Tag Archives: Resilience

2014-06-19 19.20.34

This event was Tweeted about with the event hashtag, #wmntrafficking.

With the help of our sponsors, Thomson Reuters, WMN put together a panel about human trafficking, inspired by the Thomson Reuters’ reports on the Rohingya people, winning Pulitzer Prize.

The panel consisting of staff member Tara Joseph, Tom Leander, a member of the Society of Publishers in Asia’s Awards Committee and editor-in-chief for Asia for Lloyd’s List, as well as Archana Kotecha who is best known for her work in social issues like human trafficking and her work with Liberty Asia. (You can learn more about the panel members here). Hong Kong Chapter President, Christina Pantin performed her last role for us, by moderating the panel.

Rohingya People

While the panel started with a chance to watch a short video about the Rohingya, I’d like to start the blog with a definition of human trafficking, which is not the same as human smuggling. Trafficking is essentially slavery and while we think of that as a thing of the past, it is not. Check out some of the event tweets to learn some shocking statistics about it.

Joseph starts things be questioning whether media have been paying attention to human trafficking is a question in itself. She notes that a lot of people who have risen in journalism in the last 20 years were looking at finance and Wall Street. But corporate social responsibility plays a bigger factor now and that affects society, the audiences and therefore media.

Leander says that the media is also under an economic pressure so these stories can be left behind, but what’s reported and how, is still important. “Stories create value, which generates revenue. It used to be ruled by columns inches but it isn’t anymore. That changes some of the approach to journalism,” he adds.

Leander and Joseph

And for Reuters to win a Pulitzer Prize shows that a decision to follow that story was made despite that it didn’t create revenue. But the award surely has created prestige?

Kotecha, who has dedicated most of her career to such things, answers somes questions: “Before, these stories were left to organisations like Amnesty International,” she explains noting the difference in smuggling and trafficking, which reporting doesn’t always make clear. “Thomson Reuters reported that, noting that the Thai Government had referred to it as smuggling, which it was not,” she says.

Moving deeper into the reaches of human trafficking, she says, “another correlation that people don’t understand is how the prawn on their dinner plate does link back to the slave on the fishing boat. So, human trafficking benefits us in ways we don’t know.” She adds, that prawns used to be considered a luxury and now, they are common-place.

In fact, companies that don’t do proper due diligence on their supply chains might easily be buying materials and products from factories and companies with outright slavery conditions, poorly paid and cared for workers and so on. Customers might not think about this at all – but CP foods, who sell huge supermarket chains in the UK, got caught out.

But human trafficking and slavery is in our every day lives. Kotecha says, “where there are brothels, there are sex workers. Mainland construction workers who cross the border every day, what are their conditions? If you are worried, don’t buy just any chocolate, buy fair trade chocolate. We make choices.”


Looking back at media, Joseph says, “it was easier in the past for these large stories to disappear quickly, especially when it’s not clearly occurring on your doorstep. But computers and globalisation changes that. As does the ability to get data – journalists in the field are at risk, there are considerations to covering such stories.

And if you think it doesn’t happen in Hong Kong? Migrant workers come here for work, often in debt from getting here and are stuck working in a household and with the agency holding their passport. Kotecha says, “in LegCo and elsewhere this is overlooked now because it’s become a tired topic.”

The story of Erwiana can’t be ignored by Hong Kongers, can it? Kotecha discusses this with the audience, wondering how such a sick woman could get through the airport without any notice? With her own tired and crying children, Kotecha receives stares and attention. The case is now in courts so watch this space.

Of course, this raised some awareness in Hong Kong and many found it shocking. “Highlighting personal cases makes the cause stronger within the news, helps people to understand and give it attention,” says Joseph. But Kotecha wards off that, because it creates a hierarchy between victims. “So if your wounds are less visual, are you in a better condition? If you can’t see the emotional and physical wounds, does it mean that people won’t feel the story?” She asks.

