2022 WiFA Spotlight Series: Today we would like to introduce Ha Hocart, Regional Account Executive, World Wide Technology, who shares with WiFA who she admires, her experience with mentors, how she promotes diversity and gender equality, and much more.
Tell us about your background and the journey to your current position and organization.
I was born on the tropical island of Hainan in China and was sent alone to school in Hong Kong as a 7-year-old, while the rest of my family were waiting for their immigration visas to come through. My father was splitting his time between the two places, and I was living with friends of the family who I had never met — this early away from home experience contributed to my fierce independence. I had always wanted to go see the world and my dream came true when I won a scholarship to UWC Atlantic College in Wales. I am fortunate to have enjoyed a very rich social life with people from many different backgrounds which led to my passion and interest in D&I. UWC was ahead of its time as D&I was something that is staged, taught, practiced, and experienced early in school life and was very much at the heart of the UWC ethos and movement.
Professionally I have had a varied career journey with different roles in banking and startups. Currently I work in global Sales at World Wide Technology (WWT), a privately held company and one of the largest technology solutions providers. I love owning and building my business as well as customer relationships. What attracted me to this career is the company culture and its focus on D&I, which is closely aligned to my personal values. The world of technology is evolving rapidly – there is never a dull moment and there is so much to learn on a daily basis. I cover the Asia region for Global Financials customers, what gives me satisfaction from being an integral part of a global team delivering a consistent experience and outcome to our customers.
Please tell us how you or someone in your life that you admire provided hope or healing to the family or community.
I thought about this question long and hard and my husband is that someone in my life that does exactly this, he is a role model to our three daughters. He is a person with the highest level of integrity and has had many achievements in his life but would be willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the family and to support me in my career pursuits. He demonstrates key values to our children firsthand through his actions and life choices. In business he advises some of the most senior executives, and then gives his time to young entrepreneurs who are starting out, to guide their learning and building their companies. His support has helped small businesses become sustainable, and he is very generous with his time and resources.
I learned from him that giving is more than the charitable fund raising and formal voluntary work he has done. Practicing the art of giving back in our daily life through any gesture big or small, goes deeper and gives more meaning to our daily existence. This for me gives hope and healing to both the giver and the recipient.
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?
There is no doubt that mentors are incredibly valuable in both our personal and professional lives, often we need more than one mentor for different aspects and viewpoints. A theme early on was a particular mentor opened my eyes to see new possibilities that I did not know existed before. This started with a teacher who believed in me and whose actions and time led me to winning a writing competition that set me on the path towards a scholarship abroad. In later years having a mentor that gave me confidence in myself led me to secure a key position along my career journey. My key take-away from both experiences, is a personal commitment by a mentor to see actions through to outcomes is very powerful and can make a huge difference in someone’s life, especially early on.
How do you promote diversity and gender equality in your own life and workplace?
I am on the APAC Committee of my company’s ERG group OHANA, an ERG group dedicated to Asian and Pacific Islanders. We provide a platform to give a voice and visibility to ideas and suggestions that never see the light of day. This is a good reminder to us all to include as many, and marginalized, voices as possible in a conversation. When there is a voice that is heard and understood, it’s both empowering to the speaker, and provides further learning for the recipient. I have also been involved with an initiative called The Glass Elevator which nurtures and supports woman for leadership roles, and ultimately to break through the glass ceiling.
From growing up in Hainan and Hong Kong and then schooling at the purposely very diverse and international UWC in the UK, to working in several global cities, I have been incredibly lucky to have a huge network (and appreciation for) people from all around the world that I am privileged to have as friends, mentors, colleagues, and extended family.