Hong Kong Living Influencer Awards 2020

Page 1



Index PAGE Yoona Min



Amanda Li

Wil Fang



Graham Uden

Lindsay Varty



Brenda Wilson

Vincent Fong



Rebecca Ting

Andy Cornish



Tom Mak

Dimple Yuen



Tracy Ho

Ankie Beilke



Julianna Yau

Letao Wang



Renée Boey

Sunaina Chand



Anna Chan

Justin Cheung



Vincent Tsui

Alice Wong



Angela Cheung

Utah Lee



Tayma Page Allies

Alice Han



Joyce Lau

Moonie Chu



Davinia Tang

Florence Kong



Ellie Bradley

David Pope



Gary Cai

Dee Oh



Ken Fung

Anita Shum



Grace Siu

Rick Woo



Damien Mouellic



Tanya Pakhomova

Maël Vastine



Yeone Fok

Birgit Wahlhaeuser



Austy Lee

Kaye Dong



Yin Lee Chan

Aster Chan



Tom Andrews

Elaine Shiu



Gabrielle Kirstein

Catherina Boh

Editor’s Note We could all use a bit of inspiration in our lives right now. In what may seem like the toughest year yet, I believe there’s no better time to celebrate the people of Hong Kong who have continued to navigate their way through the many bumps in the road. Despite the ongoing pandemic, Hong Kong is doing what it does best. Getting on with business. So much so that it was difficult to choose just 50 people to feature in this year’s inspiring line up. Truth be told, we should all be celebrated for the challenges we have had to overcome. But these 50 influencers have earned their titles, showing us that hard work, dedication and a whole lot of passion can really make a difference.

Editorial Editor-in-chief Nicole Slater, nicole@hongkongliving.com

From entrepreneurs adapting their business strategies, to charity founders keeping Hong Kong’s underprivileged fed, everyone is doing their part to keep Hong Kong the vibrant and diverse city we know and love. I hope the following pages will inspire you to keep going with your journey and create a life to be proud of. As Dee Oh, founder of Dee Dream Life puts it: “Where there is adversity, there is opportunity, if we train our minds to look for the light in every unexpected situation.” Well said.

Senior Staff Writer Charmaine Ng, charmaineng@hongkongliving.com Contributing Editors Melanie Cox, melainie@hongkongliving.com Gemma Shaw, gemma@hongkongliving.com Digital Editor Apple Lee, apple@hongkongliving.com

Design Graphic Designer Vicky Lam, vicky@hongkongliving.com Yankee Tsang, yankee@hongkongliving.com

Sales & Marketing Director of Content Hilda Chan, hilda@hongkongliving.com Head of Digital Content Isamonia Chui, isamonia@hongkongliving.com Partnership Manager Chrissie Ip, chrissie@hongkongliving.com Elaine Li, elaine@hongkongliving.com Circulation Manager Pranali Gupta, pranali@hongkongliving.com


Matt Eaton, matt@hongkongliving.com

Nicole Slater, Editor-in-chief

Founding Director

Tom Hilditch, tom@hongkongliving.com

Photography Venture Studios

Contact us Admin: 3568 3722 | Editorial: 2776 2773 | Advertising: 2776 2772 Published by Hong Kong Living Ltd, L1 Kai Wong Commercial Building, 222 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong Printer Elegance Printing & Book Binding Co., Ltd.

Cover by Vicky Lam

HONG KONG hongkongliving.com

Hong Kong Living Influencer Awards is published by Hong Kong Living Ltd. This book is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Hong Kong Living cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or pubishers. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.



What is influence? Influence. It’s a word that comes attached with many connotations. At its core, influence is the ability to affect change in someone or something in an indirect, but significant and meaningful way. But with the world having gone through epic change as a result of Covid-19, the idea of influence has taken on a different meaning. In the following pages you will see influence in the form of leadership, innovation, empathy, integrity, inspiration and straight up hard work. Through their actions, this year’s 50 influencers have gone about changing the way we think about food, the sharing economy, new approaches to health and wellness and how they have overcome hardship to not just survive, but thrive in the face of adversity. Don’t get me wrong, these stories are not all champagne and cupcakes. They are the result of perseverance, leadership and driving innovation at a time of great social change. This is the true power of influence. The ability to inspire teams to think outside the box, the ability to keep the lights on when business has been turned on its head and the ability to keep customers engaged when we’re cooped up from the outside world. One dominant theme running throughout this year is the ability to adjust and adapt and embrace the power of teamwork. As many of this year’s influencers will attest, success is never guaranteed and you never know when the whole world could change - 2020 has proven that. “Surround yourself with the right people, because it’s imperative to ask for help along the way and those closest to you will be the first ones to offer support,” says Wil Fang, founder of Cookie DPT. It’s been nothing short of inspiring to hear the stories of blood, sweat and tears. We hope you find these stories equally as inspiring as you progress through your own journey.

ENTREPRENEUR Following in her sister’s footsteps, Yoona Min moved to Hong Kong just two years ago and was inspired to launch her first business venture. “Hong Kong is a great place to succeed, there are so many opportunities and talented people to work with,” she says. With a focus on self-love, Min designed her products from scratch and created her brand, YVEREST to educate and empower women. “Bringing a positive contribution to women’s sexual health and wellness is so important, women need to learn more about the power of self-care and self-love.” While this year has been challenging for new businesses, Min remains upbeat. “This period was a crucial time for me to learn, strive and grow. I spent a lot of time with my loved ones and prioritised on selfgrowth and goals,” she says. The future looks bright from Min and YVEREST, taking inspiration from successful female entrepreneurs around the world, she has taken the wellness industry by storm and will continue to be an ambassador for women’s empowerment.

Yoona Min Founder and CEO YVEREST


This period is a crucial time to learn, strive, and grow


Wil Fang Founder Cookie DPT

If you have a sweet tooth like us, you’ve probably heard of the hugely addictive baked goods from Wil Fang’s Cookie DPT. With a prolific social media presence and pop-ups which attract long lines of customers, the dessert brand likes to keep its fans on their toes with limited-edition flavours and collaborations coming out almost every week. In 2009, Fang moved to Hong Kong from New York to work on a five-month assignment for Ralph

Lauren – he ended up staying in the city for 11 years and counting. “Hong Kong’s ability to evolve and adapt to changes is unique and I believe it’s why so many people come and never leave,” says Fang. After Ralph Lauren, Fang spent two years working at Apple before he decided to leave the corporate world and started his own fashion agency and a multi-brand lifestyle store called DPT in Taipei. The shop houses a coffee nook called Coffee DPT, which eventually

evolved into Cookie DPT as we know it today. “I’m so proud of my team for their perseverance working in one of the toughest environments for any and all businesses, let alone a startup,” says Fang. No one could have predicted what this year would bring, but Fang remains upbeat, “we haven’t had the luxury of trying to weather the storm. We’ve had to continually adapt and keep moving forward, literally not knowing what new challenge the next day could bring.” HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 7


Lindsay Varty Former professional rugby player Author of Sunset Survivors

Inspired by her older brother, Lindsay Varty found her passion for rugby at the age of 12. Five years later, she was asked to join the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens team, a role she took up for the next 13 years. “In 2013, our team went professional and I got to play

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Uzbekistan.” Her journey has not always been smooth sailing, though. Varty has dislocated her shoulder about eight times and has had two surgeries to fix it, “but as my mum always told me, ‘no scars, no stories.” Varty laughs.

