What we’ve learned from 100 Time Auction Mentors

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Time Auction was born out of a quarter-life crisis.

3 years ago, we were at a startup event. Many attendees (ourselves included) were there to explore and answer a question — How do you find your life’s passion and a career you love?

On our way out, we were chatting about the idea of Time Auction. What if we can pick the brains of people who are masters of their craft, while making the world a better place?

That night, we listed out the people we looked up to and kind of knew (“How about our friend’s dad? Or the guy you met at that event last time?”), and sent our first few emails.

Fast forward to today, our first mentor became our Board Director. We got our charity status, raised donations, and grew to a team of 8. Over 11,000 volunteer hours were raised featuring Allan Zeman and Anson Chan among many others. More than 230 charities were benefited with extra helping hands. Some of our attendees switched career or study fields with what they’ve learned.

We made our grandmas proud by being on newspapers. Jim Thompson and Ming Wai Lau became our advisors. We’ve done most of these on a part-time basis and realized that having a side hustle is possible. Personally, we’ve learned many valuable lessons which have shaped who we are today.

Here are our favourite takeaways.

#1 They craft out the capacity to think

Aaron Lee (Founder, Dash Serviced Suites) — Plan & Review Your Day

A habit that has significantly improved Aaron’s life? “Micro-planning. I plan my days sometimes to the extent of 15 minutes blocks. Every night before I sleep, I’d review my day. Every Sunday, I’d review my week and plan for the next.” Planning your schedule not only gives you structure to follow through on your goals, but also gives you space for creativity.

Michelle Sun (Founder, First Code Academy) — Choose Growth Over Fear

“Always choose what will grow you the most, instead of what you fear.” Taking a leap of faith, Michelle left banking to study coding in the U.S., worked at various startups before starting First Code Academy. When making life decisions, we always have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. Most often, the path we fear is what will grow us most. Before making a decision, ask yourself, are you guided by fear or by growth?

Belinda Koo (Founder, XYZ & Managing Director, UBS) — Reflect & Introspect Often

As an entrepreneur, banker and mother of three, Belinda lives by the motto of “Be an asset, not a liability”. What drives her is a goal of reaching a stage called Immanence, which is when one develops a strong spiritual mindset and links what they are doing to how they are giving back to their community, God or the Universe. As a practitioner of mindfulness and meditation, she shares that reaching such milestones come from a huge amount of reflection and introspection. Declutter your mind and listen to your inner wisdom regularly.

Tony Cheng (Founder, Drawing Room Concepts) — Make Time To Think

Despite the busy schedule of running multiple restaurants, Tony regularly schedules time just to think and reflect, which is often when great ideas come by. Prioritize the time to brainstorm, so you won’t get into the lazy trap of being too busy to focus on things that matter most.

#2 They own their education

Renée Boey (Founder, Baker & Bloom) — Learn On The Go

Renée dedicates at least 1 hour per day just to learn. Think you don’t have an extra hour? She listens to podcasts on her commute. Since then, we’ve switched listening to music to podcasts every morning (Renée’s recommendation: The Tim Ferriss Show, How to Start a Startup). No extra time needed, we definitely recommend this way to learn!

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Fritz Demopoulos (Co-founder, Qunar) — Learn 3 Things From Everyone You Meet

Fritz’s advice to everyone was to learn 3 things from everyone you meet. Here are 3 of our favorite takeaways from Fritz:

  1. “An entrepreneur has two roles: one is brutal execution and the second is resource extraction in a very efficient way.” If you are doing things that fall into these two categories, it is a good use of your time.
  2. How to stand out to investors? “These founders you can see the electric in their fingers, they’re almost shaking .” Passion is critical and what you can’t lie about.
  3. “Focus on areas others weren’t focusing on — perhaps ideas that people think were stupid and so were overlooked.”

Cindy Chow (Executive Director, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund) — Learn by Going Out of Your Comfort Zone

Started as an accountant, how did Cindy end up leading the HK$1 Billion Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund? By actively seeking out opportunities outside of her comfort zone from the beginning of her career — diving into Tech and China Mobile industries before they became mainstream. Most of us fear change because of the uncertainty, however the only way to grow is to constantly take on new challenges.

