Natalie soarsMonday, November 17, 2014
By KIMBERLEY HIBBERT
NATALIE Lue-Fung doesn't look like someone who has ever had to struggle. In fact, her coiffed tresses, perfect nails, effervescent smile and regal demeanour scream privilege.
But the entrepreneur and success coach will tell you that she didn't always have it together; in fact, as a youngster, she grew up in foster homes and faced homelessness.
"I was homeless at 15 and I had my first child at 16. I would go to my friends' houses and stay until night then sleep over because I had nowhere else to go," she told All Woman.
Born in Kingston, Lue-Fung became a child of the system early, spending her pre-teen years with her first foster family in St Andrew when her parents couldn't care for her.
It was there that her foster dad taught her to be a fighter, telling her his version of The Lion and the Mouse story when she was followed home by bullies. This resilience would chart her path through life.
By age 15 she was in between homes, spending time on friends' couches. Pregnant at 16, she attended the Women's Centre, where she met her second set of foster parents, a couple who would help her fulfil her educational goals and help raise her child.
And like the phoenix, Lue-Fung was able to rise above the challenges, complete high school and study abroad.
With an above-average IQ, Lue-Fung has earned over 40 scholarships, has three university degrees from Morgan State University in Baltimore, USA, and is a successful businesswoman, leading over 3,000 people across different states in the US and other countries in the world with the company, Skylife, a travel club focused on network marketing.
The success coach, a past student of The Queen's School and Immaculate Conception High, is a professional tourist who works hard for her money, and with her network marketing company, manages to travel as often as five times each month.
"If I'm going to live, I'm going to live a full life. The travel club existed long before me. It's been in existence for nine years. There are registries in the US as well as other parts of the world, so I registered in Maryland where I was a consultant in my regular job. I was senior manager of a partnership, then I saw an opportunity to travel with my kids. It was an opportunity for them to travel and make money as well, so I started building," Lue-Fung said.
She has also worked on Wall Street, where she gained a background in finance, and also operates another company -- Caribbean Media Management Production Services -- which she developed to find all things creative about Jamaica and share with the rest of the world.
Married to Duane, Lue-Fung is a mother of four, who said launching out was not an easy road.
"When I started Skylife, I shared it [idea] with about 100 people before I got one yes," she said. She said she used that experience as a stepping stone to get to where she is now.
"If you're not successful, no one has failed you but you," she explained.
Her drive goes beyond her professional duties as she is also a champion for women.
"I do have a passion for women -- I was brought up by women. I see where there is a void and need in society for more female role models. I've been seeking out ways to personally develop so I can help other women at any level to personally develop," Lue-Fung said.
"I was trained on how to dress, walk and dine. I needed spiritual coaching and lifestyle coaching and now I want to help people to manage the negativity around them, and leverage negative influences to get positive outcomes."
Lue-Fung will host a local seminar in January called Women Who Win, which will be put on by Women's Improvement Network.
"I believe in giving and giving wholeheartedly, because that's how you receive. It makes no sense for me to come and give a good motivational speech and when the women leave they don't have the tools that will make them win. Whatever you give, expect it in return," she said. "I was taught to fish and I have every intention of going back into society to teach others to fish."
Her advice to women undergoing challenges is to simply keep overcoming and proving people wrong.
"Don't enter into transactional relationships, because you place a value on yourself that will be hard to get out of. Don't sit down waiting for someone to give you a fish; you will likely be helped if you ask someone to show you, rather than beg. Everything in the universe is conspiring to take you to the next level," she said.
She added: "Don't go out there seeking someone to tell them how sad your story is. Don't sit and talk about yourself and your story, because it may just be the first chapter. If I had done that mine would end up being about whining. Look at things you want to achieve and that's your next chapter. There is never going to be a time when I'm not overcoming a challenge or going to another level, because I want more. I'm appreciative but I want more."
For her success, she thanks her foster mothers Henrietta (June) Daley and Sheila Lutjens, "as even when I didn't have the strength, they pulled me along".
She maintained that failure is never an option and if you accept negativity from people, then you have failed yourself.
"Be flexible and get up with an attitude knowing you're going to win, because you were meant to win," she said.
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