By By Max Cho - Harvard-Westlake School - Chief Regional Director - Los Angeles, CA
As club members of NextGenVest, Global Ambassadors receive opportunities to showcase their talents and skills through NGV's growing international platform.
Max Cho, Chief Regional Ambassador, works directly with NextGenVest's founder to launch new clubs, engage members, and train new student leaders, all while utilizing his love for film making, video production, and story telling.
Read on to find out how this future business leader is making a difference on his own time and as a representative of NextGenVest.
What school do you go to and what year are you?
I attend the Harvard Westlake School in Studio City, CA. Class of 2015.
What are the primary activities you do at your school?
The activities I am involved in at school are all very centered around film production. I am the student Director of the Harvard Westlake Film Festival, which takes place annually in March at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.
I also am the founder of an organization called Say No To UXO, which aims to spread awareness about the Secret War in Laos and provides medical care for cluster bomb victims there. I created the organization after a truly life changing two week trip to Laos in March 2013.
When I’m not occupied with these activities, I make community videos upon request from the school’s Prefect council and administration, which are screened at all our school assemblies.
Describe how you initiated and led a NextGenVest partnership at your school.
The Dean of Student Affairs at my school learned about NextGenVest and immediately advised me to apply for the NGV Global Summit last May. Fortunately, I was admitted as 1 of 50 global students chosen to go to New York for the Summit. There I received training on how to lead the NextGenVest Club at Harvard Westlake.
During the Summit, it was clear that NextGenVest was a truly different organization. A couple of months after the Summit, my fellow Harvard Westlake classmates and I met with Kelly at WeWork in Hollywood to discuss the initiation of the club on our campus.
I filmed our meeting that day and edited a short piece for Kelly to see. She was very excited to see how this kind of video could be used to promote NextGenVest throughout the world. After that, I was given the title of NextGenVest West Coast Regional Director and was tasked with initiating NextGenVest chapters in California schools. So far, I’ve oriented interested students from Loyola High School, Polytechnic High School, Marymount High School, and the Flintridge Prep School, and have played an important role in making NextGenVest present on those campuses.
I am now a NGV Chief Regional Director, initiating communication and training leaders for all NGV Clubs in the United States.
What are two things you might want to study in college?
I am interested in obtaining a BFA in Film and Television Production through a competitive film school program. Otherwise, I'm interested in film and media studies and the role multimedia has in businesses.
What are two jobs you might be interested in and why?
I’ve wanted to be a film director since I was 7 years old, so that is always at the top of the list. I’m also interested in running my own business, a production company, to lead production of feature motion pictures and documentary films.
In addition, I’d like to create a gathering place for fellow filmmakers and artists in other disciplines to empower them with the utility of their art as a driving force in changing the world.
What did you do this past summer?
My summer started with a documentary production venture to Bolivia. I independently organized this trip and, for two weeks, lived on my own in an orphanage documenting child laborer’s stories. Much like my previous trip to Laos, my time in Bolivia learning from the orphans and living immersed in a new culture changed me.
After Bolivia I attended a 6-day intensive journalism camp called JCamp, which is hosted annually by the Asian American Journalists Association. I was one of forty-two high school students chosen internationally to be a part of this program. I spent those days in Boston at Emerson Collegeworking with industry professionals like MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui who helped me develop an interest in journalism, me coming from the documentary filmmaking background.
My summer ended with some amazing hands-on work with NextGenVest. At every major East Coast city, we met new students and I was responsible for producing club launch videos these students could use to promote their NGV clubs campus-wide through presentations.
Who is your business hero and why?
Jerry Bruckheimer, or “Mr. Blockbuster,” is my business hero. In October, I had the opportunity to meet him at the Goldman Sachs Builders and Innovators Summit for 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.
At the Summit, Bruckheimer was asked, “What is the formula for a successful film? Is there a way to do it?” In Bruckheimer’s response to the question lies the fundamental reason why he is my hero.
He said, “There’s never a formula. You just have to fall in love with the story.” As a filmmaker, I value the importance of storytelling above all else and seeing that Bruckheimer values it just as much made me admire him even more.
How would you describe your "personal brand" in a few words?
Every click of a play button (on Youtube, Vimeo, TV) equals an opportunity to inspire people in the right ways.
What is your favorite part about being a NextGenVest Ambassador?
I have to say; my favorite part is being able to lead a team of driven students in generating educational content and, along the way, building leadership among members in the collaborative community Kelly has created.
What is a quote that you believe represents you?
My best friend wrote to me in a card once, “You ruthlessly pursue your dreams.”