Kong has always been home,” she says. Varty spent three years interviewing people from Hong Kong’s disappearing traditional industries, including shoe shiners, face threaders and knife sharpeners for her book Sunset Survivors, which was published in 2018.

rugby for a living,” says Varty. “It was the most amazing time and we got to travel the world, representing our little city at tournaments in countries like

Alongside her professional rugby career, Varty wanted to showcase her appreciation for the city. “I have lived here since I was 20 days old, so for me, Hong

“Hong Kong is a fantastic place to succeed, there are so many passionate and intelligent people crammed into one tiny place, all looking for things to do and learn.”


ENTREPRENEUR They say timing is everything. This couldn’t be more true for surging material science company Raze, founded in Hong Kong in 2018. What originally began as an idea to develop health and hygiene products for the agricultural sector, Raze has found new life as a simple self-sanitizing spray that decomposes 99 percent of pathogens, bacteria, viruses, odours and mould. Vincent Fong, co-founder and CEO of Raze, believes a strong push for both private and public hygiene presented a window for his business to step up and assist in the fight against the virus. “My biggest motivation under the pandemic is seeing Raze helping every citizen in every way possible,” he says. While success is not really a word to be used under these circumstances, driving innovative research into products that benefits millions, has been a hugely motivating factor. Throughout his journey, Fong counts his grandfather as inspiration for continuing to push his ideas and drive innovation. “My grandpa started his entrepreneurial journey at 13 years of age as a spice trader selling sesame and cinnamon, he then moved into textile trading and eventually went into real estate. He maintained the philosophy of earning to give back which has instilled strong value in my own journey.” From home products to self-sanitizing industrial paint and even textiles, the future is very bright for this rising Hong Kong innovator.

Adjust and adapt and don’t ever underestimate the power of teamwork

Vincent Fong CEO Raze


CHARITY As head of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s global shark and ray conservation programme, Andy Cornish has played a vital role in improving fisheries management and managing unsustainable consumption across Asia. Some of his highlights include working on the WWF ‘Save Our Seas’ campaign, which resulted in the ban of all trawling in Hong Kong waters in 2012. As well as his most recent role as leader of WWF’s global shark conservation programme ‘Restoring the Balance’. Raised in Hong Kong, Cornish was one of the first diving scientists studying fish in the city, he recorded over 100 new species of fish, “Hong Kong lies on the fringes of the Coral Triangle, so there is a surprisingly rich marine biodiversity.” Cornish’s role has taken him across 20 countries, but he now resides in rural Lantau, surrounded by greenery and wildlife with his two-year-old son. “Living away from the city has been a great way to step away from the rollercoaster,” he says. While Hong Kong’s marine life is slowly improving, Cornish states, “I always tell people, if you want to see what ground zero is like for sharks, come here.”

If you want to see what ground zero is like for sharks, come here

Andy Cornish Leader WWF global shark conservation programme ‘Restoring the Balance’ 10 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

DINING Born and raised in Hong Kong, Dimple Yuen is the city’s first female gin distiller and cofounder of Two Moons Distillery. One of her biggest milestones was becoming the first gin from Hong Kong to win silver at the prestigious World Gin Awards 2020 London Dry Gin category. The win came as a result of a twoyear journey working with relevant government parties to acquire all the necessary licenses, equipment and know-hows to establish a gin distillery in Hong Kong. “As challenging as it was, the entire experience was rewardingly worthwhile and definitely one of the proudest goals I’ve ever achieved,” says Yuen. “I’m proud to be at the forefront of the distilling industry, putting our city on the map and showcasing local flavours to the world.” Although gin production is still rather niche in the city, Yuen finds that Hong Kong is a great starting point for anyone to achieve their dreams and encourages others to take the first step. “Hong Kong is full of people naturally equipped with the city’s ‘can-do spirit’ and the competitive landscape gives rise to new ideas and exciting inspiration.”

Dimple Yuen Co-Founder and Head Distiller Two Moons Distillery


HEALTH & WELLNESS Born and raised in Germany, Ankie Beilke started her acting and modelling career at the early age of two and appeared in a US-produced movie by the time she was seven. Beilke moved to New York when she was 18-years-old to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. This was also where she discovered her passion for yoga and had the opportunity to practice with many influential yogis. She moved to Hong Kong in 2017 to reconnect with her Chinese roots and explore more modelling opportunities. As the daughter of actress and movie producer Lau Heung-ping, Beilke admits that there were difficulties growing up in the limelight. “I struggled with insecurities and was bullied at school for the characters my mother played,” she says. To add to that, the constant pressure to stay skinny in the modeling industry led Beilke to develop bulimia. She credits yoga for guiding her through that difficult time. “Practicing yoga helped me reconnect with myself and learn to accept who I was. It transformed me into a stronger, willpowered and calmer person,” she says. While this year has been tough on many, Beilke’s love for the outdoors helped her remain positive. “Nature is what helped me to stay positive and luckily Hong Kong has a lot of it.” With gyms open again Beilke can continue her classes both in the studio and on zoom and is set to work on several film projects in Europe later this year.

Ankie Beilke Actress, Yoga Teacher and Model



Opportunities only come to us when we are ready. Keep learning and improving

Letao Wang Founder and Spiritual Counsellor Healing Kingdom

Founder of The Healing Kingdom, Letao Wang did not plan his spiritual path - he had been confused about life when one fateful meeting with a spiritual counsellor in Australia changed everything. Wang strongly believes

practice in Hong Kong eight years ago, Wang has helped many Hongkongers through financial, family and relationship problems through spiritual counselling. “Hong Kong is a very dynamic city. People come and go. The energy changes and we are constantly

opportunities only come to us when we are ready. “Keep learning and improving, the universe is always protecting us,” he says. Since opening his professional

transforming. The bubbling energy of the city gives us challenges, but also pushes us to strive better,” he adds. The uncertainty of 2020

has caused many people to seek guidance, whether that be spiritually, emotionally or physically. Wang believes one of the greatest lessons 2020 has taught us as a society, is that we must learn how to work together for mutual empowerment. “The universe needs a humanity that is harmonious and has a strong sense of unity. We are all in this together and we can overcome any challenge.” HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 13

ART & DESIGN Drawn to Hong Kong’s charm, energy and convenience, Sunaina Chand moved to the city from Japan 20 years ago. After finding her passion for diamonds, she left her job in public relations and marketing to study natural diamonds at the Gemological Institute of America in Hong Kong. While Chand had a dream to embark on her own business venture, making it a reality was a challenge. “I single-handedly learned how to manage a company and build a team to create Vivaz,” she says. Her hard work paid off and she now has a network of loyal clients and collaborations with luxury designers, including Giovanni Ferraris and Paolo Costagli. Her secret to her success? “Constantly creating different avenues to reach out to consumers. Getting too comfortable in one area or direction is risky,” she says. While the design process is essential to any Jewellery business, Chand encourages people to not get lost in it. “Jewellery is embraced as art and it’s easy to lose yourself. Keep in mind the business perspective and always stay true to quality and details.” By keeping an open mind Chand has been able to maneuver around the events of the past year and maintain a clear vision for the future.

