We travel to Hong Kong office for today’s Sovereign Story where we meet Katy Wong who is a Corporate Services Executive. Katy’s family have deep local roots but she was born and raised 6,000 miles away in England. Potential for another interesting story we thought – and we were not to be disappointed.
Katy explained that her parents are from Hong Kong originally. They were both living in England when they met in Birmingham. Her father had lived in England since childhood and her mother was studying there at the time. Once married the family set up home in Tamworth and Katy arrived “twenty something” years ago joining her older brother to complete the family.
Katy is a Cantonese and Mandarin speaker and graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2015 with a BA Joint Honours in Mandarin Chinese and Media. As part of her studies, she went on a one year exchange in China. She gained a Placement Diploma at Beijing Language & Culture University in the Chinese Language and Literature. Shortly thereafter, Katy made a trip to see her mother’s side of the family who were still living in Hong Kong. Whilst there was a friend (who was at the time working in Sovereign’s Hong Kong office) suggested she take a temporary position with the group. The rest, so the expression has it, is history. Katy is still in place and has been promoted several times since joining Sovereign.
Just eight months after joining, Katy became the Banking Officer and in June 2019 promoted again to Client Relationship Manager. Katy was immensely proud to receive Hong Kong office’s Employee of the Year Award in 2021.
Following a reorganisation last year, her role is now entitled Corporate Services Executive working with four others, each of whom manage their own client portfolio. Aside from the regular client relationship role, she is also responsible for the admin side and thus controls her client requests from the start until successful completion. Most of her clients reside overseas and some use structures in other jurisdictions as well as Hong Kong. Katy therefore gets to interact with many other offices around the group.
In the first few years, Katy made an annual trip to see friends and family back home in England. Due to the pandemic, she has been unable to visit (or indeed travel anywhere else) for three years. She explains that it has been a difficult separation and that she looked forward immensely to her UK trip in February 2023.
Katy feels particularly fortunate living in a village on Lantau Island, which is the largest in Hong Kong and lies at the mouth of the Pearl River. She believes this made enduring the Covid restrictions so much more tolerable as she was able to enjoy the countryside and beach on the island. Her daily commute to the office takes under an hour including a 30-minute ferry ride from “her” island. She remarks that some in the office have questioned whether she tires of the combined bus / ferry trip but as she points out, she avoids the dire traffic. Some of her colleagues take longer just to travel across Hong Kong Island.
When not at work, Katy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, of which she has made some of her closest friends from the Hong Kong office. She is very active and in particular enjoys hiking and wake surfing which is a very popular sport in Hong Kong. She also admits to enjoying being able to laze on the beach and she keeps her tan topped up – something she says that is not so common in Asian people.
The pace of life in Hong Kong is, she explains, so much more frenetic than that in England and as a result, she feels that stress levels are somewhat higher than in the UK. Katy tells us that she is a shy person by nature although we could not see that during our delightful conversation.
Katy ends by saying that she is so pleased to have the opportunity to live in Hong Kong as this is something she had once imagined when she visited the city at a young age. She is very happy there and she plans to stay indefinitely. Might she ever consider returning to the UK to live and work? “Maybe” she replies, “but who can say?” We wish her and her family well as she continues to enjoy life in one of Asia’s most exciting cities.