By Justin Lai | 2018-06-14
Education and the way kids grow up today is that you are pushed towards what you’re good at academically as opposed to what you’re interested in. This was especially true for Alicia as she was growing up in Hong Kong who wanted to pursue playing more sports, such as figure-skating. Unfortunately, she was forced to give that passion up in order to better prepare for her IGCSE exams. What most people fail to realize is that playing sports can actually help develop values which lead to your overall success in life.
We caught up with Alicia to hear more about her story and her initiative at WISE.
WISE stands for Women in Sports Empowered Hong Kong. Basically, what we do is champion sports for women and girls here in Hong Kong. We educate and advocate why sports matter because we want to use sports as a tool for women’s empowerment and promote gender equality to dispel some of the gender stereotypes that exist.
Can you tell us about your journey and experience prior to starting WISE?
I had no idea what I wanted to do going into college and even during college. When I was young I always followed what my parents told me to do. They said to go into business or consulting, so I did. They did so because my grades in business studies and economics were good at the time. It took me a full 12 years to realize that I actually didn’t want to be in the corporate world for the rest of my life. I’ve always had this passion for women’s empowerment and education but never really fully pursued it. It took me a really long time to figure out what worked for me and to develop that sense of self-awareness.
What has been your greatest challenge in starting your own non-profit organization?
Constantly I have this feeling that I don’t really know what I’m doing. People tell me that founders always feel this way and I guess the reason I feel this is partly because I used to work in big corporates. Working within big corporations tends to usually have lots of planning, structure, resources, and manpower. We don’t have that now -which is why it’s so difficult for me.
I’m always asking myself if what I’m doing is good enough? It’s not about comparing myself to other people, but am I doing enough to grow WISE? Is what I’m doing the right thing or should we be doing something else? Do people even care about WISE, let alone are interested in sports empowerment? So, the greatest challenge for me has always been trying to overcome my own self rather than external things.
What has been the reason for your success?
Once I found out that people were actually genuinely interested in WISE, I met with a friend who told me to go out and build a team so that I wasn’t the only one doing this. If it wasn’t for that one friend who reminded me that I can’t do it all alone if it wasn’t for that one friend who told me to go and find other people to help, and if I didn’t take that advice to heart then I don’t think WISE would be here.
I don’t think I would’ve been able to sustain that momentum if other people didn’t work with me on it. And I don’t mean momentum simply in the sense of doing more things – because, with a larger team, we have accomplished much more. I mean momentum in the sense of having people to bounce ideas off of each other and holding each other accountable.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you have given yourself?
I don’t think I truly discovered myself until I was in my 30’s. If I had known how to think for myself from a younger age then I probably would’ve been able to establish my career earlier on. So, I think the ability to learn to think for yourself is very important. Learning to be able to make your own choices and being able to recognize what you want to do rather than having your environment influence you.
What’s the last key takeaway you want our readers to get?
Don’t be afraid to take your time to learn about who you are. Success doesn’t come instantly. Take that time to be curious and to open your eyes and ears. Learn to be able to understand what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Avoid being funneled into something that you’re good at as opposed to something you’re interested in. When you do that, then you can start to enjoy all the other things in life that may not be directly in your path.
Are you interested to know more about Alicia andWISE Hong Kong? Inspired her story and want to share in her passion? Now’s your chance, come to check out theiropen summer internship!
Check out the lastest job openings here 👇🏼
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