Advice from a CEO whisperer — Dinner with Lale Kesebi, TED speaker and CEO advisor

1lsbBFRyC8ncaz6QR4tXp A scaled
Dinner with Lale has raised 127 volunteer hours

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures.

Many of us expect CEOs to be masters at problem solving and strategizing for their businesses. But when problems become too hard or the situation too bleak for even them, who can they turn to for advice? Enter Lale Kesebi, professional TED speaker and CEO whisperer.

With over 2 decades of experience under her belt, Lale has worked in over 40 countries and with top-level management in various organizations (including Li & Fung, the world’s largest supply chain management company) to drive organizational transformation. She now uses this valuable insight and experience to advise CEOs in their time of need.

In addition to giving advice to CEOs and doing TED talks, she’s also on the board of The Women’s Foundation and as trustee of the Asian University for Women.

Over dinner, Lale shared some of the advice she gives CEOs and talked about the key events that brought her where she is today.

Is there a habit that has improved your life greatly?

Sleeping 7–8 hours and eating breakfast. I think the craziest thing about Hong Kong people is the amount of sleep they get: 5–6 hours is not enough. I guess that’s why everyone sleeps on the MTR. I believe in prioritizing sleeping a bit more.

Although I do sleep 7–8 hours, it does mean I will be able concentrate more and be far more efficient when I am working in the day.

15UAv2d609TiCW2Ui6eb1pQ scaled
1jeim5bNnkfpZDFZkibPHkw scaled

Is there any advice you have for college students who are heading into society?

Ignore anything that runs counter to your personal values. Be it your values integrity, trust, honesty or helping other people.

If a choice appears that runs against these values, it isn’t a choice at all.

Never be untrue or unkind to yourself, stand by your principles.

What has been the hardest life lesson for you to learn?


You might not believe it, but I was a very impatient person in my youth. Perhaps it was the energy I once had; it made me want to make things happen right away. But my children taught me patience and being able to learn patience was a huge gift to my life.

1EpQguDyrRmn8DYTDxFBTGA scaled
1D3UFmB3s319Dx q4WLV9Rg scaled
1 G3woWFThnKZR6Cr8 tKbg scaled
1q6wtwb1bOqGnbgNIvSJR5A scaled
1EpQguDyrRmn8DYTDxFBTGA scaled

What is one action you want everyone here to take away?

Go change the world. And don’t wait for five years later, a year later or even tomorrow.

Go out now and change the world.

You are all beautiful, competent, talented and compassionate people. Go out there unleash your gift and don’t wait ‘til tomorrow to do it and make this world a better place.

12Hc9uyqcYuwFx9bcvSilqQ scaled

Thank you Lale for donating dinner and raising 127 volunteer hours to Food Angel, ImpactHK and more!

These awesome photos are brought to you by Steve Hung from Kachick and hats off to The Hive Studios for the wonderful venue.

For more amazing opportunities, visit Time Auction to volunteer and meet inspiring mentors!

This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium:

Updated on 8 April, 2021
Share on

Volunteer Your Skills for Worthy Causes

Ever thought you could volunteer with your skills?

Discover volunteer projects where you can use your skills to support causes – all while building your resume, gaining references and making a difference!
Discover Projects
你對「做義工」嘅認識有幾多?好多人都未必熟悉除咗賣旗籌款同探訪老人院之外,仲有咩其他類型嘅義工服務。究竟坊間有邊啲做義工嘅途徑,可以搵到適合自己嘅義工機會呢? 其實香港大大小小嘅慈善團體或非牟利機構  (NGO) 都會招募義工,而非牟利機構嘅義工服務範疇亦非常多元化,包括技能義工 (Skilled-volunteers),善用義工嘅個人技能同專長服務社會。你可以根據唔同嘅服務種類,或者按自己嘅喜好、關心嘅社會議題選擇義工機會。以下係5種常見嘅義工服務範疇同機構簡介畀你參考: 目錄 (一):動物福利 (二):長者服務 (三):青年發展 (四):環境保護 (五):社區服務 技能義工配對平台推介 常見嘅義工服務範疇(一):動物福利 如果你係狗奴、貓奴,或者鍾意動物,不妨考慮做動物義工!除咗有機會親身接觸毛孩之外,仲可以利用自己嘅一技之長,支援NGO嘅日常運作。雖然根據政府公佈的數據,動物棄養嘅數量有持續下降趨勢,但因近年的移民潮影響,保護動物慈善協會表示棄養寵物個案兩年升近三倍。因此,很多關注動物福利的團體都十分需要義工加入服務行列。 義工服務性質:清潔籠舍、照顧動物、活動推廣等 香港動物基金 Hong Kong Paws Foundation 香港動物基金係一間完全依靠慈善捐款同義工支持嘅動物福祉組織,希望拯救被虐待、遺棄同走失嘅動物。 香港愛護動物協會 SPCA (HK) 香港愛護動物協會係本港首間兼顧動物福利各方面嘅慈善團體,提倡善待動物,同時打擊同防止虐待動物。 Bring Me Home (Suppaw) Bring Me Home (Suppaw) 係一個寵物社交網站,亦係香港首個無償動物領養平台。 嘉道理農場暨植物園 Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden 嘉道理農場暨植物園為需要支持的農民提供農業援助,幫助他們過上獨立嘅生活; 並為公眾提供休閒同教育體驗。  Team for Animals in Lantau South (TAILS) 南大嶼山動物保護隊為有需要的貓狗提供救援、醫療、絕育、養育、庇護、寄養同領養服務,包括那些 流浪、被遺棄、受傷、虐待同忽視既貓狗,大力提倡動物福利,相信教育可以創造有利於香港動物嘅變革。 立即發掘更多! 常見嘅義工服務範疇(二):長者服務 隨著香港長者人口上升,越來越多關注老人家嘅機構都招募緊義工,希望為老友記送上更多關懷。 義工服務性質:家居維修、網頁設計、文字翻譯等 […]