Guy Bradley (Chief Executive, Swire Properties) — Learn Outside of Your Scope

Guy joined the Swire group in 1987 and when he became the Director of Swire properties in 2008, he still took the initiative to study and become a Chartered Surveyor, just to learn about the technical side of the business. In today’s evolving business world, a mindset of lifelong learning is essential whether you’re a junior member or a CEO.

Ray Chan (Co-founder, 9GAG) — Learn From All Businesses

9GAG is one of the most visited websites in the world, and Ray still spends much of his time thinking about ideas. In particular, observing successful businesses outside of the tech field — Why is a café or TV channel more popular than another? There might be commonalities that you can apply to your own business. Recognising patterns helps you become more creative.

Jennifer Ma (Co-founder, ARCH Education) — Craft Your Own Curriculum

When Jennifer leaped from banking to education, it didn’t happen overnight. Jennifer spent 6 months researching the education industry, travelling to Oxford and Cambridge to talk to professors, working in a public secondary school in Hong Kong before creating ARCH with her own curriculum. Before diving in to start your own business, perhaps you can create your own real-world “MBA” for hands-on experience and to test assumptions.

#3 They value people above all else

Joe Ngai (Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company Greater China) — The Power of Influence

“In the age of information, the ability to influence is the most un-commoditised element.” Joe shares that at the highest level, consulting is about change. In this information age, the hardest part isn’t about coming up with the solution, but the ability to influence others to change.

Gary Liu (CEO, SCMP) — Measure Your Life In Impact

Gary pursuits life with a goal — to leave all the people he encounters in life better off than when he first found them. “That means I don’t chase after money or fame or power, but all I’m looking for is that kind of mentality in life.” Our lives aren’t measured in years. They’re measured in the lives of the people we touch around us. How will you measure yours?

Tom Mehrmann (former CEO, Ocean Park) — Leaders Speak Last

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” is Tom’s leadership motto. In order to turn around Ocean Park and change company culture, he was the first CEO to eat at the staff canteen, dressed up as one of the ghosts on Halloween nights, to go on great lengths to hear everyone’s thoughts before weighing in with his own. Practice listen first and be the last to speak, which is good advice no matter who you’re speaking to.

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Christine Loh (former Under Secretary of the Environment, Hong Kong Government) — Your Hobbies Create Your Own Unique Network

If you’ve ever wondered how a Commodities Trader become a Legislative Council member and Under Secretary of the Environment, we’ve got the answer. “I had a secret nightlife — I loved talking about public policy with a group of friends who share the same interests.” Christine loved it so much that when there was an opening at the government, she was offered the job. Your unique network is created from your hobbies. Find your tribe!

Dr. Guy Look (CFO, Sa Sa) — People Skills Are Real Skills

What’s one skill that the CFO of Sa Sa wish he had known better? “How to better judge and trust people. You can learn hard skills through reading. However the soft skills, the human relationships — knowing who to work with, or how to work with people, are not as easily taught.” We can all agree that hard skills are critical, yet skills like influence, communication and emotional intelligence is what makes the difference between a thriving team with a strong culture and one that just survives.

Garic Kwok (Director of Business Development, Taipan Bread & Cakes) — Choose a Career, Choose a Life

“You have to understand the values people have in the industry, which you can tell by the quality of their personal life. Then think about if this is the life you want?” When choosing your career, you have to consider if you identify with the industry’s shared values and lifestyle norms. As work makes up 80,000 hours of our lives, you career has a larger influence on you beyond purely the work scope.

Ronald Chan (Founder, Chartwell Capital) — How to Make a First Impression with Warren Buffet

How did a fund manager from Hong Kong ended up writing a book with and on Warren Buffett? “If you want to make an impression, either be the first person or the last.” Driven by excitement, Ronald was always the first person in line to meet and greet Buffett at his annual shareholders’ meetings, which made quite an impression on the legendary value investor. This led to a conversation, and then support and endorsement from Buffett for Ronald to write the book “Behind the Berkshire Hathaway Curtain: Lessons from Warren Buffett’s Top Business Leaders”. Genuine sincerity and desire to learn are golden truths that always stand true.

