We had the good fortune of connecting with Lily Zhou and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lily, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My experience in both the restaurant business and corporate communications fueled my interest in starting my own personal tax preparation service. My personal philosophy that research, knowledge and implementation of a proven strategy are critical to success are the foundation of my business. Rather than just being concerned that my children and our community were not receiving the most current advice, I expanded my skill and proficiency by completing the Stanford University tax preparation course. Homelessness is a growing crisis throughout San Diego County. Along with my colleagues dedicated to public service, we are committed to assisting the homeless population gain self-sufficiency and return to full citizenship in our community. In response to the alarming rate of suicide among our military veterans, I authored a guide to assist them in the struggle to overcome stress-related and emotional illness. I will be a candidate for city council in 2024 with my pledge to “Lily Get Things Done.”
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Helping others to thrive in life since 2009. I am a licensed real estate broker and life insurance agent. I created theZmedia Inc. in 2009 to combine use my businesses income to inspire youth to be a great future leader or entrepreneur. As a proud immigrant I understand the challenges that young people face as they work to be successful in a very challenging international business world. To that end, I founded the Global Culture Fashion Award. Our first award winner was a 24-year-old single-mother from Equatorial Guinea. She used her $10,000 award to purchase a sewing machine and fund her brother’s education. It is this same passion to assist those striving to succeed that was the inspiration by our homeless outreach program. Helping others help themselves knows no international borders
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First Day: I would treat my guests to a daytime tour of La Jolla, beginning at the La Jolla Cove. What a peaceful scene: The pleasant sound of the breaking waves, with sea gulls and native birds flying silently above as the mother seals guard their playful pups scampering from the ocean to the beach. After a day of delightful activity in the fresh air and sunshine we would wander on Prospect Street and randomly select a restaurant for a meal and spontaneous discussion of our La Jolla adventure. Second Day: Enjoying the attractions that San Diego offers must include a visit to Balboa Park, the site of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915 and the California-Pacific International Exposition in 1935. From both of the events were built charming Spanish Revival-style buildings that are as pleasing as they are historic. Scattered throughout the 1,200 acre grounds are 18 museums and 17 gardens, including the glorious Lily Pond. Third Day: Tourists and locals alike celebrate the grandness of Coronado Island, from the sweeping Coronado Bridge, winner of the World Bridge Beauty Contest in 1978, to the iconic Hotel del Coronado. A day here is a delightful mix of natural beauty and California “casual luxury.” Built in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado is the second largest wooden structure in the country. Legend has it that Edward, Prince of Wales was being honored at a banquet in the Crown Room where he met Wallis Simpson, his future wife. The Hotel del Coronado was also the on-location scene of the 1959 hit film, “Some Like it Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Fourth Day: The “Black’s Beach Adventure” requires a 20-minute hike down over 500 steps to your reward: a stunning sandy beach isolated from the sounds of civilization. With glider planes and sky kite riders sweeping silently above, Black’s Beach is a wonder. Overlooking the beach is the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine. Today early 900 researchers concentrate on discovering breakthroughs in molecular biology, genetics and neurosciences. Designed by famed architect Louis Kahn, the Salk Institute is considered a classic example of 1960s ultra-modern design. Fifth Day: The welcome sign announces the Old Town San Diego Historic State Park as the “Birthplace of California.” Founded in 1769 as the first Spanish settlement in the region, Old Town attracts international visitors who enjoy the restored original buildings, the lush landscape and a year-round “fiesta atmosphere.” Viva Old Town! Sixth Day: Sea World has attracted over 130 million visitors since its opening in 1964. From the eye-popping shows featuring dolphins, orca whales, sea lions and assorted penguins and other delightful creatures to the park’s world-class animal rescue project, Sea World offers a full day of entertainment for all ages. Last Day: You’ll have just enough energy to complete your San Diego Fun Tour with a half day at the world class Zoo and the second half at its companion, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the San Pasqual Valley. Both the Zoo and Safari Park are renowned for their protection of endangered species from Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and North and South America. The Safari Park, in particular, features “free-range enclosures,” permitting animals like antelope, giraffes, buffalo, colorful giant cranes and rhinoceros to roam in their natural environment. The park’s California Condor breeding program is the most productive and successful one of its kind in the United States. My advice to all: “Love San Diego!”
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate my “Shout out” to our courageous military veterans, such as Javier Castro, one of the heroic survivors of the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993. The dramatic rescue mission was both celebrated in the best-selling book and the blockbuster movie hit, “Black Hawk Down.” As we are all aware, many combat veterans suffer form severe, and often untreated, depression and emotional and psychological trauma. Three of Javier Castro’s fellow soldiers took their own lives after the conclusion of their military careers. In tribute to them and many of their comrades who were victims of suicide, I dedicated my book: “Life After War: Journey to Thrive.”