“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I will run with my baton.

My baton smells of gunpowder from the hands of my ancestors, as they led armies into battle to forge a modern China.

My baton is dulled by grime from my grandfather's hands, as the one-time physicist toiled in hard labor camps for freely speaking his mind during the Cultural Revolution.

My baton is dusty from my parents' long journey to America, where the former engineers humbly washed dishes and delivered takeout on a loaned bicycle to make ends meet.

Every time I put on a suit, present in a boardroom, or walk beneath the Baker steeple, I feel the weight of my baton. I am not entitled to be here. I am here because of all the hands that held my baton before me. There are very few challenges I will face that compare with what my baton has seen.

My baton helps me get up again after each blow or jeer. My baton shields me from glamour and temptations in the business world. My baton reminds me that every business decision I make impacts real families, each with their own batons.

My life and my opportunities have been earned through the sacrifices of those that came before me. I will make them count. I will live a life of service to my family, my community, and anyone who could use some help in their own journey.

It is now my turn. I will run with my baton.

— Leo Chang