Win Mak (CEO, Mirum Hong Kong) — Look Beyond The Digital

With over 20 years of serving businesses (from Arsenal to Wynn Resorts) in digital marketing, Win says it all boils down to one thing — human connection. As a brand, are you speaking to your fans in an authentic way? Will they stand with you after a viral campaign? Digital marketing is, after all, just a means to an end.

#4 They explore by doing

Maaike Steinebach (Chief Executive, Hong Kong, Commonwealth Bank) — Get Out of Your Head

With 20+ years in banking, having lived in Holland, Shanghai and Hong Kong, Maaike’s urge for young people is to speak up. There is so much talk about how stressful it is to look for a job, yet on the other end, she reminds us how much they need young people with ideas. Do you have ideas that only stay in your head?

Leonie Valentine (Managing Director, Sales & Operations, Google Hong Kong) — Explore, Consolidate & Accelerate

“Your 20s are about exploration, 30s for consolidation, and 40s for acceleration.” Leonie had her quarter-life crisis early, exploring many career options when she was young. Looking back, that exploratory period was time well spent, where she chose the path that was most interesting, rather than a predetermined one. In a world of instant gratification and on-demand everything, we sometimes forget that good things take time. It’s okay to not have everything figured out by your 30s. Take time in your 20s to explore, understand yourself and what drives you.

Allison Baum (Managing Partner, Fresco Capital) — Tips on Career Change

Going from investment banking in New York, to launching General Assembly in Hong Kong and now Managing Director at Fresco Capital, we learned that career change isn’t easy. It takes action (lots of people to meet and interviews with companies), patience (it’s not easy to find an exciting and suitable opportunity if you have a good and secure job), and courage (trusting your gut feeling and taking a leap of faith). If you want to venture into a new path, are you one of the few that take action?

Sandra Leung (COO of Market Development & Head of Issuer Services, HKEX) — The Art of Asking

An accomplished young lady in many ways, Sandra says the key to achieving your dreams lies in the art of asking. “If you want to win a lottery, you have to buy a ticket. I rarely say I want to do this, but I haven’t even taken a baby step towards it.” Every big accomplishment is just a series of small wins. Progress is made one step at a time. Take the first step.

Gary Ngan (CFO, Meitu) — Find Uncommon Ways to Destination

When Gary was applying for Ivy League universities, one of the criteria was to demonstrate passion in sports. With no sports background, he figured the quickest way is to master scuba-diving by living on a boat for 3 months, which eventually helped him get accepted into University of Pennsylvania. With the mindset of “Think out of the box, find uncommon ways to get to where you want to be”, Gary became CFO of Meitu at just 28. In Peter Thiel’s words, “How can you achieve your 10-year plan in the next 6 months?”

#5 They have a side hustle

Arthur Chow (Co-founder, 6waves) — The Importance of Fun Side Projects

While Arthur was working at Turner Broadcasting, he started a side project with friends for fun — a game to play on Facebook for you to guess which Stephen Chow movie a line is from. This viral game became the basis of 6waves, the leading mobile game publisher today with presence across Asia and U.S. Never underestimate your fun side projects, as what you truly enjoy doing might be what you would do best in!

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Antony Leung (Chairman & CEO, Nan Fung Group) — Always Work 2–3 Jobs

Antony has had a thriving career spanning across finance, public service and startups. At any given point in time, he’s always held more than 2 jobs at once. “So I can learn twice as much. Once you stop learning, you’re dead!” This interdisciplinary exposure gives him T-shaped knowledge: breadth (perspective) and depth (expertise), which helps him connect the dots and be more creative.

Thomas Chou (Partner, Morrison & Foerster) — Giving is an Energizer

As a busy lawyer and partner at a leading law firm, Thomas regularly spends a proportion of his time helping non-profits and startups. This energizes him and gives balance to his busy lifestyle. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone incorporates giving as part of their lifestyle?

#6 They don’t see setbacks as failure

Alex Kong (Founder, TNG Wallet) — Persevere at Rock Bottom

Alex’s life story is a roller coaster ride — Born into a humble family, Alex has made millions building tech companies, owning private jets at the age of 35 before losing it all in an unjust lawsuit. Picking himself up from rock bottom, he founded TNG Wallet, now Hong Kong’s biggest e-wallet with over half a million downloads. It is only possible as he truly lives up to his advice: persevere and never, ever give up.

