Meet Debbie Lum, she is a mother, a wife, a book formatter for self-publishing authors, an Integrative Manual therapist and a business mindset coach for women. She enjoys spending her time with her family, building Lego Creator Expert collectable Modular Houses, occasionally binge watching Netflix and seeing beautiful sunsets.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband, Steven and I met at the church youth group when he was a high school senior and I was a college junior so we’ve been together for a really long time—45 years; married 38 years! 🙂 We have a son, Brandon who works as a 3D animator/video editor in the Health industry.
Q: Please tell us about your current career. What do you love most about what you do?
Since COVID-19, I had to pivot from being an Integrative Manual Therapist using in-person manual hands-on energy techniques to more virtual techniques. With my 2 business degrees, corporate experience in accounting, programming and team leadership along with my small business ownerships and certified coaching with energy healing techniques, I decided to transition into being a virtual business mindset coach for women. I’ve been informally coaching for years, so why not make it my new business?
As a business mindset coach for women, I really enjoy helping others be proactive in their lives—to get past the self-talk of “ I can’t do this. I’m not good enough.” or “What will people say if I fail?” or “I’ve tried everything I know but I’m not getting anywhere.” As a mindset coach, I would help you see yourself and your situation from another perspective so you would be able to get around these “hidden” challenges and get the results you want in your life and business. It’s a journey that I personally overcame in my corporate career and as a solopreneur. Seeing the transitions of clarity, motivation and freedom you get when guided by a coach is so rewarding and fun to me.
Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
Our favorite restaurants in Ramsey are:
- Tawara’s Japanese Restaurant
- La Gondola Pizzeria
- Ramsey Chinese Restaurant (takeout)
- Sal’s Pizza Corner
Our favorite restaurants in Mahwah
Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
Steven and I are originally from the New York City Chinatown area. In 1981, I moved out of the city to Pearl River, NY when I left my corporate accounting job at International Paper and changed my career to be a programmer at IBM in Franklin Lakes, NJ. IBM had divisional headquarters in Franklin Lakes and Montvale at the time. Montvale was full of orchards and had 3 major produce farms. Trees lined the roads and there was only 1 traffic light between the 2 towns. We often had meetings between the 2 sites and the route we commonly used went through the town of Ramsey. Being from the city, I found it quaint and serene. In 1982, Steven & I got married. In 1986, we decided to move to Ramsey because:
- Steven wanted to live in a town that had its own High School so you can vote on the school budget and have influence on the town’s school system.
- Steven liked the fact that Ramsey had its own train station with parking—commutable to NYC—lower-mid Manhattan on the west-side
- We wanted to live in a multi-cultural and multi-socio-economic town
- We liked that Ramsey had a “center” of town
- We wanted to live in a town where there was an excellent school system
We bought a garden apartment at Regency Park in 1986 and then moved to a house in Ramsey in 2001.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
I honestly can’t say any one person stands out as almost everyone in Ramsey and Mahwah have been welcoming and kind. With both Ramsey and Mahwah having apartments and million dollar houses with people from all ethnic backgrounds, there will always be people you feel “community” with.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Steven and I were going to go to Disney World to celebrate our 60th and 65th birthday this past April when COVID-19 ended travel around March.
Q:What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
I enjoy the music and choreography in Hamilton. It must be awesome to see the play in person. As far as TV Shows go, I like American Ninja Warrior. It is such a positive show that you can watch and cheer on with your kids. There is sportsmanship, camaraderie and wonderful stories of overcoming adversity. The competition is to self-improve and beat the challenging obstacles, and not against each other.
Q: What advice would you give to people?
My Dad died suddenly at 42 when I was 15 so I never got to tell him what he meant to me. I remember him stopping his accounting work every night so he could play table-top rod hockey with me. He was so proud of the 1-time he actually beat me fair and square. 🙂 I would say to people, “Tell those who are important to you, how much they mean to you whenever you can. Life is short and you never know if you’ll get that opportunity again.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
I don’t really have a bucket list other than I would like to retire comfortably with my husband and as all moms dream, is for my son to be happily married. Lol.
Q: What is your go to band when you can’t decide what to listen to?
