John Yung

What made you decide to come to work for Dark Horse?

I know so many people here from previous positions, including Ryan [Chavez, CFO] and Sheryl [Andersen, Senior Controller] so when the chance came to work with them again it was a no-brainer. Being with this group was the happiest I’ve been in my work life so I definitely wanted to get that magic back!

And you’re an accountant by trade – how did you find that specialty?

I actually majored in Japanese in college and had a minor in Finance. I got hired somewhere where I worked with accounting so I figured, hey, let’s add that to the list of degrees!

How would you describe the culture at Dark Horse?

It’s very much what I was expecting due to my previous experience with members of this team. We’re flexible, the work we need to complete is clear-cut and satisfying, and everyone here is trusted to get the job done. We’re just all grown-ups, you know?, and so we do our jobs and do it well and we also make time to enjoy our lives outside of work.

Even though you’re not coming at it from the science side, do you have an opinion on the field of cell and gene therapy?

It’s so up-and-coming, isn’t it? It has been for a while but it’s moving even faster now. What can be done with this level of scientific innovation is nothing short of incredible…it’s like we’re all working in the future! Making a difference in people’s lives absolutely adds to the satisfaction of the job.

OK, we’ve heard you have an unusual hobby: tell us about it!

This is probably not going to be a surprise given my finance background but…I collect credit card points and miles. I work at maximizing their potential, maximizing every opportunity I run across. It’s surprising to me that not everyone does this, actually, because once you’ve sort of cracked the code it just becomes second nature and then you get to reap the rewards. I also love helping friends and colleagues learn the (not-so-)secrets of successful collecting.

What are some examples of those rewards?

The best part of the collecting is using what I’ve gathered to allow me to travel the world and to do so as inexpensively as possible. Travel plays a defining role in my life. I always fly first-class: when I use vacation time, I really, really use it! Plus, I’m 6’4”: first-class is definitely more comfortable for someone my height!

I mean, I’ve taken a shower on a plane before (Emirates, if you’re curious about an airline where that’s a possibility) and that’s the sort of wild thing you can’t do unless you’re either incredibly well-off or a really, really good points saver like me.

What’s a recent example of one of your adventures?

Well, once I went to Nepal and hiked to the Everest base camp, which is surprisingly manageable if you pick one of the slower tours! More recently, I went to the Maldives for a two-week vacation on a bungalow out over the water (see above for pictures!) and the flight, the first-class accommodations, everything….you don’t even want to know how little it cost me! It was a dream trip that I was able to accomplish due to the money I saved with my hobby, so you can see why I’m passionate about this.

What was your last trip before the pandemic hit?

Well, in 2019 I went on many international trips: the Maldives as mentioned, but also Korea, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India…so you could say I also maximized my pre-pandemic experience. Of course, at that time, none of us knew how memorable our 2019 experiences would be, looking back. I even snuck in one international trip in early 2020: Japan. My proudest moment was filling my passport up completely three years before its expiration date. Pro tip: those last two pages at the back of your passport may look blank, but they’re not for stamping. I discovered that the hard way. Once you’ve filled in all the previous pages, it’s time to get a new passport!

Since you’re so used to traveling, how did you cope with being stuck at home during the pandemic?

Well, I hope I’m able to go somewhere in 2021 because otherwise I’ll break my ten-year streak of traveling internationally at least once per year. But the coping hasn’t been as challenging as you would think, because I was able to really focus on maximizing and saving those points. The unexpected upside about saving points without being able to use them is that you sure collect a lot during that time! So, basically, I dreamed of the future, which is kind of a fun hobby in and of itself. When things open up my plan is to take a trip literally around the world, and this pandemic period has allowed me the opportunity to save for that adventure.

Do you have a dream destination you haven’t achieved yet (other than the around-the-world goal)?

I’d love to go on safari in Africa! That’s definitely a bucket list item for me.

bungalow and underground restaurant in the Maldives from one of John Yung's vacations

The top photo shows us John’s bungalow on the water from his Maldives vacation. Let’s all close our eyes and pretend we’re there now, shall we? John’s practically free Maldives vacation also included eating at this underwater restaurant…not for the claustrophobic among us!

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