Ming Wai Lau (Chairman, Commission on Youth) — The Astronaut Philosophy in Tackling Moonshot Goals

Creating a youth policy for Hong Kong is a long journey with an uncertain chance of success, and Ming Wai lives a philosophy he learned from an astronaut to help him deal with setbacks. “How to become an astronaut? His advice was not to go become a pilot or join NASA. It was a philosophical advice which applies to most things in life. First, you have to enjoy the process of trying. Second, you have to accept the high chance of failing. If you can do both, it’s worth it.” Success isn’t guaranteed to the smart man or the lucky man; it takes a persistent man who never thought he was defeated.

Timothy Yu (Founder, Snapask) — Success is Defined by Failures

“Don’t listen to anyone, your parents or teachers. Success is something you define — it’s defined by tons of failures, until you can find a formula of success.” Having heard thousands of times that “this would not work” from growing Snapask, the 25-year-old entrepreneur kept his head low and worked hard, growing Snapask to over half a million users in Asia. As Tim said, “If it makes you a better person instead of having a better CV — then you’re on the right way!”

Jess Yeung (Co-founder, GinZeng) — Figure Out the Root Cause

How do you know when to quit and when to keep going? “If the failure is caused by a wrong fundamental assumption, we have to re-evaluate the whole business idea. Otherwise, if the root cause is more related to personal issue or the environment, we have to overcome it rather than giving up.” It is always a fine line between knowing when to give up and when to keep going, checking whether the fundamentals are correct would be a good place to start.

Yin-Man Tang (Investment Strategist) — Choose Your Opponents Wisely

“I like losing as it’ll be the learning ground and basis for your next attempt. You know how much better you have to be.” If you play against an average tennis player to a world champion, who do you think would help you improve faster? Take it from Yin

This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://timeauction.medium.com/what-weve-learned-from-100-time-auction-mentors-777ffde2046b