“A lot of between-the-lines issues occurred during the case, which was not reported, despite the reporters being aware. The difficulty perhaps being that the Indonesian economy does rely on these overseas workers sending money home, just as Hong Kongers rely on their help to go out and do their work,” says Kotecha. Her very real criticism is that the wider issues were not covered in Hong Kong media.


Leander notes that human rights organisations often criticise how the media reports but the Rohingya story was a good example of how to do it. “It’s necessary to really define the issues and definitions as well as follow up – what about the court cases, what about the outcome?” This is a big issue for Kotecha, who says we need more than an amazing story that captures attention and then dies out, we need a more sustainable approach to the stories. One of the reasons the Rohingya story worked is that it didn’t focus on a single person. Leander asks “why isn’t naming the criminals as compelling as naming the victims?”

But there is a brighter side. Joseph says that it is getting better, even compared with a year ago, and Kotecha agrees. Her experience in helping to employ and rehome women like the Rohingya, in detention centres, changed entirely after the Thomson Reuters report came out, with strangers contacting her to help. “Human trafficking makes people into objects – no name, no passport, no home, no bank account and suddenly they are not human and no-one will help,” Kotecha explains.

Follow the conversation @wmnasiapacific

Follow the conversation @wmnasiapacific

If you’re interested in this topic, please contact WMN. There is also this TED talk about it.

Join the conversation:



LinkedIn group

Since our evening with Jane is tonight, we thought we’d share a blog post with you, to get you thinking.


Ambition is no longer the kiss of death for women’s careers. 

Just ask Sheryl Sandberg and the 1 million people who bought her book, “Lean In.” Sandberg should be roundly applauded for creating greater awareness of women’s work challenges, and for encouraging more conversation to emerge. But it’s important to realize the limitations of her message, which doesn’t translate in China, as Quartz recently reported, and in other Asian cultures as well. 

Here’s why:

Words, often the simplest ones, across cultures create confusion. For the Lean In movement, “ambition” and “family” are at the root of the cultural disconnect. 

Having facilitated many (predominantly female) workshops for multicultural and multi-generational teams across Asia, I can tell you that when the question of ambition comes up, which it often does, most participants felt the word and subsequent definitions to be blunt, boorish, and not reflective of their professional aspirations.

To ask, “How ambitious are you?” in Asia is fascinating. In China, women are more comfortable speaking about their ambitions than women in Japan, Hong Kong or Singapore, where the question is often met with silence or a detached shrug. For many women I encountered in Korea and Vietnam, ambition does not square with leadership, and instead has more negative than positive connotations. Being seen as “ambitious” still conjures a pejorative image for women.

Read the rest, here.


Join us at our event, tonight.

PRESS RELEASE from TEDx Happy Valley (interview opportunities)


Dr Elaine Dundon – Shares with Hong Kong how to turn rejection into a positive event.


“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”


So wrote Viktor Frankl, late Holocaust survivor, author of bestselling book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and the inspiration for Radical Resilience Week which will take place in Hong Kong, April 7-13, 2013.


Kicking off on Sunday, April 7 in conjunction with World Health Day, Radical Resilience Week is a series of community events designed to inspire, inform and motivate all who participate.


The organisers of TedxHappyValley are incredibly excited to announce that Dr Elaine Dundon will be a contributing speaker, and will be talking about facing rejection positively and with resilience. She’ll be sharing her wisdom and expertise on Innovation Management and finding meaning in life and work, throughout the week at the RRWHK events.




Elaine spent 13 years in the corporate world before founding The Innovation Group, a Global consulting firm based in the US which has advised hundreds of leaders and organisations on innovation strategy over the last 16 years.


Her bestselling book, ‘Seeds of Innovation’, sets out the nine step process by which companies can truly embrace innovation and explains that to find meaning and success, innovation needs to cover all aspects of a business. Critically, organisations need to learn how to be resilient, how to bounce back from external and internal set backs, to be prepared and ready to withstand the challenges that come their way. This is even more vital as company structures become ever more complex, supply chains more global and the economic situation more  challenging. When you consider that all this is set against the backdrop of a world where natural disasters, war, and political unrest are prevalent, it becomes clear what a vital tool resilience is in the modern world.



