Community Spotlight: Anne Wong, Finance Professional

Curious about what volunteerism and Time Auction events are all about? Meet our community who has shared their memorable experiences in their volunteering journey and meetings with our featured guests!

Meet Anne Wong!

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Anne has been working in the banking and financial sector for years and took a career break in 2016. During this period, she frequently volunteered and discovered Time Auction through Hands On Hong Kong — a platform that lines up a variety of NGOs, serving children, the elderly, low-income families, people with disabilities, and environmental issues.

With the surplus of time on her hands, Anne volunteered over 100 hours and attended more than 10 Time Auction events. She enjoyed meeting mentors and participants across various industries which she otherwise would not have had the chance to meet.

Anne’s Volunteer Journey

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Anne has extensive volunteer experience, working with the elderly, primary school students, physically handicapped and mildly disabled.

At the elderly centre, handicraft workshops were organized to keep their minds sharp. At the weekend school, they offered English classes for children from low-income families, where a broad range of topics was discussed, encouraging students to practice their written and oral English skills whilst learning about various industries, inspiring them for their future.

Anne also volunteered for the physically handicapped, assisting them when they need to leave their dorms or go on field trips. There were also classes sponsored by HandsOn, which promoted activities for the intellectually disabled such as latte art, teaching them something new and gain interest in a new field to become a barista.

In addition to frontline volunteering, Anne also worked backline on a pro bono project, researching which organizations in Hong Kong to collaborate with for fundraising. It is only through fundraising which Hands On could sponsor activities such as the Latte Art Class which required financial support. Aside from that aspect, HandsOn is an efficient hub, lining up individual and corporate volunteers with lesser-known NGOs.

Career vs Volunteering

“Volunteering is a huge contrast to my banking job, where I was facing computers and speaking to people for work.”

Anne shared through volunteering she was able to communicate with people across all walks of life and fields. It broadened her horizons, allowing her to learn more about things she previously ignored or did not have the opportunity to learn about. Her break gave her time to recuperate and explore volunteering, helping the less fortunate and getting to know them better.

Even though Anne returned to the banking industry, her volunteer experience left an impact on the way she lived and how she related to others.

Most Memorable Volunteer Experience?

Anne recalls a trip to the outer island for the physically disabled which was canceled by the NGO due to poor weather conditions. Since the trip was canceled, they decided to watch a movie at Olympian City.

There were 5 volunteers and up to 10 secondary school students with varying levels of disabilities. Some were able to walk slowly, others required a wheelchair — it took them 1.5 hours from the Central ferry pier to Olympic Station. The journey took longer than expected since the pier was far from IFC, they had to find the location of the lifts which could only hold one wheelchair at a time.

This led Anne to evaluate how difficult it was for the physically disabled to go out, who needed financial support or help from others to do so. It also opened her eyes on the difficulties faced by the underprivileged. Now, whenever she sees someone in a wheelchair, elderly or anyone that needs help she would look back at that experience and rush to their assistance.

“Like most people in Hong Kong, I used to think that earning money and owning property came first. After volunteering, money and status seem less important.”

Volunteering changed Anne’s perceptions, she gained a newfound appreciation for her life, had sympathy and was able to give back to those less fortunate.

What Anne learned from Time Auction Experiences

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Anne never thought she would have the chance to meet with Anson Chan, the first Chief Secretary of Hong Kong. Hearing firsthand from people you see on the news, TV or interviews was particularly memorable. Mrs. Chan answered questions from work, family, retirement to personal views. It was a remarkable opportunity to learn from her and Anne admired how she chose to stay active, engaging with the community even during retirement and had a spirit of insisting on one’s own belief. Politics aside, Mrs. Chan was highly involved in different public issues in recent years which inspired Anne, knowing that there were many things she could do when she reached retirement.

Anne also attended other Time Auction events where she learned about management from the mentors at Google and Swire Properties. It encouraged her to put herself in their shoes, imagining if she would do the same.

Opportunities Waiting to be Explored

Even though Hong Kong is developed, the ranking amongst Asian countries for volunteering is quite low. Anne shared the public either doesn’t have an urge to take part or unaware of how to volunteer due to a lack of promotion of these opportunities. For those looking to volunteer, platforms such as Social Career, and Hands On Hong Kong are available. Time Auction can also be a catalyst to motivate people to volunteer in order to meet a particular celebrity or professional.

Thanks Anne for volunteering 183 hours to charities and joining 18 Time Auction experiences!

To see our upcoming experiences, head over to the Time Auction website!

Interviewed and written by Cindy Chan | Edited by Fleur Hui

This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://timeauction.medium.com/community-spotlight-anne-wong-finance-professional-eca9ee8286fb

Updated on 8 April, 2021
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