Updated on 7 May, 2021
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又到咗復活節呢個長假期!大家可能已經plan好去邊到,不過如果你去旅行怕機票貴,去户外活動又怕人多;咁留喺香港放假可以有咩其他節目,令假期過得充實之餘又可以充滿意義呢?以下為大家介紹香港一啲本地嘅義工活動,唔使出門口坐係梳化已經做到技能義工(Skilled-volunteers),適合動靜皆宜嘅你。你仲可以喺服務之中Upgrade自己嘅能力同經驗,一齊捉緊機會為社會出一分力啦! 復活節義工活動推介: 為社會同大自然出力 為有需要嘅青年提供就業諮詢 收集剩餘麵包 復活節義工活動(一):為社會及大自然出力 支援分類捐贈物品 因應最近香港嘅移民潮,傢具棄置問題變得嚴重。其實只要處理得宜,接收同義賣傢具所得嘅錢,可以幫到好多有需要嘅人。 有NGO會不定期都會招募傢具倉務員或捐贈物品支援助理,負責盤點、管理其他人捐贈嘅物品。經驗不限,最重要係你有想為社會出力嘅熱誠。有興趣嘅朋友,即Click入去睇睇佢哋嘅義工項目! 【立即申請】 復活節義工活動(二):想做Mentor?為有需要嘅青年提供就業諮詢 初初步入社會階段,唔少人都對於前境感到迷惘。假若我哋可以遇到一位指導員喺就業上提供建議,一定可以幫佢哋解決好多煩惱,喺分叉路上作出適合嘅選擇。 如果你都有興趣為有需要嘅青少年對象提供職涯諮詢服務,兼可以從中認識到不同背景同興趣嘅朋友,就記得唔好錯過啦! 【立即申請】 復活節義工活動(三):拒絕浪費食物 收集剩餘麵包 有無諗過麵包舖會點樣處理賣剩嘅飽點?會直接唔要,定係其實可以分配俾有需要嘅人? 原來全香港咁多麵包舖,每日收舖都有成千上萬個賣唔晒嘅麵包要送去堆填區!如果你都想出分力減低食物浪費,歡迎一齊拯救剩食,幫手去到本地唔同麵包店收集麵包,再分發畀社區中有需要嘅人士。呢個活動老少咸宜,大家仲可以叫埋家人朋友一齊參與,幫助解決香港食物廢棄問題,為無家者提供食物之外,你仲可以趁機遊歷香港,探索城市嘅更多面向! 【立即申請】 香港義工配對平台推介 想知更多義工服務選擇同詳情, 不妨瀏覽Time Auction技能義工服務配對平台(Skilled-Volunteer Matching Program)!Time Auction喺2014年成立,致力推動義工文化,至今已為本地超過640+ 非牟利機構(NGOs)招募同配對技能義工,而每個禮拜都近100個新義工服務等緊你去報名幫手! 係Time Auction平台上,你更可以從服務範疇、擅長技能、服務所需時數等一站式篩選、搜尋到最啱你、符合你專長嘅義工服務;兼且可以記錄服務時數,換取各種千載難逢嘅獎賞體驗! 立即探索更多!
【想支持食物回收?】Time Auction搵到符合你專長嘅義工服務
由細到大屋企人都教我哋「食得唔好嘥」,不過有時候都少不免會浪費食物,尤其是餐廳同超級市場等等。其實如果將呢啲剩餘食物妥善分配同處理,可以幫到好多有需要嘅人。有無打算做技能義工 (Skilled-volunteers),利用自己嘅專長同興趣回饋社會?以下為大家介紹一下喺香港與「食物回收」有關嘅非牟利機構 (NGO),從而對佢地有更多認識之餘,仲可以了解多啲佢哋嘅服務同理念: 樂餉社 Feeding Hong Kong 樂餉社將食物從豐富的地方帶到有需要的地方,幫助有需要嘅人。 惜食堂 Food Angel 惜食堂係以「不浪費,不飢餓,有愛」為使命,拯救可食用嘅剩餘食物,並準備成營養豐富嘅熱餐,重新分配比香港嘅弱勢群體。 聖雅各福群會 St. James' Settlement FOOD-CO FOOD-CO嘅目標係通過技術和數據分析嘅進步,以更有效嘅方式促進食物捐贈,與志同道合嘅伙伴為扶貧徵集資源,培養節約同分享嘅文化,旨在減少食物浪費,創造更美好嘅生活環境。 膳心連基金 Breadline x Foodlink Foundation Breadline 係香港首創嘅食物救援公共數碼平台,主要合作夥伴為非政府組織和麵包店連鎖店合作,自 2 年前開始以黎,已經回收超過 100,000 個麵包,為生活貧困嘅人提供營養餐。  GREEN Hospitality GREEN Hospitality 係一個將酒店業、學術界、非營利部門、初創企業同政府聚集嘅平台,通過創新、協作同研究分享知識、建立聯盟同尋找解決方案。 認識左香港幾間同食物回收相關嘅機構後,如果想幫手又應該點揀到啱自己專長嘅義工服務?完全唔駛擔心!除左傳統嘅海灘清潔、賣旗、探訪外,宜家嘅義工服務已經比以前更多元化!想支持食物回收嘅你,即刻睇下有咩新穎有趣嘅服務可以出一分力: 義工服務(一):麵包回收員(Bread Runner) 每日香港都會有3,250噸食物浪費,被棄置到堆填區。當中尤其是麵包連鎖店,都會有唔少嘅賣剩麵包。