• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: “Don’t follow your dreams, lead them”

May 12, 2019

Editor's note: What began in high school as a hobby combining poetry and music soon became a passion for Alexander Ou. He now uses that platform to convey important messages. Alexander, who works in Mayo Clinic's Department of Human Resources by day and is a hip-hop artist by night, shares his story of overcoming criticism for pursuing his passion and staying committed to his goals. His commitment extends not only to his music, but also to his career at Mayo Clinic. 

By Alexander Ou

I am a Cambodian American hip-hop artist born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota. I am a father of four — three sons and one daughter. I started creating music when I was 14 and have done so for the last 17 years.

I lived in Bloomington, Minnesota, for a few years because it was closer to the airport. I was traveling almost every weekend for shows throughout the country and sometimes even overseas.

When I had my third child, I decided to move back to Rochester. I needed more of a steady income to support my family. I found a position at Charter House that I enjoyed and that was flexible with my schedule.

At the annual high school career festival that Mayo Clinic hosts, I was asked to represent Charter House at our booth. During the festival, I was approached by students familiar with my music. I took this opportunity to inform them about Charter House and the positions available. This led to a number of new hires at Charter House.

At the following year's festival, we had a representative from Mayo Clinic Human Resources assist with on-site applications. Similar to the previous year, I was approached by students, and I pitched Charter House's opportunities. Our Human Resources representative noticed this, and she informed me that there was an opening in Human Resources for a limited-tenure position as an administrative assistant. I took the position. A year or so later, a full-time position opened. Now here I am as a full-time Human Resources coordinator.

"We all have dreams, but none of them becomes reality until you wake up and take it into your own hands." Alexander Ou

As for my hip-hop career, I originally started writing poetry when I was 13 years old. The very first poem I wrote was called "Day 911" and was written on Sept. 11, 2001, about the terrorist attacks. I showed a friend, and she showed it to our teacher. This caused a snowball effect. Read the rest of the story.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.