19 May 2017

Alumni Sharing: Leading for Change – Then, Now and the Future

With the rise of knowledge economy and technological advancements, coupled with the evolving socioeconomic landscape, nowadays businesses are facing rapid changes and challenges. Aside from the macro changes, women leaders also encounter challenges that are not typically shared by their male counterparts.

The inaugural Alumni Leaders Seminar entitled “Leading for Change – Then, Now and the Future” was held on 19 May to discuss the changes in the business and challenges for business leaders in particular for women.



“Given the large number of female executives, there are only 4% of female chief executive officers (CEOs) in the Fortune 500 list, gender equality issues are clearly present in the workplaces,” said Kanie Siu, our MBA alumna from Class of 2002, currently CEO of Plan International Hong Kong. “To change the situation and to gain more respect at work, apart from being committed to the job and working effectively, female executives can adopt a hands-on approach in managing the staff and avoid micromanaging, they can also find a mentor who can recognize their abilities and achievements and offer help when needed.”

“Some of my female staff members have to quit their job after giving birth in order to look after their children. As a working mom myself, it is my mission to change this scene.” said Winnie Wong, MBA alumna from Class of 2000, CEO of Asia Insurance Company Limited. “It is important to create a friendly environment for working moms especially those with young kids. Measures such as flexible work days or hours should be introduced. Working mothers do have huge pressure from different perspectives; the company and our society should give them support and embrace such diversity.”



When asked what a company can do to promote gender equality, both speakers echoed the views that a top-down approach is the key. Companies should help their employees to progress along their career paths and encourage them to think critically and connect with people within and outside the organizations. They both agreed that they found it particularly fulfilling to see their staffs grow and progress at work.

“Traditionally, there are many male dominated networking activities in the insurance industry such as golfing, drink or sports, instead of asking my female colleagues to join and know their business partners, I have been organizing more gender neutral programs such as classes and seminars.’ said Winnie.



Kanie said women executives do not need to imitate or behave like a man; they should know their own value and uniqueness. Take her as an example, Kanie left her job in the commercial sector to join an NGO as she found passion in making changes under limited resources. She also encouraged women to learn to manage their time well and spend time to enjoy what they would feel relaxed and refreshed.

The panel discussion was moderated by our alumna, Professor Emily Nason, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Student Affairs) & Associate Professor of Business Education in Management. The event was held as a signature event to commemorate the launch of the Women in MBA Network (WiMN), with close to 100 alumni in attendance.

Please click here to view the full video.