Sunaina Chand Founder and CEO Vivaz Fine Jewelry


ENTREPRENEUR Justin Cheng is no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Australia, the Quantitative Trading professionalturned-entrepreneur has founded and grown four start-ups (Block Manic, ALTOS Asia Pacific, GTP Talent Search and GTP Talent Consultancy) that have now branched out to five more brands focusing on lifestyle, sustainability, technology and talent – all within five years. For Cheng, the journey has been a steep and interesting learning curve tapping into a lot of different industries. Running his businesses has allowed him to meet passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds along the way, from baristas to sommeliers, vegan advocates to market pioneers, with some of whom he became partners and friends with. And now, even the global pandemic cannot stop him - he has recently opened a brick-and-mortar lifestyle lab in Sheung Wan. Cheng believes there is an opportunity in every situation. “We only need to find one way – where company vision is still upheld – to adapt to the situation and pivot quickly to capture the opportunity,” he says.

Adapt to the situation and pivot quickly to capture the opportunity

Justin Cheng Co-founder & CEO Block Manic


Hong Kong’s ability to evolve and adapt to changes is unique and I believe it’s why so many people come and never leave Wil Fang Founder of Cookie DPT


DINING Alice Wong describes her journey to wine as “a bit like a fairytale”. Her first career after graduating from college in New York was in physical therapy. Back then, wine was just a hobby for her. Over the years, Wong met many people who prompted her to establish a career in wine. She finally founded Vinetude Asia with her fellow WSET Diploma graduates several years after she moved back to Hong Kong. Their goal was to offer bespoke workshops for various types of clients, ranging from beginners to wine professionals. In 2018, the Vinitaly International Academy from Verona launched its revised Italian Wine Ambassador edition in Hong Kong. “It was known in the industry to be an extremely difficult title to obtain and I was proud to be amongst its first batch of graduates,” says Wong. Believing that there is a wine for everyone without necessarily being a label drinker, Wong joined three other Italian wine specialists in Hong Kong and started another company, Vino Missionari, which specialised in the promotion of Italian wine, gastronomy and culture. With the aim of bringing top-notch Italian wine education to a broader audience, they successfully piloted the Italian Wine Maestro Program in Hong Kong earlier this year.

Alice Wong Founding Partner Vinetude Asia and Vino Missionari 18 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

Hong Kong has a close-knit community, so overnight success is really possible here


There is always someone who is smarter than you, stronger than you and younger than you

Utah Lee Nike Master Trainer

Starting her career as a fashion designer, Utah Lee fell in love with fitness and has been in the business since 2000. Lee has taken the fitness and modeling world by storm with her training sessions and events on and off the camera. After the birth

keep learning. There is always someone who is smarter than you, stronger than you and younger than you.” Like many, the pandemic forced Lee to cancel many of her face-to-face classes and spend more time at home.

of her first son, Lee initially found it difficult to find her place in the fitness industry, but she motivated herself to get back out there. “It’s important to stay humble and

“I had to learn how to ‘live’ with my family since everyone’s always at home,” she says. By embracing new platforms, like Zoom, Lee was able to maintain

traction with her business and encourage her clients to keep a fit and healthy lifestyle while in lockdown. After 20 years in the industry Lee has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. “I am with everybody else through the pandemic. Classes and events got cancelled. I just have to be positive and keep moving. Ten burpees please, right now.” HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 19

ENTREPRENEUR Alice Han is on a mission to dispel a long-held myth that learning to speak and read Chinese is hard work. “Learning Chinese is not hard at all,” she says. In fact, it is outdated education tools and a lack of innovation that has perpetuated this belief. But Han, who founded Nihao Language Education in 2014, is turning that idea on its head. After graduating with a Masters in Teaching Chinese as an International Language, Han bounced around various language and training centers, but found their methods were not working. “I found teaching methods and materials were not innovative. So in 2014, I started my own center.” “I wanted to inspire people to learn Chinese and make the learning journey effective while having as much fun as possible. Our course is based on pragmatism. With building block methods, we read Chinese using illustrated Chinese characters and tailor-made storybooks. ” Since 2014, Nihao Language Education has gone on to expand into the corporate world, training the likes of teams from SUEZ, HSBC and Adidas. But she admits it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. “The difficult thing at the beginning was finding experienced and passionate teachers. Some enthusiastic teachers couldn’t stay long in the industry and some experienced teachers were not innovative enough.” But persistence and a commitment to innovate, have proved a successful ingredient in Hong Kong’s competitive language market.

I want to inspire people to learn Chinese and make the learning journey effective while having as much fun as Founder and Program Director Nihao Language Education possible

Alice Han



Train your mind as much as you train your body

Moonie Chu Hong Kong National Fencing Athlete

Moonie Chu started fencing when she was just eight years old. At the ripe old age of 14 she began training with the Hong Kong National team and went on to compete and win Bronze for Hong Kong in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games.

“Getting used to the idea that fencing was my career instead of my hobby was difficult,” she admits. “I had to learn how to prioritise my training, my studies as well as spending time with family and friends. It took me over a year to

aspects of training, such as her cardiovascular fitness. “This pandemic has forced us to take a break and focus on the things we have been neglecting,” she says. “The outbreak has also shown us that anything can

As she entered her third year of university, Chu decided to become a full-time athlete, completing her studies on a part-time basis, a major turning point in her athletic career.

adjust to the new lifestyle.” With all major competitions and events cancelled due to Covid-19, Chu took the opportunity to focus on

change overnight. Having a flexible mindset has allowed me to overcome the emotional rollercoaster of unforeseen circumstances.” HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 21


Hard work pays off, even if it isn’t for now, it will eventually From being a member of the national fencing team at the age of 15, to setting up an award-winning architecture and design firm, Florence Kong has gone from strength to strength. Kong’s athletic training from early on in life has taught her the importance of perseverance and teamwork. To this day, they remain the core values that underlie her work ethic. “From my training as a sportsman, I learned to trust that hard work pays off, even if it isn’t for now, it will eventually,” she says. Kong started her career in architecture working with a number of architectural studios and property developers with projects around the world including Europe, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Mainland China and Hong Kong. After graduating from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, Kong trained under luminaries such as Zaha Hadid and Kohn Pedersen Fox, before returning to Hong Kong to set up her own architecture design studio in 2015. Her latest project is a collaboration with MIT Innovation Node, for the 17th Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition, which has been postponed for at least a year due to the pandemic. “It’s tough for everyone during this time. It is important to stay agile and be ready to adapt to new situations when there is a lot of uncertainty,” Kong says. 22 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

Florence Kong Founder FAB-A-MATTER

ENTREPRENEUR Starting his career as an assistant film editor at the BBC, David Pope came to Hong Kong in 1995, drawn to the energy and vibrancy of the city. “My love affair with Hong Kong continues to this day,” says Pope. Through his work as a language specialist, voice artist, voice director and producer, Pope repeatedly saw a direct link between how we use our voice and the effect it can have on confidence in the workplace, and leadership potential. His research led to the creation of specific workshops and coaching programmes, focussed on voice and physical presence, that empower executives to find their authentic voice, and speak with impact. “Building up a successful business takes hard work, but the satisfaction of helping clients find the power of their voice makes it all worthwhile,” he says. In the current pandemic, Pope has adapted fast with a digitalisation of his business through webinars, online coaching and professional development video programmes. Despite some initial challenges, Pope holds a positive outlook. “I’m learning not to worry about the future and to just live in the moment.”