The skills companies need to embrace are as valid for individuals when facing the

challenges that are thrown at them. The hot topic in schools and at government level in many countries, is how to better incorporate basic skills of resilience into education, in order to better prepare children to face their challenges positively and to ensure we are developing robust and successful leaders of the future.


Understanding how pivotal personal resilience is, Elaine has focused on the “Human Side of Innovation” and specifically meaning, which she believes is the key focus for determining success in both life and work. When one has meaning, they have purpose and are more equipped to face life’s challenges head on and with resilience. Wishing to share these beliefs with others, Elaine co-founded The Opa! Way in 2010. She and her co founder, Dr Alex Pattakos have written a forthcoming book entitled The Opa! Way and are leading the Meaning Movement.


Elaine’s talk ‘It’s time to reject rejection’ will focus on how rejection challenges the powers of resilience and how in reframing events, and looking at them more positively, you better equip yourself for life.



Dr Dundon will be available for interviews on Monday 8th April at Ovolo and will be talking at the below times:


Tuesday 9th April 8-10am HKFC about her work at the Radical Resilience Active


Communications Speaker Showcase

Wednesday 10th April 7.30-9.30pm about Anthrocapitalism at Biscous as part of Green Drinks


For more information, to organise an interview or to attend any of the above events, please

contact bess@bonzapie.com

I came across Women Media Networks when doing research for my own site, The Modern Bitch, in August 2012. At that point I thought it would be a dream to be part of WMN and eight months later I was given the opportunity to attend an event in celebration of International Women’s Day.
One thing that inspired me to create a site for young women in Hong Kong was a TED Talk by Tavi Gevinson, a teen blogger who discussed feminism and how she was still figuring things out. Feminism has always been something close to my heart and since I was a child, I’ve always looked up to women and had female role models whether it be lead singers in bands or successful women in the corporate world.
In the UK, where I grew up, teen pregnancy is high and many of my friends weren’t aiming high or thinking about their future. When I entered my early teens I started to become very ambitious and knew that a career was something I wanted and family would come later. By the time I graduated and an opportunity came along in the form of Hong Kong, I knew it was a calling and I had to push past my worries and fears. Two years on I have a stable job that I enjoy and continue to think about my future in terms of career first and family later.
The discussion started straight at the root, as the panel asked each other if women could really have it all? I personally believe that women can, but not everything will be in balance all the time. It also depends on the definition of  ’having it all’ as this differs for everyone. Most of the room agreed.
My version of having it all from a basic definition would be having a successful career while having a family at the same time. One thing I took away is that the definition is difficult to simplify because all kinds of complexities come into family and career such as, whether you have your own business – and how big it is – how big your family is, whether you’re a single parent… the list goes on.
Bobbi Campbell touched on the point that you have to be really good at what you do in order to have the right to tell people you’re leaving at 5.30pm and will be unavailable for certain hours. I completely agree. It involves years of hard work and staying late to work your way up to the top, which in turn makes you really good at what you do. This isn’t always easy for women who aren’t necessarily at the top and after doing a little research on Marissa Mayer and Yahoo!, it’s clear that having understandable employers who support your choice of working and raising a family is something that is vital in having balance.
Doubt is one of the biggest problems that I face while trying to succeed in work and managing my side projects. It was a relief when Mia Saini mentioned this and an even bigger relief when other women agreed. Confidence is something that I have struggled with from time to time and I had a lot of doubts when creating my website, especially over the name. I overcame this by using my instincts and asking myself, what’s the worst that can happen?
It was great to hear advice from Bobbi regarding checking a company’s culture before working there and she stressed the importance of being comfortable asking co-workers for help. It was reassuring to learn that some women have key influencers to aspire to, which helps them overcome the fear of asking.
Letting go of some control over your work and allowing others to step in was also a big talking point and Chris Bowers mentioned having to allow her staff to handle things for her after having twins. I thought about this and considered it a challenge in the future for me personally as I like to be in control of every little detail and think that other ambitious women might feel the same way. Bowers also mentioned that she met with personal development coaches to better herself in order to better her business. That is definitely something to take on board. Other people help you grow.
Towards the end of the discussion, Shea Stanley and others panel members talked about the future and what can be done now, to help change the stereotypical view of mothers. It’s important to educate children on equality and leading by example by sharing chores between the parents, so the mother isn’t doing it all and they don’t see just mum doing it all. There is also some advice for younger women in that they shouldn’t worry about the future or planning family. Just focus on pursuing something you love and figure out how family will fit in later on. Not only that, but do not doubt yourself. Just own it!
One of the main things that I can relate to and take away from the discussion is that women are still trying to figure it out. None of the women in the room that day had all the answers or a 101 on how to have a career and family at the same time. What I felt inspired by is that strong and successful women have come together to discuss this. I may have a long way to go in building a career for myself, but I learnt a lot during that discussion and I think it’s very important to expose younger women to these discussions to ensure the lives and roles of women continue to progress healthily.