I like the Beach Boys and America.
Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
A current local business that I will always fondly remember is the ShopRite of Ramsey. Whenever the Ramey Schools, local churches, etc. were having an event or fund-raiser and we’d ask ShopRite of Ramsey for food, supplies or support, they would provide it to us. They are amazingly generous to our town. Brandon’s first job was at ShopRite of Ramsey and he couldn’t have had a better working experience. ShopRite of Ramsey hires the Ramsey High School students as cashiers and is flexible with their high school schedules even when they are heavily involved in school sports activities.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
There are 3 things I love about our community:
- Location: Within an hour you can go to NYC for its cultural arts/job opportunities or head north to ski/see the open countryside, etc. Within 2 hours south, there are loads of NJ beaches. It’s the best location to find whatever you like to do.
- Multi-cultural/Multi-socio-economic location: The Ramsey public school system was wonderful in making sure that all of the kids felt included and part of the community. The same is true with the adults. When volunteering at the school, I never knew who was more affluent living in a million dollar house or who was living in an apartment complex like me. Everyone was polite, kind and just wanted to help the kids have fun and an excellent education.
- Family-oriented town: There are so many sports and special activities that the children can enjoy with their parents from Ramsey Day with a parade and rides to having live DJ music while rollerblading at night in the Finch Park Parking lot. For the adults we have many events like Ramsey Farmers Market, Taste of Ramsey and Home for the Holidays. Finding a house in Ramsey can sometimes be difficult because those who grew up here and then left for college or a job, want to come back when they have children. I’ve heard of some families moving to another town while they wait to find a house in Ramsey.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
Family is always first, so Steven and I will always be commutable to wherever Brandon is. If grandchildren come along, we’ll be sure to help out when needed. I can never see myself idle at home so I will continue to coach, format books and volunteer to keep myself busy.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
My husband and I knew that we were meant to be together 9 months after hanging around as friends.
Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
In the late 1960’s, my family went to Hawaii. Being from NYC, we couldn’t believe how warm, clear and blue the water was. Walking on the beach in the sand from one hotel to another was fun. Sunsets were incredible.
Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? And best single day on the calendar?
My favorite time of the year is when the autumn leaves turn color. The maple leaves are so beautiful as they turn from green to orange and yellow. My favorite holiday is Christmas because that is the day Jesus and my son are born.
Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
Tawara’s New Year’s Eve Dinner. For an hour and a half you enjoy an all-you-can eat sushi bar/appetizer/dessert and a choice of a main course from a mini-menu. It’s a celebration that my family will not miss! We always waddle home after the meal.
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My Mom, Dad and my son. My Mom was a widow at 42 and had to re-train herself to go back into the job market. She had a high moral ethic and taught us how a mom could be our Mom first and best friend second. She always listened to what we had to say before making a decision that we had to obey. She always put her family first. When my Mom and Dad argued, they always made up—hugging and laughing. My Dad taught me not to cheat, work hard to excel at what you do and no matter how busy you are, take time out for your family. I remember the one time I tried to cheat by looking at the bottom of the deck of cards, he wouldn’t play with me for 2 weeks because he said he didn’t play with cheaters. I missed playing table-top rod hockey with him and it only took me that one time to learn that I wasn’t going to cheat again. I’ve always thought of our children as absorbent sponges who pick up more of what we do than what we say. With that in mind, I try to make sure neither my husband nor I do things that I wouldn’t want Brandon to do. For example, when Brandon was a toddler, Steven was going to pass me a clean sock from the laundry by throwing it to me. I told him not to do it because Brandon wouldn’t be able to know the difference between a sock and a hard ball. I didn’t want Brandon to be throwing things around the house so we didn’t either. It has definitely made sure that we are on our best behavior at all times. 🙂
Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
My Mom used to bake an unbelievable apple pie from scratch. Members in the family used to request it for our family gatherings. The sweet smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and apples baking in the oven was something I looked forward to during the holidays.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the work HOME?
family, comfort, refuge
Q: Finally, what’s the best way for someone to contact you if they were interested in knowing more about one of your services?
The best way would be by email: