Sharon Hwang’s family has worked on the development of the Chinatown District in Las Vegas since they arrived in Las Vegas in the 1990s. Her father, Henry Hwang, was one of three founders Chinatown Plaza, which opened in 1995, and the family continues to manage the themed plaza today.
Sharon, who graduated from UNLV in 1999 with a degree in business administration, serves an vice president of the JHK Investment Group and Chinatown Plaza. Sharon is a panelist for “A Woman’s Place Is…”, part of the Building Las Vegas Summer Speaker Series from the University Libraries Special Collections and Archives. The event will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3 at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St., Las Vegas. RSVP here. The panel will also include Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, Jen Lewis, and Laura Jane Spina.
Sharon shares with us her insights on the development of Chinatown and it’s unique place in Las Vegas.
What has been the unique role that Chinatown has played in the development of Las Vegas and how will it be important to the future development of the city?
Chinatown provides authentic Chinese and other Asian culture in one concentrated and central area in Las Vegas. It has brought and will continue to bring residents and tourists to Las Vegas because of its colorful background and amazing cuisines. Chinatown represents different dynamics and provides another wonderful addition to the already very diversified city of Las Vegas.
What has been your favorite project to be involved with in developing Las Vegas?
I would have to say "Chinatown Plaza". Even though I was not fully involved because I was too young, I remember frequently coming to the center when it was being built, and I would see some residents looking around and ask about the project. They were so excited, and most of them would say, "This is so exciting!" or "Thank you! We need this in Vegas!" I remember feeling very proud of my father and excited.
How does the Chinatown Plaza engage the local community in Asian culture?
Chinatown Plaza is very involved in the local community. It has been the host of the annual "Chinese New Year Celebration" for 23 years. The event is the oldest, most popular, and most authentic in Las Vegas that celebrates Chinese New Year with both local residents and visitors from neighboring states. It is a big festival that brings thousands of people together.
Who had the greatest influence on you in your career and why?
My father. I have always admired his innovative thinking, business vision and strong work ethics since I was young. He always tells me to be bold, be creative, work hard and be responsible. It has helped me tremendously in my career and shaped me the business person I am today.
Why do you think UNLV University Libraries efforts to preserve the work of the people who built Las Vegas is important?
The Building Las Vegas project is absolutely important because it preserves Las Vegas history and gives everyone a chance to learn about the people that built this city on a business and personal level.
What advice would you offer to young women getting started in their careers?
The advice I would offer to young women getting started in their career is: Be confident in yourself and be firm about what you believe in.
The Building Las Vegas Summer Speaker Series is sponsored by the UNLV University Libraries, AIA Las Vegas, UNLV Downtown Design Center, and Southern Glazer’s Spirits and Wine.