develops and produces a diverse range of video games to inspire and connect players. She started at Big Fish “over a decade ago for the opportunity to work with a great group of people I deeply respected, to help build fun games that people would love, and to build an awesome company along the way.”
As General Counsel, she supports legal and risk management functions, and helps to chart the company’s direction, culture, and goals. She regularly poses these questions to her company: Who do we want to be, for our customers and our people? How do we get there? What are the values and culture that we want to nurture to execute those goals? To answer these questions, she reflects back to the scientific method she learned in Doc O’s class: observe, hypothesize, predict, experiment, and conclude. “At its core, my job is really all about problem-solving using data and creative thinking.”
It’s also about remaining curious. She has to become well-versed in all aspects of the business, from the organizational structure to the people. “I have to ask the right ‘what if?’ questions that lead us to problem-solve effectively and efficiently, no matter if it’s an issue in engineering, user experience, game design, or leadership.”
While always curious, she used to find it difficult to raise her hand and speak up in class. As a young student at SCDS, she describes herself as “super nerdy and painfully shy,” someone who may not have imagined themselves in such influential roles. But Leung believes many great leaders are secretly introverted. She realized what held her back was an “innate pursuit of perfection. Over the decades, it has been a matter of practicing raising my hand, speaking up, and getting comfortable with the fact that perfection is not the goal. It’s healthy and human to make mistakes, to learn from them, to refine and try again.”
Leung enjoys returning to the place where mistakes are encouraged, and “where it’s cool to be smart and excited about learning.” To continue supporting hungry learners, Leung’s time on SCDS’s Board of Trustees has included serving as Vice President, Board Secretary, and co-chair of the Board Trusteeship Committee and Strategic Planning Update Committee.
Wherever they continue to problem solve, Leung advises students to “ABL. Always Be Learning.” What does this level of curiosity mean? “Keep an open mind, challenge the status quo, and make new and novel connections across interdisciplinary universes. It means approaching people and situations with humility, as well as with the desire to improve your own understanding.”