30 September 2019

From Hollywood to Housing First - introducing Clarielle Chang

A deep and longstanding interest in what motivates people has seen Housing First Auckland’s new Business Analyst Clarielle Chang work in roles seemingly very diverse but all with people at the centre.

“Numbers are just numbers. Data is just data. I’m interested in understanding the people behind the numbers,” she said.

Taiwan-born Clarielle moved with her parents to Los Angeles where her parents, who met when they were entertainers for United States troops during the Vietnam war, found work as a mechanic and seamstress.

After graduating high school, Clarielle studied fashion design attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). On graduation she ended up spending over a year in New Zealand to support family immigrating from Taiwan. During that time, she met a Kiwi she later married.

Together they lived in Los Angeles and did a “stint in Hollywood” where Clarielle modelled and acted in “lots of things” (when pressed she grudgingly shares a few things including being in the blockbuster movie Demolition Man starring Sandra Bullock and a Rage Against the Machine music video).

Deciding that LA was not really their scene, Clarielle and her then husband returned to New Zealand with Clarielle staying on after the marriage ended.

“I really liked the culture. I found it quite inclusive with good work-life balance. New Zealand is a lovely place to live, so green, and the ocean is so accessible compared to LA,” she said.

“Because of my time in Hollywood I became a lot more confident. I grew my emotional intelligence and developed a good sense of people.”

This confidence led her into the world of advertising sales at the New Zealand Herald, where they were implementing a new platform for booking classifieds. “That’s where I got into leadership, systems and processes,” she said.

Taking this knowledge, she moved into travel and tourism where she found herself leading a team of 30, in part to pick up new technology.

“I am a real learner. During my time at Tourism Holdings I became very comfortable with numbers and worked more and more on the data side. I also started to really pursue formally learning about people, so I went back to university to earn a psychology degree,” Clarielle said.

“I am really driven by what motivates people to enable them to be happier, more fulfilled and to achieve what they want to achieve. I now want to help people beyond the workplace.”

Clarielle’s interest now lies in how she can use her knowledge of people and data to inform policy and impact decisions.

“I think that’s how you can be most impactful. That’s why this job is so perfect for me. It encompasses everything I believe in and uses all my skills. Housing is a fundamental part of having a happy healthy life,” she said.  


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