Be confident in expressing your ideas and learn from your mentors

David Pope Founder and Managing Director All Voice Talent



Where there is adversity, there is opportunity Leaving her career as an investment banker in 2016, Dee Oh wanted to find a career path that added value to others’ lives while maximising her own potential. Her journey led her to founding Dee Dream Life, a fitness, yoga, dance and life coaching community with a focus on creating a positive and supportive place for all ages and social statuses. “Life comes as it is meant to, I have no expectations nor disappointments, just pure gratitude,” Oh says. No matter what life throws at Oh, she always keeps a positive attitude, which has brought her to where she is today and even helped her through the uncertainty of 2020. “Every moment free from routine is an opportunity to work on things we don’t normally have time for, reinventing ourselves and taking up a new hobby.” Throughout this year Oh has managed to finish a further training course on yoga therapy niches, including ayurveda, pre-and post-natal, kids yoga and tantra meditation in New York, learnt the piano and even had time to read. “Where there is adversity, there is opportunity, if we train our minds to always look out for the light in every unexpected situation.”

Dee Oh Founder Dee Dream Life



You need to have a real passion for what you are doing

Anita Shum Founder and Principal Mini Mandarins

After moving to Australia as a child, Anita Shum found herself lost without a national identity. Growing up, she was called ‘banana girl’ – someone with yellow skin but with a white mindset. Fuelled by this, she decided to create Mini Mandarins, a school where children can connect with Chinese culture and language. “Since opening my school, I have engaged with over 5,000 students across Hong Kong,” says Shum. “Mini Mandarins is

the first government approved language school to be accredited in international schools.” Aside from this, she is also the first Mandarin educator columnist to be featured in the South China Morning Post, where she shares her thoughts on multilingualism and suggestions for nurturing youth Chinese literacy. In fact, for Shum, Hong Kong continues to be the gateway of China to the world. “As we head into globalisation many families will love their children to

learn more about Chinese culture and language.” While money is a motivator for many people, Shum believes subscribes to something more. “You need to have a real passion for what you are doing and as a leader you need to ensure that you take care of your team.” Her passion has enabled her to stand with her team this year and help them find different strategies to continue classes including Zoom and private classes. HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 25


LOST is an empire. In 2013, it became Hong Kong’s first and most well-known escape room concept. Founded by entrepreneur Rick Woo, LOST is now established in eight countries with a total of 13 branches. Although it is primarily an escape room, it is also used for team building, corporate training, birthday parties and more. “When I started LOST, everybody was opting for an online business, but I could see that the competition would be harsh and it would be hard to survive,” Woo explains the brand’s beginnings. “I thought the other way round, deciding to set up a physical business. Instead of following the wave, why not create the wave?” Just last year, he opened LOST Junior, targeting ages 6 to 14. – The entrepreneur shows no signs of slowing, despite the global pandemic. “The biggest lessons I have learned is to diversify your business when there is a chance and never put all your eggs in one basket. “In my personal life, I treasure my business partners and we are always searching for different ways to support each other.” As for those starting their own business, he only has one piece of advice: “Do what the market needs, instead of doing what you want.”

Rick Woo Co-founder LOST



Damien Mouellic Founder Central & Stanley Wellness

I like to treat my business the same way I would treat my patients – with patience, integrity and care Since opening his second Hong Kong-based clinic, Central Wellness in just three months, this year has been busy for Damien Mouellic - Osteopath. His clinics, based in Stanley and Central, offer a range of treatments from osteopathy and physiotherapy to hypnotherapy and counselling for children and adults. As an Osteopath and business

owner, Mouellic believes the key is to have a comprehensive view of your business.” I like to treat my business the same way I would treat my patients – with patience, integrity and care. I believe that has been crucial to the growth of my practice,” he says. While his clinics had to close for a month due to the pandemic, Mouellic was determined to support

his staff and used the time to connect with his team and focus on marketing and new product development. “When there’s harmony in the team, you feel it around you when you enter the clinic. It’s important to keep up the momentum even when business is down so that when things pick up, you’re ready to go stronger than ever,” he says. HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 27

Hong Kong people are always being described as practical and organised. Two very un-sexy sounding character traits, yet it’s what gets things done Angela Cheung Managing Director APV

DINING Maël Vastine joined Classified Group as chief operating officer at a critical time – during February 2020 when the coronavirus outbreak first started. For many, it may be seen as a low-point, but Vastine sees a silver lining in the sense that he is able to lead Classified Group through the tough times and offer Hong Kong comfort food in this climate. Under his leadership, Classified Group has been able to flourish despite difficult circumstances. “The pandemic is pushing us to think and work differently,” Vastine says. “We have to make sure we’re able to adapt by pivoting our business strategy and the way we do business.” He finds his biggest inspiration in the founders of Classified Group, Paulo Pong and Arnold Wong, who saw this period as an opportunity to think outside the box when it came to Classified Group. When asked for one piece of advice on operating a restaurant in Hong Kong, Vastine says: “Find a good landlord first, then surround yourself with passionate people.”

Maël Vastine Chief Operating Officer Classified Group


ART & DESIGN After successful careers in banking and sourcing, Birgit Wahlhaeuser moved to Hong Kong in 2003 and found her true calling in interior design. She founded W Interior Concepts, where she plans calm and harmonious living and working concepts for homes and businesses. Despite finding her passion late in life, Wahlhaeuser has received a BA honors first class in interior design and built a large portfolio of design projects across the city, including Love Hair on Wellington Street. “Designing the space for Love Hair was one of the highlights of my career so far, I have a passion for bringing sustainability to my designs,” she says. The past 12 months have helped Wahlhaeuser reassess her priorities, take a step back and learn to let things go. “Always trust your instincts. Sometimes you need to let things go - even if it’s difficult - to make way for better things to come.”

Birgit Wahlhaeuser

Know your worth, free work is only for family and friends

Creative Director W Interior Concepts



Everyone defines success differently. To me, success is not a destination, but a way of life For Kaye Dong, being able to wake up every morning, spring out of bed and do what she loves is what success means to her. Born and raised in Melbourne, Dong is a woman of many talents. Inspired by her own experiences as a parent, she has taken on various roles in philanthropy. In 2015, she founded her own non-profit organisation, K for Kids Foundation. The foundation helps love, support and empower children from disadvantaged backgrounds, primarily reaching out to children under 12, many of whom live in poverty or in out-ofhome care. Dong also owns and runs design firm The Good Studio, which has conceptualised standout interiors in Hong Kong, like Colour Brown X PHVLO HATCH in Sham Shui Po. While this year has been tough Dong shares some words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, “know what sparks joy in you,” she says. “Never forget why you wanted to become an interior designer and keep the passion alive.”


Kaye Dong Founder The Good Studio

ENTREPRENEUR Co-founder and CEO of clothing company May16, Astor Chan hasn’t always enjoyed a profession in the Hong Kong fashion industry. Before she founded the O2O (online-to-offline) fashion store, she practised as a lawyer for over 15 years, frequenting law conferences and teaching at the Harvard Business School Negotiation program. Four years ago, at the age of 40, she decided to change her direction – she wanted to do something she was passionate about. “It was a big move to transform from a legal professional to the fashion and beauty industry,” she says. There were many things she had to learn along the way – like the fact that an O2O model is the key strategy to grow in 2020. “Making use of digital platforms can help tell our story, build our brand and develop a relationship with our customers,” says Chan. “A physical store becomes a showroom that can bring the tailor-made experience and service to customers.” After four years of hard work, Chan has built a reliable customer base, consisting mostly of professional ladies. For new business owners, Chan has a few words of advice: “An idea can never be perfect, success is all about execution. The idea can be changed during the execution. Don’t just think. Work on it.”

