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Fireside Chat: Women's Leadership

Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong

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Fireside Chat: Women Leadership was held on November 30, 2016 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong.
It is the first Podium R.E.D. event launched by HER World Women Forum. Designed for women, Podium R.E.D. embodies the spirit of “reconnecting with other women, embracing our inner female self and discovering our potential.”

Panel I
Women Entrepreneurship

Eva Law
Founder of the Association of Private Bankers in Greater China Region

Founder of the Association of Family Offices in Asia

Chingmy Lam
Chairwoman of Chingmie Group

Bowie Lam
Associate Director & Responsible Officer of InvestPort

Henry Lee
Executive Director of Man Group

Eva Law believes she has very strong DNA of an entrepreneur, and founded the Association of Private Bankers in Greater China eight years ago. She noted the importance of support from experts and professionals from very different backgrounds, which she gained by establishing constructional cooperative relationships and motivating them.
Take away: “When problems occur, concentrate on solutions. Focus energy in a way that can make things happen, and try to think more positively.”
Chingmy Lam, who took over her family Thai restaurant business five years ago and tripled profits, ascribed it to persistence as well as flexibility to change. She convinced veteran staff, who initially refused to change the old recipes, to adapt.
Take away: “After opening the second restaurant, I believe I can open more and more. I am very confident. I keep thinking I can win, proving I as a woman can do everything others can.”
Bowie Lam firmly believes that nothing is impossible – she builds herself up by conquering tests and licenses one by one, which allows her to work on all kinds of investment products in Hong Kong.
Take away: “I don’t treat my clients like clients. I treat all of them like my friends and family. I always see it as a good chance to just get together and make friends. Later on we talk about more topics and they ask me if we can collaborate on projects. I never requested.”

Panel II
Women Leadership Trends and Evolvement Across Industries

Angela Spaxman
Executive Coach and Entrepreneur

Gina Marchetti
Professor of the University of Hong Kong
Focus areas: Film, gender and sexuality, critical theory and cultural studies

Louisa Wei
Associate Professor of the City University of Hong Kong, Filmmaker & Producer

Cecilia Lui
Founder & Director of ILIA Connect

Angela Spaxman pointed out that women today are experiencing the third age of feminism - they can choose between staying at home and joining the workplace. In the first age, women did not have the option to work so they all stayed at home; in the second age women who went to work had to pretend like men and dress like men in order to accomplish.
She noted that more feminine type of skills, for example more listening, sympathy and collaboration, are crucial in the corporate world today. She tries to help both men and women to bring out more of these skills to convert for a better workplace.
Take away: “A lot of women in Hong Kong work very long hours and they take primary responsibility for their family as well. This makes me sad because it is not necessary. By putting in more hours, it means that you sacrifice your life, and that you are not as smart. You are most creative when you are most relaxed – having a walk on Sunday, taking a long shower, etc. You should allow yourself to have a life. I get the pressure, but I encourage everyone to get out of rat race.”
Gina Marchetti traced the evolution of Hong Kong women filmmakers in the male-dominated world of cinema, and noted the importance of networking among women. Women should not just look for male mentors or the person who brings them into business like a father, but also look for female mentors who they can turn to and depend on.
Take away: “My advice is to look at the people in the room and figure out who are my female colleagues that I can work with and who I can turn to when I have troubles, when I am struggling and the industry is against me.”
Louisa Wei stressed it is important to be a lifelong learner, find true passion, cross board and stay optimistic. She mentioned her mother is a good influence, who learned English at 49, computer at 50 and today in her 70s still does coding for her own website. She herself switched to different majors in school. Louisa did in-depth research into Esther Eng who set example for daring to pursue one’s dream.
Take away: “Learning is up to that person, not to age, gender or whatever. If you find your goal, just focus and do it, never mind what other people say because you have so much fun doing the things you like already.”
Audience take-away
More than 30 experienced women leaders, managers, entrepreneurs, and rising women leaders from banking, wealth management, executive coaching, academic, art and entertainment, association, and luxury brands gathered to discuss professional development and share insights on how to become influential women leaders.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the event. It was totally inspiring. It’s just so nice to meet so many women who are not only successful but incredibly down to earth and humble.”

--Saadia Usmani

“Everyone of you is a champion as a woman, with women and for women. Today's gathering is meaningful, if not for the diversity, then for the quality and the level of enthusiasm, it is truly mind opening, a female mind opening. Our journey as women in a 21st century Asia is just beginning and my hopes are that all of us work as sisters to forge a new century for females.”

Charlotte Wang

Watch an event highlight video on Youtube. [link]

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