It’s hard not to be impressed by Lu Nan, the 84th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers.

The moment you meet Lu, it’s obvious she’s smart and driven, yet also warm and engaging.

That positive mindset partly comes from Lu’s parents, who taught her that even when times are bad, there are opportunities to be found.

Lu was born in China to a large family – her grandmother had 17 children. Lu moved to Sydney when she was a teenager, spent a few years working in Zurich, and then returned to Australia. 

During her career, Lu has held senior roles in branding, marketing and business development. One reason for her success is her confident, outgoing personality: Lu is a great networker who has made lots of contacts over the years.

Lu might make a strong first impression – but it turns out I make a weak one.

During our discussion, it emerged I’d briefly met Lu several years earlier. In early 2017, I applied for a job. The company invited me in for an interview. Halfway through the interview, the woman introduced me to her boss – who was none other than Lu. 

Lu didn’t bother inviting me in for a second interview.

I forgive you, Lu.