In the middle of a global pandemic, it would be understandable to take your foot off the accelerator and press pause on your goals. But Jaffly Chen, an alum of four of SSE’s units and student at UNSW, has done the opposite.
We caught up with him to see how he’s helping in the fight against COVID-19 and how he’s applying what he learned at SSE in these uncertain times.
Hi Jaffly, how did you initially discover SSE and what made you interested in entrepreneurship?
I remember seeing SSE for the first time on Facebook being advertised as this cool, new, innovative program that was helping bring together really quite talented people to learn and grow. I was also referred by a friend who had completed the original Navigator program and it really shows how important it can be to build good networks so that you're in the loop for opportunities such as SSE!
Where are you currently working and what are you currently working on?
By day, I work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as Clinical Director of the Tamworth Respiratory Clinic. By night, I'm a consultant for the Australian Digital Health Agency, an incoming Schwarzman Scholar at the prestigious Tsinghua University, and was just recently also running my social enterprise LyfVR which uses virtual reality technology to tackle loneliness and depression in nursing homes.
Jaffly Chen SSE alum and UNSW student
SSE was incredible not only because of what I learnt, but who I met and who I learnt it all from.
How are you applying what you learned at SSE in your current activities/ventures?
I've completed every course that SSE has offered and each one has certainly added a new perspective to the work I'm doing. Whether it be running a startup such as LyfVR, or working in more established organisations such as hospitals, there's always an opportunity to apply something new you've learnt.
For example, Ideation was crucial for conceptualising LyfVR and ensuring that I was meeting a need in the community, whilst Activation helped me gather the necessary buy-in and support I needed to succeed as an intrapreneur, especially as the COVID pandemic started and we in the healthcare space needed to adapt rapidly.
Any other notable achievements in the past year or so that you’d be keen to share?
The past year has been an absolute whirlwind! Apart from being accepted as a Schwarzman Scholar and finishing my medical internship, I've also been able to leverage the SSE experience to go abroad and tackle opportunities such as the joint MIT/Harvard Healthcare Innovation Bootcamp.
Really though, I'm just extremely proud to be able to contribute to the COVID-19 effort in some way and help keep the community just a little safer with our testing and public health surveillance!
Reflecting on the SSE experience, what were the biggest lessons you’ve taken from your time with us?
SSE was incredible not only because of what I learnt, but who I met and who I learnt it all from. It's truly about the people, and I have certainly made some incredible friends along the way! There's such a diversity of opinion, background, skills, and ideas that no conversation ever becomes stale, and it has all definitely illustrated for me that I cannot succeed as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur without understanding how to work with people, especially those who might not completely agree with my ideas!