I joined the Group Staff Management Trainee programme in 2010, and there are still challenges and new opportunities at work every day. I have worked in the leasing and portfolio management of our commercial portfolio in Hong Kong including Cityplaza and Taikoo Place and taken part in a sales launch of our residential properties. I’ve also been involved in the development and valuations team, conducting investment appraisals.
I spent three amazing years in Chengdu, managing our tenants and ensuring the smooth running of our retail development - Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu. I was part of its development phase, so I was able to see it transform from a construction site to a fully-realised development. Its subsequent success has been a source of pride. One of my main responsibilities was to attract tenants and it’s always a joy trying the various cuisines of new restaurants that propose to open there! Now I am back in Hong Kong and working on the exciting Taikoo Place Redevelopment Project.
Being a trainee is a bit like trekking, which I love to do on my weekends with friends. It’s about having an appetite for adventure and jumping headfirst into challenges with an open heart and open mind.
(Natalie used to be a Swire Summer Intern. Read about her experience here.)
I joined the Group Staff Management Trainee Programme in 2011 and new knowledge still flows in every single day, along with many challenges and opportunities. I’ve been Assistant to the General Manager Sales & Distribution in Cathay Pacific Hong Kong, Executive Assistant to Chief Executive of Cathay Dragon, and was posted to Manila as Assistant to Country Manager, Philippines. The obstacles I had to overcome were immense, but the satisfaction also followed in proportion.
All these different experiences and the people I met along the way have helped shape me into the leader I am today. I now lead a team of 20 amazing people as Manager of Chongqing and am responsible for all aspects of the business, which include everything from monitoring sales to ensuring that efficient services are provided for our passenger and cargo flights, from handling people issues to controlling port finances. Next up, I am moving back to Hong Kong to take my new role as Cargo Sales Manager.
Work-life balance is very important to me. There’s always something keeping me busy at work, but away from it, I still manage to live my boyhood dream of playing in a band. My love for music and playing the drums led me to forming the band “Alpha Jam”. Ever since being in Chongqing, it was my personal goal to play in the most popular local live house. I can proudly say that this was achieved recently. It just proves that along with my full-time job, if I commit to something and manage my work and time properly, anything really is possible. And joining this programme was made possible from my Summer Internship experience, which you can read here.
I was the first trainee to be seconded to HAECO and had little knowledge of what exactly my role would entail, let alone having technical skills related to engineering. My first posting was to the Airframe Services Department, where I spent three months working with frontline mechanics on the close inspection, maintenance and overhaul of aircraft. Observing the crews working in sync with one another to reach a common goal was inspiring. It reminded me, in one sense, of an orchestra – that if we work together as a team we can create a masterpiece.
My boss, a previous trainee, has supported me throughout the programme. His consistent input has been invaluable, particularly when I have been given the opportunity to learn first-hand how the business operates by working directly with senior managers in a variety of functions, including HR and Operations.
My love for meeting new people is a great advantage in my position as an Executive Committee member of the Swire Hong Kong Staff Association. I’m currently in charge of organising the annual event. Working on this celebration and bringing people together has been personally fulfilling.
From booking delivery vans and unpacking stock, to creating a marketing campaign for a new brand, my work is an unexpected yet exciting journey. It requires me to be agile, willing to adapt and – above all – humble. But part of the excitement is proving you’re up for the challenge. Swire encourages us to explore our own ideas, to be entrepreneurial. At the moment we’re launching a new coffee product in Hong Kong and Mainland China. I’ll do the market research, work on the packaging design, help source the coffee and develop its flavour. The best part is I get to taste it! It’s important to stay humble, even when you’ve been given such great responsibility. Respect, listening and learning from others is what has helped in my ongoing success. It must come as no surprise that outside of work I’ve begun to take up a variety of classes such as Muay Thai boxing and learning to play golf and guitar. This programme encourages me to include more diversity in my own life.
(Portia has moved to Cathay Pacific in September 2016 to start a new role. Stay tuned for more.)