Strong Connections unfolds as Wang’s journey of discovery, from the “light-bulb moment” in a game preserve when a Maasai man pulled a cell phone from his traditional clothing, to becoming the global director of digital financial services for Opportunity International, a Christian ecumenical nonprofit. She details trips to Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania, as well as several rural states in India, during a period when mobile phone usage had reached even far off-the-grid rural communities. How could global connectivity be tapped to help women living with both economic hardship and gender discrimination? Wang’s brand of advocacy is clear-eyed and action-oriented, chipping away at entrenched, exclusionary systems with financial solutions that address both individual needs and the greater good.
Tech and business readers will gain insights into client-based principles of problem-solving, and readers looking for a meaningful career change will find inspiration in Wang’s challenging and rewarding shift to microfinance. Her descriptions of growing up in Meridian, Mississippi, as the child of Taiwanese immigrants could be the basis of an intriguing follow-up memoir, which could further illuminate Wang’s paradoxical sensibility, equal parts tough resolve and active kindness. Strong Connections adds the warmth of humanity to the cold calculations of technology, and champions the intrinsic value of women helping other women with equanimity, compassion and respect.
Takeaway: Both an inspiring personal journey and history of financial innovation and bolstering the autonomy of women around the world.
Great for fans of: Mary Ellen Iskenderian’s There’s Nothing Micro About a Billion Women, Alana Karen’s The Adventures of Women in Tech, and Malene Rix’s Negotiating with Yourself.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B