An idea can never be perfect; success is all about execution

Astor Chan Co-founder and CEO May16 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 33


There is a saying in Chinese which translates to crisis creates opportunities

Elaine Shiu Executive director Ejj Jewellery Born and raised in Hong Kong, Elaine Shiu has always been business savvy, starting her first business, trading red coral for luxury jewellery, during her second year of university. Shiu’s parents and professors didn’t believe she could handle the pressure but she proved them wrong in 2017 after being nominated as a coral expert. After graduating Shiu decided to establish her own brand, Ejj Jewellery, noticing a gap in the 34 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

market for affordable fashion jewellery. “I decided to fill that gap and design my own jewellery with high quality pieces without a huge price tag.” she says. Ejj Jewellery went on to become the first Hong Kong based jewellery brand to 3D-print products and received both a MUSE Design Award and an A’ Design Award earlier this year. While 2020 started on a high the ongoing pandemic has been hard for the startup business.

“There is a saying in Chinese which translates to crisis creates opportunities and I feel that there are still opportunities out there, I just needed to adjust my business plan,” she says. By improving Ejj Jewellery’s online platform, Shiu has been able to connect with customers virtually and showcase her designs online. She believes that business owners should always be prepared for the best and worst situations in order to keep up with changing times.

HEALTH & WELLNESS Wanting to fight the stigma around mental health in Hong Kong, Amanda Li and her mentor Professor Winnie Mak Wing-sze, co-founded StoryTaler in 2015. The social action group, which connects individuals interested in the topic of mental health, started out as a Facebook page where members could share simple illustrations, short films and personal stories about their emotional wellbeing. The group expanded into live events in their first year and hosted its first Storytelling Day, attracting over 200 participants. “It’s encouraging to see people gain a better understanding of mental health and change their attitudes towards people with mental illnesses after our workshop. Many participants were even moved to tears at the end of our sharing session,” says Li. By encouraging individuals who are experiencing or have experienced mental health challenges to share their personal stories, Li hopes to start the conversation around mental health especially during these tough times. “What is happening in the world and our community can be saddening and demoralising. It’s important to stay connected with people you care about and like-minded individuals so that we can support each other.”

Amanda Li Clinical Psychologist & Co-founder StoryTaler

It’s important to stay connected with like-minded individuals so that we can support each other HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 35

ART & DESIGN British-born photographer Graham Uden has experienced it all. A former war photographer, Uden has shot (photos that is) AK-47 toting ex-Khmer Rouge soldiers in Cambodia, crawled across minefields in Laos, squatted 300 metres from Taleban frontline trenches in the 2001 Afghanistan War and narrowly missed suicide bombs in Baghdad during the 2003 war. After arriving in Hong Kong in 1992, Uden established himself as a corporate and commercial photographer, shooting top brands and events including the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens and Art Basel. “I’ve been very fortunate with my career path and haven’t really had any lows up until June last year when the civil unrest began, after that work really slowed down.” The recent downtime has given him a chance to consolidate his portfolio and focus on his selfpromotion in preparation for a big return. Uden’s signature style and technique elevate every project he works on, but his charismatic photoshoots and charm have won over many of Hong Kong’s elite. “Shooting a good picture is not enough. You need to be sociable and able to entertain and direct people confidently,” he says.

Graham Uden Photographer grahamuden.com



Keeping priorities clear can be hard, but acknowledging that is a healthy start

Brenda Wilson Owner Swoon Soirées

Hong Kong can be a tough market to succeed. But against all odds, Swoon Soirées has found mainstream success and will be celebrating its fifth business anniversary this year. Founded by Brenda Wilson when there was little in the way of party supplies available in the local market, Swoon Soirées constantly seeks out on-trend, high quality and whimsical partyware from around the world. “We keep our costs down by only operating an online boutique,” explains Wilson. “This has helped us weather several storms.” To manage the chaos of 2020, she has had to change her business tactics several times. “My roles have changed dramatically from business owner to full-time teacher and mum, and back again,” she says. “Keeping priorities clear can be hard because you can’t have it all, but acknowledging that is a healthy start.” The biggest lesson she has learned this year is to always look for the silver lining. The pandemic may have slowed things down, but Wilson remains hopeful for the future. “We are excited to launch a variety of new products, enhance the customer experience on our ecommerce site and hopefully capture the imagination of new customers and our existing clients who love us.”


ENTREPRENEUR Rebecca Ting is the CEO and co-founder of P9 Productions, a tech-driven creative agency that produces short films, animations and interactive video games. Knowing many customers nowadays have a limited attention span, Ting applies her expertise in big data and user behaviour analytics. Helping her clients in the finance and insurance business, improve the customer experience of their digital products. “Poor product fit is one of the biggest reasons that start-ups fail. Do your research and be flexible with what you’re offering,” she says. Ting lived in both Tokyo and Melbourne at a young age, but always knew that she wanted to start her career in Hong Kong. “Hong Kong is a great place to start your own business because of the ease of registering a company and the minimal paperwork compared to other countries. This reduces the barrier for aspiring entrepreneurs to just go ahead and try out their ideas,” says Ting. Since remote working was already part of P9 Productions work schedule, Ting saw an increase in opportunities this year, but believes face-to-face meetings are a crucial element of working successfully as a team.

Rebecca Ting CEO and Co-Founder P9 Productions


Having patience and trusting in the hard work help me get through difficult times


Bringing over 20 years of experience working in the creative industry and a background in environmental graphic and branding design, Tom Mak launched his own design studio earlier this year. As a designer, Mak specialises in wayfinding experience design and property branding and has taken on numerous commercial, hospitality, residential and mixed-use projects throughout the years. Working with a range of clients all with different needs, Mak thinks it is important to stay true to his designs while adopting his ideas to suit the values of the companies he represents. “By keeping an open mind and allowing ideas to come from multiple perspectives, you can better understand and balance the needs of all parties, which is the ultimate purpose of good design,� he says. For Mak, changes can often be seen as opportunities for new ideas. In the time of Covid-19, he has been spending more quality time to draw out business plans and marketing mapping for his firm.

Tom Mak Director and Founder Tom Mak Design (TMD)


What makes Hong Kong a great place to succeed? It’s the vibrant energy. This energy attracts people from all over the world to come and look for Grace Siu opportunities Career Coach and Trainer Career Center, HKUST


Connect your passion with concrete actions

Tracy Ho Founder and Director Frame & Fame Personal Branding

Before starting Frame & Fame Personal Branding, many of Tracy Ho’s entrepreneur friends advised her: “Be prepared for a roller coaster ride.” As a business owner now, Ho finds herself relating to this statement every single day.

my passion and purpose as well as helping others reach their career and personal goals is a big achievement,” she says. “I count my blessings for every client I have. it’s not easy to win someone’s trust, especially for a consulting and coaching business like mine.”