如果可以出分力,幫手收集方便機構再分配,已經可以減小食物浪費!義工只需要去到最方便你嘅區域,向Bread Runner計劃合作嘅麵包店收集賣剩嘅麵包,一晚2小時就可以完成!而且呢個義工項目可以一次性或間中支持,更容易係時間上作出安排! 【立即申請】 義工服務(二):攝影師(Photographer) 有無諗過識影相嘅你,都可以為食物回收出分力?例如香港有相關嘅NGO就有食物處理中心,作為回收可食用嘅剩餘食物,並準備成營養豐富嘅熱餐,重新分配比香港嘅弱勢群體。為咗俾更加多人認識回收嘅過程,你嘅攝影技能就可以幫到機構進一步推廣佢地嘅工作同理念,甚至方便機構係日後用係Marketing宣傳上,令更多人可以重視剩餘食物嘅資源分配。鍾意影相嘅朋友,就唔好錯過啦! 【立即申請】 義工服務(三):傳單設計師(Leaflet Designer) 本身做開Marketing(市場營銷)同Graphic Design(平面設計)嘅朋友,有冇諗過幫手設計宣傳物資都係義工嘅一種?例如係幫機構簡單設計並構思平價嘅食譜,向大眾宣傳節約同分享嘅文化精神。可以利用自己設計(Design)嘅專長去推廣有意義嘅食物文化,快D click入去睇下相關嘅project幫手啦! 【立即申請】 香港義工配對平台推介 想知更多義工服務選擇同詳情,不妨瀏覽Time Auction技能義工服務配對平台 (Skilled-Volunteer Matching Program)!Time […]
【想支持性別平等?】Time Auction搵到符合你專長嘅義工服務
自上世紀後期開始,香港社會逐步邁向性別平等 (Gender equality),透過《性別歧視條例》、《殘疾歧視條例》、《家庭崗位歧視條例》同《種族歧視條例》嘅法例落實,保障所有人免受基於性別、懷孕、婚姻狀況、殘疾、家庭崗位同種族歧視,而女性喺法律、社會、經濟等嘅地位亦有所提升。 不過,社會上仍然存有性騷擾、性別歧視等問題,而性小眾 (包括LGBTQIA+) 權益亦係近年嘅社會議題,需要社會各界共同努力同提高關注,推動性別多元文化。以下為大家推介一啲喺香港關注性別平等嘅非牟利機構 (NGO),俾你了解一下佢哋嘅服務同理念: 性別空間 Gender Empowerment 性別空間係一個支援跨性別 (Transgender) 社群嘅慈善自助組織,透過邀請專業人士就各種關於性嘅專題進行分享,並提供心理輔導,以幫助跨性別人士融入社會及解決性別上嘅疑難或困擾。 青躍 Teen's Key Hong Kong 青躍是一個完全由年輕女性領導、幫助弱勢青少女嘅非牟利團體,關注年輕女性嘅性與生育健康,致力協助弱勢年青女性學習新技能、實踐理想同活得自信自在。 Resolve Foundation Resolve Foundation 致力培育來自邊緣社群嘅社區領袖,透過社會公義育才計劃同工作坊,改變了有關社群人士嘅生命路向,為香港社會帶來正面改變。 婦女基金會 The Women's Foundation 婦女基金會致力改善香港婦女同女童生活,透過舉辦多個社區項目改變社會對性別嘅刻板印象、提升女性喺決策過程中嘅影響力,使女性能夠達到經濟獨立自足、成為未來嘅成功領袖。 關注婦女性暴力協會 The Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women 關注婦女性暴力協會由一群關心婦女權益嘅人士所組成,希望透過危機支援、法律諮詢服務和教育活動等,促使政府及公眾人士正視婦女遭受性暴力的問題,讓受害婦女重過有自信同自尊嘅生活。 以上幾間針對性別平等嘅機構都不時需要技能義工 (Skilled volunteer) 支持運作,如果你都想出一分力,可以考慮以下各類型嘅義工服務,或者直接按【立即申請】睇下最新嘅技能義工服務機會! 義工服務(一):電話熱線義工(Hotline Volunteer) 電話熱線義工主要提供情緒支援同相關嘅資訊協助,聆聽致電人士(如面對家暴、性暴力和歧視等問題)嘅困難同需要,並提供例如危機處理技巧等實質協助。義工將會需要先接受基礎同深入嘅培訓,以幫助有需要人士度過難關。 【立即申請】 義工服務(二):榜樣義工(Role Model Volunteer) 一個好榜樣對個人成長非常重要!佢哋嘅經驗同心得分享可以啟發其他人。榜樣義工其實比較類似坊間嘅師友計劃,主要係透過互動交流,鼓勵參加者建立自信心同正面嘅態度面對生活上唔同問題、逆境,同時發掘自己嘅潛能,實現夢想。如果你都想支持下一代出一分力,尤其打破社會對唔同性別嘅枷鎖、標籤,幫佢地建立自信,就快D報名啦~ 【立即申請】 義工服務(三):創業分享講者 (Entrepreneurial Guest Speaker) […]
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