Emily Chung is a  Partner at St. James’s Place Management – Asia. In her 2021 Spotlight Series interview, she discusses what drew her to a career in finance, the role of mentors in her life and much more. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself

My journey to Hong Kong has been a very personal one, born from coming of age and the life experience with the passing of my Dad.  I remember as a child, I was raised with very strong principles.  But it wasn’t until the death of my Dad when I began to understand the true meaning of humility and what it means to show compassion and care for someone else other than myself.  Over the last nine years, I’ve been in pursuit of building my own legacy – a legacy to build a hospital to support men, women, children and the elderly by offering them a #safespace, a #safeplace to thrive with their mental health and wellbeing. 

2. What drew you to a career in finance? What has motivated you to stay?

I wanted to become a teacher, but took a year off before obtaining my teaching qualification. During that period, I applied for a position as a customer service officer at a bank in Australia and discovered that I enjoy helping people.  After spending 17 years in banking and after the passing of my Dad, I began to ask questions about the importance of my role in the financial industry and what value I could provide in helping women and their families thrive.    

Money can liberate us to lead richer lives, but the real wealth comes from the relationships we invest in, the memories we create and the people we help.  My plan is to celebrate women’s achievements, nurture our independence, and celebrate that we are all part of a story. 

3. Mentors play an important role in the developments of many careers. Did you have a mentor? If so, what did you look for in that person?

It may sound cliché but my parents are my greatest mentors.  My choices, the way I interact with my friends and colleagues reflect the relationship I have with my parents.  My mum would read us Confucius fables when we were children, and I love these stories because they taught me to look at life differently.  As an adult, I sought similar qualities in other mentors such as my English teacher, who challenged me to dream of the impossible through my writing.  Finally, I have found solace in my yoga teachers in London, who, like my parents had one simple objective – to help me learn to be the woman I know I am meant to be.   It is a life journey and I’m not even close but I know that when I am allowed to be, I will always be thankful.