Along with running her own business, Ho is also a Personal Branding Consultant and Certified Coach. “Being able to run a business that connects

The past 12 months have been among the toughest ever in Hong Kong and globally, but Ho has stayed motivated by focusing on internal growth. “The best


defensive measure against a tough environment is to make sure we regularly review who we are and develop ourselves to be the best for our target audience.” For aspiring entrepreneurs, she suggests: “Connect your passion with concrete actions. There are many dreamers who talk about their passions, aspirations and how they can change the world, but those who succeed are the ones who take action.”

ENTREPRENEUR After graduating from the University of Cambridge with a Masters in Mathematics, Julianna Yau pursued her interest in education by completing a course on Maths Teaching at Stanford University. Upon returning to Hong Kong, Yau started an admissions consultancy, Ampla Education, to help students succeed in their pursuit of higher education. “Seeing the smiles on our students’ faces when they achieved their goals never fails to make my day,” she says. Yau’s students are also her biggest source of inspiration. “They are not afraid of falling nor are they afraid to try new things. Their imagination is limitless and they are always able to find happiness in the smallest things,” she says. As Hong Kong comes out of a turbulent year, Yau’s secret to staying motivated through tough times is simply by staying connected. “Nothing beats human interaction. With social distancing in place, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with your family, friends, colleagues, clients and business partners,” she says.

Julianna Yau Founder and Director Ampla Education

The journey of entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 43


By focusing on the long-term value and vision of your work, you will stay motivated

Renée Boey Founder and Educational Director Baker & Bloom

For Renée Boey, the opportunity to build a new school in a city that is in the crosscurrents of change has been a major adventure, “I wanted to live in a place that challenged me - with its many contradictions and contrasts,” says Boey. As an educator who believes in fostering creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in children, Boey is motivated 44 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

by seeing how education can propel a young person into a new direction, “witnessing that human transformation and being able to play a small role in it, is a miraculous thing,” she says. Some of her students have

economy and their potential role in it through the entrepreneurship education at CoCoon Foundation. Even during such challenging times, Boey keeps pushing ahead. “By focusing on the long-term value and vision of your work,

won the Harvard Book Prize Scholarship and embarked on a study abroad experience for the first time; while others have opened their eyes to the new

you will stay motivated. Luckily, in education, we are naturally focused on how to create a better future for the next generation,” she says.

ENTREPRENEUR Anna Chan has one mission – to empower others with a growth mindset so that they can find true happiness and continue to grow. From working in the digital industry, to joining an adtech startup and even taking up a role in senior regional management, Chan only found her true calling when she became a life coach. She set up Peace by Peace to provide coaching services to others, so that they could find their life purpose too. Through coaching, Chan hopes more people can discover their blind spots and self-worth so that they will be in a better position to contribute to society and others in need. Her determination has kept her motivated throughout the past year as the world battles a pandemic. “I spent a significant amount of time learning new skills and reading books,” she explains. “I meditate and keep a daily journal which records my experience about savouring, gratitude and kindness acts.” As we adjust to the new ‘normal’, she hopes to put her new knowledge into practice and contribute to society. “Things happen for a reason. Instead of focusing on things you can’t control, stay positive and be where you should be,” she says.

Instead of focusing on things you can’t control, stay positive and be where you should be

Anna Chan Founder and Life Coach Peace by Peace HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 45

ENTREPRENEUR Vincent Tsui’s entrepreneurial journey started in 2018. In his mid-30’s, it was a big risk to take. With family and kids to support, taking a leap of faith into the world of self-employment was not easy. But there was a bigger idea at play. “Early success in my career in the financial industry meant I was trapped in a comfort zone for years. That was a frustrating point in my life,” he admits. “I realised my friends were making remarkable achievements in their mid-30s and I started to think about my passion, my achievements and being a role model for my young kids.” This yearning led him to invest in several business ventures, but the real change came with an idea to shake up the sharing economy in Hong Kong. Enter WOOM, a workspace booking platform which allows users to book a meeting room, hot desk, event venue and even a hotel within minutes. The Uber of workspaces. Today, WOOM has over 50 business centres in its platform and a recent pivot has seen the application expand into hotel day passes for the local business community. “Within one month we had a network of hotels distributing work from room packages. That became a great hit in the market and replenished our revenue loss from the business travellers that originally was the bread and butter of our business.” Being an entrepreneur is about adapting to change and Tsui is living this philosophy to its best. “There’s never a formula that can give you success forever. It has given me a great sense of satisfaction to start the whole business from scratch, build the team and gain trust from business partners.”

Vincent Tsui Co-Founder and CEO WOOM Workspace Booking Platform



If the front door doesn’t work, go round the side, crawl through the cat flap – do whatever it takes

Angela Cheung Managing Director APV

A career in TV production is a dream for many, but only a few are able to ride out its highs and lows. Angela Cheung is one such person. As the Managing Director of APV, her biggest achievement is a career launching TV shows all around Asia Pacific and making lifelong friends along the way. “I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career but the signs were

there,” she says. “At school, I wrote and directed plays and was a community radio DJ. At university, a friend suggested doing something related to the media. I remember thinking – I don’t know what an Executive Producer is but that sounds fancy.” For Cheung, the joy of working in TV production is creating memorable scenes all the time,

with locations, cast, props and a storyline. She likes to think of life as a series of chapters or scenes from a movie. As for people joining the film and entertainment industry, Cheung has a few words of advice, “don’t look for a traditional path as there’s no such thing. If the front door doesn’t work, go round the side, crawl through the cat flap – do whatever it takes.” HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 47

ENTREPRENEUR Growing up in the Caribbean and Africa gave jewellery designer Tayma Page Allies her passion for colour. She founded her own jewellery brand, TAYMA Fine Jewellery in 1991, starting off small at an Atelier in Lan Kwai Fong. Known for her exotic gemstones such as neon blue Paraiba tourmaline and mandarin orange garnet, Page Allies soon became popular with the Hong Kong market. After a few years, Page Allies was offered a shop space in the Landmark Prince’s Building, rubbing noses with Cartier and Chanel. “I knew then that I’d made it,” she laughs. After calling the Prince’s Building home for 16 years, Allies has returned to her original light, bright Lan Kwai Fong Atelier. While she admits it was a difficult decision, Page Allies looks on the positive side, “It’s lovely to have a window, after having been in a shopping mall, and I’m enjoying the freedom to hold events and give talks.” As TAYMA Fine Jewellery gears up to celebrate its 30th Anniversary next year, Page Allies reminisces about her experiences. “It’s been a long, challenging and wonderful journey, full of fabulous gems, adventures and colourful characters, not to mention clients.” And with the changing climate of retail, Page Allies says that she will be expanding the TAYMA Online Shop, social media and her YouTube channel, Tayma Gemalista. Taking inspiration from her mother’s love of art and jewellery, and using her own experience from her former teaching days, Page Allies now wants to impart her knowledge and passion for gems to inform, educate and delight her listeners, with a blend of history and gemmology. “I’ve given lectures in the U.K. and Hong Kong, and I’m looking forward to expanding my repertoire.”

Tayma Page Allies Founder and jewellery designer TAYMA Fine Jewellery


ENTREPRENEUR During tough times, Joyce Lau believes that passion can trump expertise in helping business owners stay afloat. “If you believe in your idea, you can make it happen. It can get overwhelming sometimes, so I try to keep things simple and take baby steps. Just give yourself a goal and stick with it,” she says. Lau got the idea to start her own organic bedding brand after struggling to find the right bedding for her daughter Pia, who suffered from eczema. After putting in countless hours of research and development, the mumtrepreneur launched Naked Lab in 2018 to provide high-quality bamboo silk bedding for kids and families. “When customers come back and share with me how much the products have helped them with their skin and sleeping problems, I feel overjoyed and fulfilled,” she says. As a business owner who is also juggling a full-time job and a young child at home, Lau has learnt to quickly adapt her mindset to be more flexible and responsive in both her work and family life.

