Volunteer Spotlight

Lydia Lui

Tell us a bit about your education and work history:

I have a bit of an unusual career path, in that I trained and performed as a professional violinist before going to law school. I ended up going to law school upon encouragement from my uncle, who is an attorney in Sydney, Australia. After graduation, I clerked for a district court judge, worked as a real estate and lending attorney at a large Midwestern law firm, and was in-house counsel at a national banking institution and a national title insurance company. Currently, I am an attorney at a boutique commercial real estate law firm, Vantage Law Group, PLLC, in Minneapolis, and the deputy program director of the World Press Institute, in St. Paul. I still perform frequently and am a board member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

When did you first get involved with WomenVenture?

I was introduced to WomenVenture through Jason Burak, the Senior Loan Officer at WomenVenture. Actually, I met Jason (who, by the way, is a fantastic cellist) while we were performing at a wedding gig in White Bear Lake. He mentioned his work at WomenVenture, and I thought the agency sounded like a great organization. Given our backgrounds in real estate and lending , I thought there might be some way I could help small business owners. I’ve been advising WomenVenture and WomenVenture clients regarding real estate matters ever since!

What do you like best about volunteering at WomenVenture?

I'm so impressed by the level of commitment each WomenVenture client has to their business. They are very passionate about what they do and are driven to succeed. 

What do you think will change about women entrepreneurship and women owned businesses in Minnesota in the future?

I think our local community is becoming more aware of the difficulties women face in the workplace, particularly women in entrepreneurship, and therefore more people are actively seeking out opportunities to support local women who are doing amazing things. This leads me to believe that in spite of the challenges women face, Minnesota will be a better place for women entrepreneurs in the future.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at WomenVenture?

WomenVenture is a fantastic organization with great staff. Working with staff and clients at WomenVenture is such a wonderful opportunity to help new entrepreneurs achieve their biggest dreams by giving them the tools to make those dreams a reality.

Tell us a fun fact about you:

I’ve had some unforgettable musical experiences, including performing for Christina Aguilera’s wedding in Napa Valley, California, and receiving a standing ovation from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I also love to travel, watch soccer and drink microbrews. Chances are, if I’m not working, I’m doing one, two, or all three of those things. My next big adventure will be going to France this summer to attend the FIFA Women’s World Cup. I’m sure it will be a memorable experience.

<-------- Lydia and her boyfriend Brett at a soccer match in Tokyo, Japan!