2021 WiFA (Women in Finance Asia) Spotlight Series – Alicia Lui
Alicia Lui is the founder of Women In Sports Empowered Hong Kong (WISE HK), a charitable institution registered in Hong Kong. WISE HK champions sports for women and girls by using sports as a tool for empowerment. She is also the Project Director of TrailWatch, a project of the WYNG Foundation that combines hiking and outdoor recreation with environmental protection. In her Spotlight Series Interview, she discusses advice to her younger self, passions outside of work, and more.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Once upon a time I worked in banking and management consulting in Hong Kong, London (only for an internship) and Beijing. But I left the corporate world to try my hand at entrepreneurship (wasn’t successful). I’ve been in my chosen field in the social / non-profit / impact sector for 6 years or so now and though at times it’s tough, I love it! When I was first starting WISE HK as a passion project, I was also working in sustainable finance and although I no longer work in this field, it’s a topic that I am still interested in. So much so that even if I feel extremely lucky to be able to do what I do now, there’s a part of me that does want to go back to doing something sustainable finance / investment related in the future.
How do you stay on top of your (professional) game? Any tips on how you keep your competitive edge?
I believe in the importance of engaging in sports (that’s why I’m such a big proponent of it), and even though the pandemic has changed my activity levels, I have actually become busier in the past year and have had less time to actually play sports. Butphysical activity still plays a key role in my life. Before the pandemic, I preferred team sports because it helped me learn how to be a team member, captain, and coach, and many of these skills I have applied in the workplace. Since the pandemic, and in part for my work at TrailWatch, I’ve spent more time running and hiking. Now, I’m going for ultra distances and I like challenging myself in different ways, rediscovering what I can do and what my body is capable of doing. This helps me keep myself on my toes.
Think back to when you were starting out your career. What advice would you give your younger self?
I naturally tend to the quiet side and keep to myself, and up until my 20s, often thought I didn’t have anything important to say or to offer. I would avoid conflict at all costs because I hated arguments and it often meant I would go along with what other people said or did because it felt easier. I was afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want to come across as silly. I don’t think either was good for my career because I didn’t demonstrate that I have a voice and opinions, or that I’m curious. So if I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to not think all conflict is bad, and to be bolder and not care so much what others think of me. Speak up more and be more comfortable asking questions!
Aside from work, what are your other passions?
I feel very fortunate that my passion is my work. So I end up “working” all the time. It probably doesn’t sound healthy, but I don’t even feel that I’m working most days. Having said that, I do enjoy baking and exploring new places. And I love cats!