Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary | Bryan Fok, Swire Trust Go-Givers of 2022
Together with Time Auction, the Swire Trust Go-Givers Program encourages skilled volunteers for Swire Trust NGO partners from 2020 to 2022. 10 outstanding volunteers will be selected annually as the “Swire Trust Go-Givers of the Year” with special rewards & recognition. Meet our 10 Go-Givers of 2022!
Practising law has always been a popular choice among aspiring students. Some are fascinated by the eloquence of barristers in the court, while others are charmed by the meticulousness of solicitors who are often buried under piles of legal documents. Yet, after they have progressed from “aspiring” to “successful,” what next steps await them? For Bryan Fok, it is to go from “successful” to “meaningful.”
A new case
Being a practising lawyer specializing in commercial law, Bryan is experienced not only through cases from his law firm but also through the Free Legal Advice Scheme of the Duty Lawyer Service. Bryan is no stranger to using his skills and profession to help others.
So when he learned about Time Auction from his friends, he immediately searched the volunteer matching platform to see if there were any suitable opportunities. Soon, he found that the Sunnyside Club was seeking a legal and governance advisor. Undoubtedly, Bryan found his perfect match with the Sunnyside Club.
Established by volunteers from the Cathay Pacific Group, the Sunnyside Club is a Hong Kong charity dedicated to supporting disabled children and their families through sponsoring special equipment and organizing festive activities. Concretely and vividly, the NGO’s mission is to "put smiles on faces."
A seemingly ordinary project
Since the Sunnyside Club’s establishment over two decades ago, its Articles of Association have remained unchanged. Accordingly, the NGO’s committee would like a legal expert to overhaul its existing operation, update its guiding policies, and recommend suitable future paths. Ultimately, they hope to build a modern legal infrastructure to operate smoothly and generate the most significant possible impact on their targeted service users. Fortunately, Bryan can offer precisely such expertise.
As the old saying goes, “every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” Indeed, unforeseen problems turned into new opportunities as they started the project. At their first meeting, where Bryan listed out everything to be done, the NGO was shocked to know that they had largely underestimated the workload and complexity of this task.
This problem, however, posed a new opportunity for both the Sunnyside Club and Bryan: the NGO could recruit another volunteer into its organization to share the work. At the same time, Bryan could get a chance to work with different people outside of his firm. Bryan’s volunteer partner - a fresh graduate of law - offered him an alternative perspective on the industry’s landscape by sharing the new challenges which young lawyers face nowadays. Later, they developed a long-lasting mentor relationship as the aspiring lawyer asked Bryan for career advice.
Bringing extraordinary impact
Undoubtedly, such professional collaboration led to fruitful results. “Bryan is very committed and dedicated to helping us to revisit the details of Sunnyside Club Limited's Articles,” commended Vivian from the Sunnyside Club. “He produced a detailed and high-quality comparison summary of different aspects and made recommendations for every aspect for our consideration.”
Not only are the project’s outcomes reflected in the NGO’s updated Articles but also in how Bryan sees pro-bono work. “It is different from my daily work as these NGOs will not be fee-paying clients, and their concerns are very different since they are charities,” he explained. For example, these NGOs are not hoping to maximise profit with legal advice. As a result, Bryan can use his professional knowledge in an entirely different context when advising NGOs. “I think using my existing knowledge for new purposes is an interesting combination.”
This new purpose is also given further meaning through the Swire Trust Go-Givers of the Year award. Being nominated for this recognition, Bryan is delighted to know that his volunteer work is valued by the NGO, which thanked Bryan: “We truly appreciate his professionalism and expertise in the legal advice offered to us, which is of great help. His patience, can-do spirit, and endless support to Sunnyside Club meant a lot to us.”
Most importantly, by receiving this award, Bryan wants to become a role model.
“I want to show other people that what you do at work can also be used to help others outside of work."
By encouraging more people to volunteer, the impact of one single person can be multiplied infinitely. Indeed, doing something “meaningful” is not only limited to oneself or one NGO, but it can also be for all via volunteerism.
Thank you so much to Bryan for contributing 40 volunteer hours & beyond at the Sunnyside Club!
To see details of the Swire Trust Go-Givers Program and support their NGO partners, head over to Time Auction website.
Written by Margaret Ng, Volunteer Copywriter