Read more from Beth’s blog, The Modern Bitch.


We don’t usually promote other people’s events on WMN, because we take care and precision over how we curate our calendar for the year. But there’s one debate which is really worth the attention and AmCham HK are running a breakfast event before our next, which should nicely inform and ripen our ideas before the day.

In our Careers Blog (members only access) I recently posted some background and interview with Anne Marie Slaughter, who says that we can’t have it all and that women are not supported to have a career and children, while continuing to support and raise their children throughout their childhoods.

The AmCham event is titled Male Female Differences at Work:


The ‘fit’ between gender and the different stages in an organisation’s ‘lifecycle’ will be used to illustrate that it’s very unlikely that the same individual will be successful leading an organisation throughout its entire ‘life’.



The implications of this research for corporate careers and corporate success will be presented, as well as some development implications.






On March 26th, we will host our next eventDeconstructing the myth – having it all.


In celebration of International Women’s Day, WMN HK are having a very special event. To those of you who went to last year’s exciting CASBAA event it will be a similar format and in the same fabulous Bloomberg auditorium.The panel discussion will feature WMN’s founder (and mother of two and the COO of The Red Flag Group) Bobbi Campbell, as well as guest speakers. It will be moderated by Mia Saini, a reporter for Bloomberg.


All too often we hear the words  ”you can have it all”, particularly when we see high-powered women, such as Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) claiming success in juggling both work and family. Is it true – can we really have it all, or are we really kidding ourselves? This controversial issue will be the focus of the panel’s discussions.


Please join us for our debate and share your ideas and thoughts with us before hand, on our social media platforms (#wmndecon)




