Age is Not an Issue
It is amazing to see that even at a young age, Timothy is already passionate about making a change in the lives of the youth so that they in turn, would be productive members of their communities. In a time where a lot of young people are stagnant, seemingly never caring about what happens on a societal scale, Timothy stands out and proves that there is still hope for our future generations.
Even though he may be deemed “too young” to be involved in such highly complex work, Timothy has already made a significant impact in the political arena of the United States by being actively involved in government activities such as being part of the National Youth Lobby and inspiring millions of youths in the United States to vote, thus being key in the election of Barack Obama as the president of the United States.
Balancing Work, Life and Studies
One of the greatest things about Timothy is how he is able to balance his work, study and social life altogether. He generally describes himself as a balancer, and is proud that he is able to pursue his interests while doing what is proper for his age. In an interview, Timothy talks about the pros of being a balancer by stating:
“The obvious pro of being a balancer is that you really can do it all! You can pursue that passion you’ve always wanted to while studying for a physics exam and keeping in touch with your friends. Why wait for some arbitrary deadline or timetable that someone else has set out for you, when you can start making a difference now?”
Timothy Responds to the Call for Change
Throughout his career in the public service arena, Timothy has always taken great value in being responsive. For him, one of the greatest traits of a leader is to respond to the needs of the people under you. This is what he emphasizes during an interview when he was asked for an advice he would give to someone old that would handle his organization:
“Be responsive. The thing that frustrates our generation more than anything else, I think, is an unresponsive 'institution,' whether it’s a government, a bank, or an employer. When they don’t want to talk to you, that’s when you know you’ve really lost them. The reason why young people don’t vote isn’t because they don’t care—they do quite a bit—it’s because they don’t see the government making a difference.”
Timothy’s Early Life
Timothy Hwang was born to South Korean natives who immigrated to the United States to seek for a better life. He was born in 1992 in the city of East Lansing, Michigan, but sometime after his birth the family moved to Maryland, and so Timothy spent his childhood years in the Potomac.
Even at a young age, Timothy already showed himself apart from other children in terms of intellectual and imaginative abilities by being an outstanding and bright student. He always excelled in class, and early on showed an aptitude for entrepreneurship due to his creative abilities. He was among the top students not only in his class but also in his school, and graduated from elementary with high marks. When he entered the Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, Timothy further developed his analytical and creative skills that even in his freshman year, he already established his own business.
Timothy’s prominence rose during his high school years, where he began to take an active interest in student government as well as being one of the two State Scholars of Maryland, which was the highest level of achievement that a student could receive as recognized by the state’s College Board. During his time in Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, Timothy was among the most influential students in the school, utilizing his influence as a means of helping his fellow students.
Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur
In 2006, when Timothy was only fourteen years old, he founded Operation Fly, Incorporated, a non-profit organization that aimed to reach out to the homeless people and underprivileged students in the inner-city parts of Washington D.C. by conducting events along with other organizations that would provide resources for these people. Under Timothy’s leadership, Operation Fly grew into a national organization and established three branches in New York City, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
The success attained by Operation Fly Inc. resulted in Timothy being given the Ernst and Young Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award at seventeen years old, which was incredibly amazing considering the amount of success that the organization has achieved in a span of three years. Operation Fly became well known for its “Sheets for Streets” program for the homeless and the “Packs for Backs” program for the students. Timothy stayed with Operation Fly for four years, until in 2010, when he passed the leadership to his vice president.
After leaving Operation Fly Inc., Timothy went further with his entrepreneurial career by establishing the Articulance Consulting Group and creating Moochr, an analytics tool he had been working on early in his career. More recently, Timothy was assigned as a part-time executive director for Feed to Read, a charitable foundation that focuses on addressing the issues of education and hunger in Central America. Aside from this, Timothy was also included in the board of several start-up companies.
Timothy’s most recent entrepreneurial endeavour is FiscalNote, a real-time government platform that develops legislative predictive capabilities and enterprise collaboration for government professionals. Since its release, FiscalNote has become very famous amongst government agencies, and even Fortune 500 companies have since utilized this platform for the benefit of their organizations.
Timothy’s Public Service Campaigns
During his high school years, Timothy also became active in advocating several youth related public campaigns, as evidenced by his active participation in the student government as well as organizations outside the school. During the 2008 presidential election season, Timothy not only actively supported Barack Obama by becoming a field organizer but also encouraged his fellow youths to participate in the election so that they could be part of change in their community.
