What is your role as a governance professional?
‘As a governance professional working for a German automaker in Hong Kong, I am responsible for reviews of guidelines and process flows to advise business units on process improvements, to ensure compliance at the local level and to raise employees’ awareness of compliance issues via training and newsletters. I am also responsible for monitoring the design and effectiveness of internal controls, identifying any weaknesses in these controls, and reporting on risks and/or opportunities and countermeasures.’
What was your career path to your current role?
‘I started my career in the legal department of a Hong Kong listed company. That gave me the opportunity to learn about company secretarial matters, in particular how to build and maintain corporate compliance programmes, and I became interested in pursuing a career in compliance. Then I joined the regional compliance office of a global medical devices company. This gave me the opportunity to widen my horizons during site visits and industry conferences in Asia Pacific countries.’
What value does governance bring to organisations and to wider society?
‘In addition to ensuring compliance with rules and regulations and building effective internal control frameworks, governance stems from a set of values. Those values are translated into action through the interaction among individuals, companies and wider society. Individuals need to possess good virtues (such as integrity, fairness and honesty) and apply them at work by following their moral compass. At a corporate level, those values become an integral part of a corporate culture. Individuals need to have the mindset to act responsibly, to build respect and trust. At a societal level, people need to abide by best practice in diversity and sustainability.’
What qualities do you think are needed to be a successful governance professional?
‘In this rapidly changing environment, governance professionals need to be adaptive and open-minded about embracing change. For example, now that communication is generally not face-to-face, governance professionals need to be responsive to the possibilities of online communication. The ability to speak up encourages feedback, facilitates information exchange and experience-sharing, and builds trust. During interactions with stakeholders, feedback will not always be positive and governance professionals sometimes have the opportunity to prevent harm to the company, effect early remediation and even facilitate beneficial transformation.’
How do you think governance will evolve in the future?
‘As people become more aware of the importance of sustainability and diversity, the need to balance profitqbility with preserving the environment, and taking into account gender equality, workforce diversity and equal opportunity, will be increasingly under a spotlight. Therefore, employees across different business departments will have more i~teractin with governance professionals to meet stakeholder expectations while abiding by laws and regulations.’
What inspires you in your life and work?
‘I am grateful to the mentors who have enriched my life experience, and I look forward to future opportunities and challenges.’
How do you fill your time outside work?
‘I practise meditation, and I also enjoy hiking and reading.’