If you believe in your idea, you can make it happen

Joyce Lau Founder The Naked Lab



What started as a lowlight turned out to be a blessing in disguise

Davinia Tang Founder DAVISAGE Beauty Limited

For Davinia Tang, the road to success was long and arduous. It literally started with a bang on the road in England, when she was involved in a hit and run accident. She survived, but sustained facial injuries including a fractured cheekbone, broken nose and lots of swelling and bruising. To top it off, the NHS doctors didn’t provide surgery as an option, instead recommending facial physiotherapy as a quicker, more effective 50 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

recovery method. “But what started as a lowlight turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” says Tang. “It was life-changing to experience all the benefits of facial exercises and massage techniques firsthand, to see myself recover fully and to enjoy the amazing anti-aging,

into facial exercises and massage tools for both recovery and antiaging purposes. Today, she uses proven technology and scientific techniques to help people retain their youthful looks, empowering them to live younger at every age.

beautifying effects too.” Fuelled with this knowledge, she and her brother (a specialist general surgeon with extensive experience in head and neck surgeries) started their journey

“It’s such a privilege being able to share our products with the world, and seeing the positive effects from our customers are definitely the highlights of our journey so far.”

ART & DESIGN Named after her small Victorian cottage on a tiny laneway in Sydney, Ellie Bradley founded Atelier Lane Interior Design in 2008 and has designed residential and commercial spaces ever since. After opening the Hong Kong office three years ago, Bradley and her team had to refine their focus to also accommodate smaller spaces and have expanded their product range to include furniture designs. “Hong Kong is a small city, space is at a premium so maximising the space you have and ensuring it delivers to your lifestyle needs is at the top of our list. Hongkongers are well educated and well travelled, so they are open to being pushed out of their comfort zone and embracing diverse influences,” she says. This year has been especially tough on Bradley, as she tries to navigate a new normal after losing her father in 2019. “My dad ran his own successful company for over 30 years and was one of the reasons why I started my business. He would mentor me and share his advice, he taught me to trust my gut and never chase the money.” “Do it for love and do it because it’s right for the business.” But the past 10 months have been some of the busiest in the history of the company and brought some positive lessons, namely keeping a positive attitude and a passion for her work. “I am always designing, planning, researching so whilst it has been a very difficult year emotionally, I did take a little time early on to calm myself, reflect and take some time to breathe. Resulting in an increased creative energy that has blossomed along with the business this year.”

Being an interior designer is a way of life. It’s not just a job

Ellie Bradley Founder and Creative Director Atelier Lane Interior Design


Hong Kong is a tiny spot on the world map, but it’s a world-class city with people that have high hopes and big dreams Tracy Ho Founder and Director Frame & Fame Personal Branding


Be open to every possibility and don’t be scared about starting a new journey

Gary Cai Co-founder Miyagawa Mina Limited

Gary Cai knows what it is like to start from scratch. Moving from Guangzhou to Hong Kong at just 13 years old, Cai lived alone and started his first job in a restaurant the day after his 15th birthday. Having worked as a waiter, app developer, hardware engineer and filmmaker, Cai found himself trying all sorts of disciplines in order to find 54 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

his true calling. Today, he is the co-founder of Miyagawa Mina, a jewellery company that specialises in custom-made pieces. He takes inspiration from his business partner, Miyagawa Mina, starting “my life was so unstable before I met her, under her lead we were able to create the brand we have today.” With the global pandemic,

Cai has had to adapt the business model online, focusing on social media promotion to get their name out. “The most important lesson I’ve learned is, be brave and don’t confine yourself,” he says. “This applies to business and personal life, be open to every possibility and don’t be scared about starting a new journey,” says Cai.

HEALTH & WELLNESS After successfully establishing his social media-based clinic, Your Relationship Clinic in 2013, Clinical psychologist Dr. Ken Fung has helped his followers around Asia through their relationship troubles. Through Instagram and Facebook, Fung has been able to share his relationship advice and knowledge to those who may be suffering. “I wanted to help students or less privileged people who may not be able to afford professional help from therapists to express their emotional needs,” says Fung. After going through a divorce himself in 2018, Fung believes he has become a more understanding therapist. “I’ve learnt to put my own agenda aside to earn the trust and respect of my clients. No one can be influential without being willing to be influenced first,” he says. The past year has been tough on many people in Hong Kong and Fung tried to support in every way he could. “During the social unrest, people put their trust in me and shared their experiences. Many young people witnessed traumatising scenes and I’m glad I could help them in some way.”

No one can be influential without being willing to be influenced first

Ken Fung Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Therapist and Founder Your Relationship Clinic



There is no such thing as failure. The only failure is not trying

Grace Siu Career Coach and Trainer Career Center, HKUST

Born, raised and educated in Hong Kong, Grace Siu is someone who is consistently looking for challenges. Her previous career chapters include human resources and container terminal operations, the last of which had her managing 300 men in a third-tier city outside of

of operation records and was able to raise the team spirit and morale to a record high in four years,” she says. As the career coach and trainer at HKUST, Siu has transformed the lives of thousands of students in Hong Kong, giving them a sense

“I enjoy the process of unlearning and relearning, and would say having ‘people skills’ is my superpower,” says Siu. For people going through a difficult time in their career at the moment, she offers, “find opportunities in difficulties. I always

Hong Kong. As the only woman in a man’s world, Siu was constantly looked down upon and had to fight to have her voice heard – and fight she did. “In that job, I broke loads

of purpose and inspiration. Many students see her as not only a teacher, but also a friend. She is able to apply what she learnt previously to her current situation.

ask myself, how can this be done better? What are the new demands in this new normal? There is no such thing as failure. The only failure is not trying.”


ENTREPRENEUR Catherina Boh’s Hong Kong story is a well-worn tale of hard work, a little luck and a lot of figuring things out along the way. It’s a story many of us are familiar with. Boh arrived in Hong Kong some 17 years ago, relocating from Singapore to start a new life in a city. There were obstacles, challenges and tears, but a sense of purpose and some gritty determination saw her push through and achieve some major milestones. “My first six months were extremely tough,” she admits. “I was new to the recruitment industry, new to the city and just wrapping my head around things. I almost didn’t make it.” By month seven, things took a turn for the better. “I put in more hours than others, traded my personal time to learn about the industry, took projects that others didn’t want and from there built my client base.” This hard work and persistence saw Boh launch her own coaching consultancy in 2018 helping ambitious professionals achieve the kind of success they seek in their careers. While the past 12 months have been some the toughest ever in Hong Kong, Boh has adapted and changed her business accordingly. “I have started moving online to offer a one-to-many model, helping as many people as I possibly can.” With a shifting economy and disruption, it’s important for professionals to learn how they can repackage their career and create wealth. “That is how I coach my clients to live their best lives and fulfil their potential,” she says.

