Ronald Wong, executive coach, shares with WiFA his motivation to be a male ally, his mentorship experience, his 2021 mantra, and much more.

Tell us about yourself.

I am an executive coach, working with executives on leading and managing their teams as well as themselves. I spent most of my corporate career in financial services and became intrigued in developing oneself when I had my own coach

What motivates you to be an ally in the financial services industry?

I believe firmly that in order to function optimally as a society, we need to have diversity: not only gender and ethnic but also cognitive and people with different lived experiences. 

Additionally, we need systems and structures to enable diversity to work. Being an ally in the financial services industry is the small part I play in bringing my perspective into the WiFA system.

The challenge in embedding lasting change is what happens in the small interactions e.g. who sits where in a meeting; how safe is it for someone junior to speak up in meetings; how the leader leads meetings etc as well as the larger firm-wide initiatives.

Mentors play an important role in the development of the careers of women. Have you or are you mentoring a woman in finance? Please tell us about your experience.

I am mentoring two women in the WiFA MPP 2021 programme. The first thing I would say to all incoming cohorts – reach out to your mentors! I have a closer mentoring relationship with one of the two as she is more vigilant in contacting me and requesting availability.

Housekeeping aside, I have been supportive of her specific professional needs at the time of the meetings – time management, prioritisation, communicating well, executive presence. These are the building blocks to a larger picture of career progression within the firm she works in.   

What will be your 2021 mantra to keep you motivated, either professionally or personally?

 I am a student of Stoic philosophy and the writings and teachings of Marcus Aurelias (one of Rome’s best emperors), Seneca (a senator and one of the wealthiest men in his day) and Epictetus (a slave) are as relevant two thousand years ago as they are today:

  • Understanding ourselves and others
  • Knowing what is in your control and what isn’t 
  • Learning to respond and not react

These last two years have shown that so much we take for granted can vanish so easily and we can either yearn for the “good old days” or we can equip ourselves to the new normal.

The author Robert Greene differentiates “alive” time and “dead” time when he states the following: “the time that you are alive is the only possession you have. Everything else can be taken away from you.” Constantly challenging myself to live the moment and know what is important to me is what keeps me motivated.