The following year, in 2009, Timothy took another leap forward in his career when he was appointed as a Student Member on the Montgomery County Public Schools’ Board of Education, which was the largest in Maryland and the sixteenth biggest school district in the United States. He was among the outspoken members of the board, and utilized more modern ways of promoting campaigns such as social media. Timothy stated in an interview:
“One of the big untapped things that people hadn't looked at was social media, which helps students become more involved in nitty-gritty local issues. It's very easy for them to debate abortion but more difficult to debate what's happening in their own back yard.”
Becoming One of the Most Influential Youths in the Country
Aside from this, Timothy was hailed as a ‘rising star’ amongst Asian-American politicians for his firm opposition to the 137 million dollar cut to public education funding, something that brought him to the attention of many. But amongst his many famous campaigns such as providing a larger voice for the students in the school system and working out the Youth Slate to leverage youth political power, it was Timothy’s decision to eliminate the policy wherein students would receive a failing grade when they had five unexcused absences that really made him well-known throughout the country.
In just a span of a few years, Timothy has accomplished a lot more for the youths of his community compared to the older politicians who have been sitting for more than five years in office. In 2012, Timothy rose to further prominence by being appointed as the Commissioner for Juvenile Justice by the Montgomery County Council. He was also made a co-chairman of the Cross Pacific Education Initiative, which strengthened the relationships between the United States and Asian countries through the utilization of forums which would enable both parties to exchange ideas in the areas of education policy and practices.
Founding the National Youth Association
But aside from all of the organizations that he worked with, it is Timothy’s founding of the National Youth Association that he is most known for. The National Youth Association is a nationwide organization that aims to not only encourage young Americans to play a part in the political arena of the United States, but to also represent the American youth as a powerful force that can significantly make positive changes in the country. As Timothy describes it in an interview:
“NYA is a 750,000-strong national membership organization that advocates for youth in government, in the corporate world, and in media. NYA strives to provide a high quality of life for youth.”
Under Timothy’s leadership, the NYA has expanded its operations all throughout the country and has established itself as one of the main organizations in the area of youth representation in the United States. Among its most famous programs are the creation of youth Super PACs, youth credit unions, and the famous “Claim Your Future” campaign which was inspired by the bullying of a teenager in Chicago.
Because of his amazing work as a young philanthropist and public servant, Timothy has for numerous times had the opportunity of speaking in various legislatures and worked with several departments (such as the Department of Education and Department of Labor) for the benefit of the youth. Not only this, but Timothy has also been featured by widely-known television networks such as CBS, ABC, and MSNBC and has for many times appeared in their programs to discuss issues regarding youth empowerment, education, and underemployment. In 2013, Timothy announced his resignation from the National Youth Association so he can focus on his newly established platform, FiscalNote.
Timothy Enrols at Princeton
After graduating from Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, Timothy went on to enrol at Princeton University to study at the university’s prestigious Woodrow Wilson School. Currently, he is focusing his work on technological innovation and labor economics, something that he often states is among the most important things that society needs.
Timothy’s life story is an incredible example of how even a young person can significantly incite change in his or her society. The important thing is to have a heart of service, and to always never allow your limitations to tell you what you can or cannot do.
“I can’t pinpoint a defining moment, it was more of a gradual change, but after my term I walked out with a belief in the power and potential of the individual—that any individual, given the right education/skills and resources, would be able to innovate and improve our society. And so a lot of my decisions and life work in the future will hopefully allow me to do that.”
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- National Youth Association
- Montgomery County Board of Education
- Youth Slate
- Campaign for Our Future
- Cross Pacific Education Initiative
- Jumpstart Maryland
- Montgomery County Commission on Juvenile Justice
Awards and Achievements
- 2009: Included in the Tomorrow25 list of TIME Magazine
- 2009: Included in the Tomorrow25 list of Bentley University
- 2009: Named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young
- 2009: Elected on the Board of Education of Montgomery County Public Schools
- 2010: Appointed as Commissioner for the Commission for Juvenile Justice by the Montgomery County Council
Wikipedia (Timothy Hwang)
TimothyHwang.com (About Timothy Hwang)
The Washington Post (With social media, student school board members exercise influence)
KAmerican Post (Tim Hwang – Changing Things Up)
Forbes (Meet The New "Balancers" -- The College Students Who Figured Out How To Do It All)