Alexandra Harnett, Senior Manager, People Sustainability, Group Office, AIA, shares with WiFA her experiences with volunteering, promoting diversity and gender equality, and what gives her hope every day.

Tell us about your background and the journey to your current position and organization. 

The majority of my career experience has been in the retail sector where I worked in branding and internal / external communications. I transitioned into financial services in 2019 after completing a diploma in Nutrition and Health Coaching from IIN, igniting my passion for employee wellbeing. I am now responsible for the design and implementation of the Group Office wellbeing programme which focuses on employee experiences that promote physical, financial, social and mental workplace wellbeing.

The pandemic continues to bring new challenges into our homes and workplace. How are you adapting to these changes in terms of volunteering within your community or workplace? 

Hong Kong has a number of fantastic community outreach organizations which I have both personally and professionally offered my time and resources to. At the end of last year through the NetWork, AIA supported NGO Feeding HK by organising a donation drive to collect non-perishable items to donate to under-privileged communities ahead of Christmas. We also continue to sponsor TEDxTinHauWomen – the only annual TEDx event dedicated to women in Hong Kong and supported Box of Hope to pack over 60 boxes filled with much needed items which were delivered to children across HK and SE Asia.

Under AIA’s social wellbeing pillar ‘Feel Well’ we are excited to embark on a 12- month community outreach programme with Hands on Hong Kong where we will support a collection of HK charities giving employees the opportunity to donate and volunteer their time during working hours. The programme ‘Helping Hands’ has four themes which align with the UN SDG’s and our AIA ESG strategy.

How do you promote diversity and gender equality in your own life and workplace?

In the AIA Group Office I am part of a cross departmental working group called ‘The NetWork’ which enables employee affinity groups to come together. Throughout the year we host a range of thought leadership and inspirational talks and partner with local organisations facilitating the professional and personal development of AIA’s staff. The goal is to foster a supportive and inclusive workplace, which constantly inspires me to do more and put more of my energy into the DEI space.

What gets you out of bed every day, either professionally or personally? What gives you hope?

It is my two boys aged 6 and 4 – they are my inspiration and I feel an immense responsibility to raise them in an environment which is equal and without bias or prejudice to women. Seeing the world through their eyes and how they innocently already have their bias about what ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ should or should not be doing, playing with, or even wearing. We are trying to raise them in a gender-neutral environment which can be challenging, but a challenge I am willing to take on!