Interview with Jerry Tan


Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, center, joins Northern Mariana Islands Football Association president Jerry Tan, right, and Japan Football Association president Kohzo Tashima for a photo taken before the finals match between Qatar and Japan in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi in February. (Contributed Photos)

This month, Youngstyle resident interviewer Alex Megino talks to TanHoldings president and CEO Jerry Tan. The local businessman is also the president of the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association.

Your family went through a long history with the CNMI. Why the CNMI out of all places?
Our family migrated in 1972 from Hong Kong to Guam, and from there expanded our family business throughout Micronesia, including the CNMI. So that’s how I came to live in and raise my family in Saipan.

Culturally, who are you at heart?
I am of Chinese-descent and still live by Chinese core values that our parents taught us from childhood.
Unlike my siblings who moved back home to Hong Kong 30 years ago, I have lived in Guam and Saipan for more than 40 years, so I also consider myself more of an island boy.

Also talking about one of your recent very valuable projects to local sports, NMISTC (Koblerville soccer pitch), where does your passion for soccer stem from?
I was born in Hong Kong, which used to be a British colony. So, every kid in HK grew up watching English soccer leagues and playing the sport, and it’s still the same today.
I continued playing soccer/football when I moved to Guam during my junior high and high school years. My love for football as a sport continues, and that’s why I want to share the same passion with our youth in the CNMI.

Please name your favorite international team. How about your favorite player, who would it be?
Manchester United. Franz Beckenbauer

If you could choose or buy a talent, what would you wish for?
I will wish to learn or acquire the talent of being “tech-savvy.”

Jerry Tan scans the pitch before making a pass during Shirley’s Football Club’s game against the CNMI Women’s National Team in Division A of the 2019 Fall Men’s M-League at the NMI Soccer Training Center.

Would that talent help you influence the world and how?
I am a Generation X baby, what you may call those who grew up in the “old world.”
But we are now living in the digital age where Millenials use technology with natural ease.
I wish to be tech-savvy because I want to become part of this “new world”—where everything can be transacted “in the cloud” and as quickly as we blink an eye.

If you would choose from two projects, where one is more profitable and less likable and the other is less profitable but more likable, which would you choose? Please explain.
My father taught us siblings that even though we are in business, not everything is about profit or making money. I have learned to value the importance of giving back to our community.
So, I would rather take on a project that is less profitable but more likeable or meaningful.

What do you think is most important in life?
It is most important to help people—acting out of a genuine desire to be generous with my time and resources.

What do you plan to achieve in the future which would excite you and inspire you to go for it?
I plan to continue to do more to support our youth, whether through sports or other development programs that can help them achieve a meaningful life and become good citizens wherever their paths may bring them.

What is your life motto?
Touching People’s Lives

Businessman Jerry Tan poses with Youngstyle resident interviewer Alex Megino.

By ALEX MEGINO, KHS Student, 10th Grade

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