Bronto Talent: Meet Bilingual Bryce Roberts

Cain Twyman, Marketing Intern

Cain Twyman, Marketing Intern

Bryce Roberts manages the marketing department’s demand generation team, which works hard to bring in new qualified leads from around the globe and deliver them to our sales team. While that keeps him busy, he still finds time to coordinate regular Taco Tuesday outings!

He’s been at Bronto for more than a year now and prides himself on his Bronto spirit. During this year’s Spirit Week, he went all out, especially on Dress to Unimpress Day!

I recently discovered that Bryce is fluent in Mandarin and lived in China for nearly a decade. As someone who’s terrible at learning new languages, I was excited to sit down with him and see how he did it.

How did you learn to speak Mandarin?

I started with college classes and majored in Asian Studies. I studied abroad several times and eventually moved to China. I lived there for seven years – five in Suzhou and two in Shanghai.

Why did you live in China?

I went for the excitement of a new culture and language, but I stayed for the daily happy hour specials.

What do you miss most about living there?

2005-2010 was an especially exciting time to be there. China was open but hadn’t developed a lot of the industries and entertainment we take for granted. I miss the sense of adventure, the novelty of it all and the friends I experienced that with. 

While there, I co-managed and DJ’d at a bar and wrote for the local newspaper and some magazines. My roommate formed the first comedy club in China. We were sort of like the “lost boys,” doing whatever we liked because it hadn’t been done before!

Let’s talk about food! What was your favorite dish?

The food is incredible and amazingly diverse. Sichuan (Szechuan) dry pot with bullfrog, found at WaWaJiao – cry of the bullfrog, is my favorite. It has the spices that make your mouth numb!

South Beauty has some of the most amazingly decorated spaces I’ve eaten in – both in Beijing and Shanghai.

Did you learn how to cook any dishes?

Sadly, I didn’t take the opportunity to become an expert chef. But I got married while I lived there, and my wife is an amazing cook, including “western” recipes like Chicken Cordon Bleu.

I stick to meal prep, wrapping dozens of dumplings for Chinese New Year and washing the dishes.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from living in China?

Living in China taught me a lot about entrepreneurship and competition. With such a huge population, everything is competitive. And people are very resourceful and entrepreneurial regarding just about everything. I think those are good skills to apply to work and family life – to make the most of what you have.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

There are so many great experiences like the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an. And my wife and I went to Bali for our honeymoon.

I had a very characteristically Chinese vacation to little-known Panzhihua, a coal-mining city in the headwaters of the Yangtze river. I was in a raft with three people who couldn’t even swim, going down Class IV rapids. The local guide who set it up was a kayaking enthusiast and the captain of the city’s SWAT team. The key in China was who you knew. That always dictated the type of experience you were going to have as a visitor in their homeland.

What is one wild adventure you had while traveling?

My English friend Ed used to work as a scuba instructor in Thailand. He suggested we go to Phuket for the weeklong May Day holiday. I got more than I bargained for as we raced mopeds by afternoon and mixed Red Bull with Sang Som whiskey by late night (early morning). At a bar, we randomly sat next to Ed’s childhood classmate on leave from his Army unit – the world is such a small place!

Name three things on your bucket list.

  1. Visit the Pyramids.
  2. Read “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu all the way through in Chinese.
  3. Rebuild/restore an old sports car. Hopefully, my daughter will want to help.

Tell me one thing people might not know about you.

When my reliable Camry died, I decided to have my mid-life crisis four years early and get a manual V8 Mustang Convertible. I think the team likes our Taco Tuesdays a lot more because of it!

 

Bryce uses the lessons he learned in China, and from his favorite book, “The Great Gatsby,” to bring passion to his work, his family and the future. While he may not have as many wild adventures, he still enjoys traveling with his family. And even though Bryce doesn’t use his Mandarin at work every day, he still gets to share a little of his talent here while speaking with students from Duke University’s TIP program who visit the office.

 

Interested in working for a company full of such talented people? Join Us