Candy Leung,  Asia Head of Julius Baer Academy, shares with WiFA her experience with mentors, how she supported female talent, and what gives her hope every day.

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

In 2016, I became the Asia Head of Julius Baer Academy. Believe it or not, when I was young, I would fancy myself as a banker in a fine suit. I embarked on my banking career with Citibank as a trainee in San Francisco selling consumer banking products to our retail customers.  I was able to interact with people from different walks of life through this job and I loved it.  After a few years, I decided to move back to Hong Kong to continue my sales career in a corporate banking environment.  To ‘Know my customers’ I would meet entrepreneurs and business owners regularly.  I particularly enjoyed factory visits in China, and it was fascinating to see how everyday items were actually produced in big manufacturing sites. In 2004, I was invited to join a global bank to create a new learning curriculum for its corporate banking unit, and that was how I moved from being a banker to being a learning professional/coach in the corporate world.

Mentors play an important role in the developments of many careers. If you have/had a mentor, what is the one take away message or inspiration that he/she passed on to you?

I have had many mentors and coaches in my career life, and I learned from all of them – they helped me to grow and always challenged my thinking.   One key takeaway message I always remember is “We can all learn, don’t let your self-limiting beliefs stop you from achieving a better YOU”.  I do encourage everyone to find a mentor and it doesn’t need to be a formal setup, it can be informal.   My mentors have always inspired me to read and learn more.  I highly recommend ‘Drive’ by Daniel H. Pink, where the author explains the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world: the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Please provide an example where you have promoted/supported female talent.

I have been supported by many, many wonderful bosses from different cultures who have helped to shape my leadership over the years.  I worked and coached many female talents at different levels.  I always encourage women to believe in themselves and they are always much stronger and better than what they think of themselves.   

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

I am very grateful of just who I am and I have learned much more about life since the pandemic.  The more you appreciate or give, the more joy you will have. The sun rises or I can eat my favourite food is already the BEST.