LinkedIn group


Our first event of the year was an exciting and fun one – which if you’re not morning person (I’m not), is just what you need. And I should mention, our kind hosts California Vintage did a great job with the menu (California breakfast muffin, yes please). Moreover, the topics and advice syncronised nicely with everything else that’s been going on in my life lately, both at home and at work.
The task for the event was Developing mindfulness, reliance and confidence, learning strategies and techniques to transform challenges and setback into opportunities.
Our speaker, Sally Dellow from Rock the Boat had promised a frenetic event with audience participation, which is what we got with our small but comfortable crowd.
“Are you dealing with VUCA? ” Asks Sally.
VUCA is Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. The term was coined in the 90s for those dealing with the military issues. It’s likely that you’ve felt this at work or home recently. We live in a VUCA world, which isn’t going to change, so we have to manage our reactions.
We’re asked to put down our bags and phones (as if that isn’t scary enough?) and shut our eyes. This is a grounding exercise, so we tune out everything but place our feet on the footrests and consider that we are planted on the stool and the stool is on the ground. We bring the energy up from the ground and into our bodies. Sally asks us to feel connected and say: “I am grounded. I am open”. This is a good way to check yourself in the busy world; it will help give you resilience.
Ever seen anyone shake when they’re giving a speech? In our daily lives, our fight or flight response will blind us. But then when we need it, adrenalin kicks in. Yet constant adrenalin is bad for us too. This is Sally’s killer cocktail – adrenalin and cortisol, those stress hormones, which will literally give you a heart attack.
With a chart provided by Sally, we look at the world around us.
Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness.
Engagement and motivation will make us move toward a person, job or situation. But bad feelings will give a fight or flight response, where of course, flight takes over (see image at bottom).
Another slide shows that 65% of us are disengaged, un-energised – or worse – through our work. You might not think it, but those feelings and sentiments lead to feelings of stress (it’s not just complacency). High stress gives a 23% increased risk of a heart attack.
Meanwhile, a survey in Hong Kong shows that 74% of white-collar respondents experienced short attention span, memory loss and difficulty processing tasks. Our brains need a rest too.
There’s more than one reason why we need to give ourselves a break and put ourselves first. Ever flown on an airplane? The answer is yes, I’m sure. Think about how we’re told on flights to place our own oxygen masks before helping others. It’s for a reason. We need to breath healthy oxygen and have clear minds in order to think in order to act – in order to be of help to others. It’s an analogy also used in twelve step groups to show that it is ok to put yourself first; it is not necessarily selfish.
We naturally think it’s bad to put ourselves first, but it’s not. So here’s another exercise. Think of two situations where you need extreme self-care. It could be having a lie-in on Saturday. It could be making a delicious meal. Commit to yourself that you will do it in the next seven days. Write it down. Go on!
And when you’re getting stressed, remember to take a moment to come back down to earth. Because you need to be resilient.
Resilience will help you
  • Bounce back from adversity
  • Overcome the stress of threatening circumstances
  • Adapt successfully to challenges
Resilience is actually genetic – some of us really are more resilient than others, according to Sally. Those who are more resilient tend to be highly committed to the things in our lives. The more threads we have that connect us to our world – friends, family, hobbies, work, societies etc the less we will be rocked when one of those threads breaks. Our zone of control is less highly shaken.
When everything goes wrong, we can control our bodies, thinking and even our feelings.
Sally shares tips for feeling in control:
Permanence: To have a positive and resilient mindset, see negative events as temporary.
Pervasiveness: If one thing is going badly, focus on where things are going well and remember that you are the same person across those situations.
Fully acknowledge the things you can and cannot control.
And finally, forget the three pillars of happiness – some people don’t feel happy but there is something that can be more important.
The five pillars of wellbeing (PERMA)
  1. Positive emotion
  2. Engagement
  3. Relationships
  4. Meaning
  5. Achievement
In this exercise (PDF attached at the bottom), take two coloured pens and mark your score in those areas (each ring is 25% with the lowest percentile in the centre. Make a mark in the correct ring for you, under that category). Do one colour for you and another colour for work in order to see where you’re at.
How perfect is your circle? Now think about how to move towards where you want to be.
What went well
Here’s an exercise to do every night. When something scores low, think about what your wish would be to change it. Doing this will help you to get your ideas and sense of gratitude in order. While this exercise seems simple, let it become a practice and it will really help. It will become part of your natural approach to looking at things in your life; it breeds positivity.
Respond don’t react
Don’t let your emotions take control of your behaviour. If you’re afraid, it’s because you think you’re facing a saber tooth tiger. But you always control your breathing and your body, so take control and loose the fight or flight response. Breath, smile, deflect and decide.
(You don’t need to be unemotional – process your emotions).
Mindfulness exercises are plentiful
Shut your eyes and practice your smile without interruption.
Hormones can also help:
  • Connect with people and it releases Oxytocin along with sentiments of trust, loyalty and openness.
  • Laugh, serotonin gives perspective and stops you from muffling your words.
  • Be mindful, it lowers the stress hormone of Cortisol. Slow down, don’t get bowled along by life.
  • Exercise gives endorphins, which gives women a bigger hit than men. Just move around and feel more euphoric.
Well after an hour of inspiration, it’s time to STOP.
  • Sit
  • Take a breath
  • Observe
  • Prioritise

There’s a great list of short, tweeted takeaways here:
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