Catherina Boh Founder 7 figure Career Changemaker HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 57


Tanya Pakhomova Founder My Perfect Body and iPedicure


Tanya Pakhomova started her career in the fashion industry, modeling for designer brands in Paris before moving to Hong Kong in 2010. “I had a successful modelling career, I walked for many famous brands, but after visiting Hong Kong I decided to find myself in something different,” she says. After two years of living and working in the city, the Ukraine native spotted a gap in the beauty market and decided to open her beauty salon, My Perfect Body. “Bringing new technology and a Western vision to the city allowed us to gain popularity in the market,” she says. While Pakhomova doesn’t believe Hong Kong is the easiest place to succeed, she believes there are advantages to being a foreign entrepreneur. “Unlike other countries, who put restrictions on foreigners opening a business, Hong Kong welcomes entrepreneurs and provides them with the tools to grow successfully with little stress in the registry process,” she says. It’s a far cry from her days in Ukraine where professional sports dominated much of her adolescent life. But the lessons she took from sports have been valuable in her business journey. “The first lesson every coach teaches is about teamwork. It’s crucial when it comes to business. And, of course, it taught me how to fail.” That last lesson has been particularly important throughout 2020, with much of the year being paused amid tough social distancing rules. Always the optimist, Pakhomova has used her time wisely. “Your business cannot run well if you don’t recharge your batteries, this time away has given us more time to rest and relax in preparation for the future.”


Acts of kindness and conscious behaviour, no matter how small, can contribute to positive outcomes

Yeone Fok Founder SparkRaise

Multiculturalism is something that has been ingrained in Yeone Fok from a young age. By the time she was old enough to ride a bike, she had lived in the US, Japan, Beijing and Hong Kong. This early exposure to different cultures, lifestyles and perspectives gave her a window into the diversity as well as similarities of the world. In 2015, she turned her attention to fundraising, supporting innovation and social good. “I wanted to create something that

offered an opportunity for people to gain support for their initiatives, irrespective of their background,” she says. “Crowdfunding offered a transparent and communitydriven approach while levelling the playing field, and thus fundraising platform SparkRaise.com was born.” Since its founding, SparkRaise has worked with a diversity of projects, including Hong Kong’s largest indie band made up of Hong Kong Philharmonic musicians, a

hydroponics unit supporting urban farming, a miniature 3D printing kit made of e-waste and more. Going forward, Fok hopes to keep giving back. “Acts of kindness and conscious behaviour, no matter how small, can contribute to positive outcomes. Whether you give or spend your resources or volunteer your time, consider giving consistently and regularly to help organisations become more sustainable.” HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 59

ART & DESIGN Designer Austy Lee may have found success, but his journey wasn’t always so smooth sailing. Starting his own bespoke jewellery brand was a childhood dream, yet he encountered many personal issues in the beginning. “Start-ups are so fragile that they can be easily demolished by minor matters,” he says. Eventually, though, he learned to overcome the challenges and went on to become an established jewellery designer in the industry. Fascinated and inspired by the meaning of jade, Lee’s collections act as symbols of goodness, preciousness and beauty. “To Chinese people, jade stones are the embodiment of the Confucian virtues of courage, wisdom, modesty, justice and compassion,” he explains. “The polish and brilliance of a jade stone are considered by the Chinese as the representative of purity, while its compactness and hardness reflect intelligence.” Looking forward, Lee is more than optimistic regarding the future of high jewellery. “Jewellery collectors are always seeking for interesting and one-of-a-kind pieces. Any designer should not be afraid to be their unique self and should express who they are through their creations.”

Any designer should not be afraid to be their unique self and should express who they are through their creations 60 HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020

Austy Lee Director Austy Lee Art Jewellery


Your story will create your own design language For Yin Lee Chan, co-founder of Movo Limited and Volo Design Limited, being a designer and being an entrepreneur are two different things. Schooled in design, her first startup was a bumpy road. Encountering challenge after challenge, she realised she needed to step up her business skills in order to survive in the competitive world of design. “You might be great at something, but you have to be prepared and ready to do what you need to do – even when that something is not your expertise,” says Chan. Another important lesson she learned is being able to separate friends and business partners. “A business partner can be your friend, but you must know when and where to separate the two.” Having finally found her footing in the industry, Chan has some advice for aspiring designers. “One must know how to see beyond just the physical design and find a story behind it,” she says. “Your story will create your own design language.”

Yin Lee Chan Co-founder and Designer Movo Limited and Volo Design Limited


DINING Tom Andrews launched BaseHall at a time when restaurants and bars were struggling under the pressure of the Coronavirus outbreak and citywide social distancing rules. To some, it may seem an unlikely time to introduce a gourmet food hall concept as the number of people dining out dwindles. But Andrews believes that there couldn’t have been a better time to enter into the market, “we spent almost two years choosing our operators and searching across the city for the most exciting and upcoming talent. Our aim is to incubate new F&B concepts in Hong Kong by providing a unique platform for creative chefs to develop new offerings,” he says. While BaseHall has only been open for a few months, the Jardine House food hall has already established itself as a dining hotspot. It is home to a number of trendy homegrown F&B brands like Roti Tori, Westside Taqueria and Cookie DPT, to name a few. For aspiring restaurateurs, Andrews advises, “don’t be shy to reach out to F&B operators in Hong Kong. Everyone is always so happy to give advice and to help each other out. Send out emails or drop people private messages – you will be amazed at how supportive everyone is.”

Tom Andrews Senior Asset Manager Hongkong Land



Gabrielle Kirstein Founder & CEO Feeding Hong Kong

Since 2011 Feeding Hong Kong has rescued 4,400 tonnes of food from landfill Feeding Hong Kong has supported over 10 million meals for vulnerable people across the city since the charity began in 2011. After starting life in the advertising business in London, founder and CEO Gabrielle Kirstein moved to Hong Kong during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and set up the charity eight years later, after being

people go hungry after losing their job or having a reduced income. “The need for food assistance has never been more vital,” Kirstein says. “Some 1.4 million people in Hong Kong live in poverty and Covid-19 has only exacerbated the situation and pushed many from just getting by to struggling to get by.”

appalled by the sheer amount of food wastage. This year has been their most challenging, but rewarding one yet. The Covid-19 outbreak saw many

“This drove the decision to keep our foodbank open throughout the pandemic and to pivot our operations to ensure we could continue supporting those most in need.”

“I’m grateful for my foodbanking friends around the world, in particular those in the region. Our AsiaPac WhatsApp group has been a cherished source of motivation, inspiration and support. Personally, my friends and family remain a constant source of support.” As the Christmas months approach, there is still plenty of work to be done. Feeding Hong Kong is always looking for volunteers or food donations to keep Hongkongers fed and food waste down. HONG KONG LIVING INFLUENCER 2020 63



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Aster Chan

page 35

Kaye Dong

page 34

Maël Vastine

page 32

Birgit Wahlhaeuser

page 33

Rick Woo

page 28

Damien Mouellic

pages 29-31

Anita Shum

page 27

Dee Oh

page 26

David Pope

page 25

Florence Kong

page 24

Moonie Chu

page 23

Alice Han

page 22

Alice Wong

page 20

Utah Lee

page 21

Sunaina Chand

page 16

Ankie Beilke

page 14

Dimple Yuen

page 13

Letao Wang

page 15

Vincent Fong

page 11

Yoona Min

page 8

Andy Cornish

page 12

Wil Fang

page 9

Lindsay Varty

page 10
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