I attended the American Express Leadership Academy in Hong Kong in 2015. At the time I was working as Executive Director for HandsOn Hong Kong, an NGO mobilizing Hong Kongers to address pressing social needs in our city through volunteer services. Since then I’ve moved to Room to Read, a global NGO helping children in low income countries access educational opportunity.
Every aspect of the academy was incredibly valuable. One that I would like to specially highlight was the opportunity to build deep and lasting relationships with peers in the NGO sector. The academy is geared towards creating an environment based on trust and mutual support. Even though I knew a number of the participants already as the NGO sector in HK is quite close-knit, being together at the academy enabled us to connect in a short space of time on a totally different level to the way in which connections are made at talks, conferences or other events. Two years later I’m still in regular contact with many of my fellow alumni. We’ve supported each other with introductions, advice and information sharing. Even with those I’ve not been in touch with for a year or more, I know that the door is always open should I want to reach out for any reason.