Jennifer Kwong is the APAC Human Resources Director at the CFA Institute. In her 2021 WiFA Spotlight Series Interview, she discusses what drew her to a career in finance, motivations during this past year, and more.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am the Human Resource Business Partner for CFA Institute APAC, based in Hong Kong.  I grew up in Toronto Canada and started my career at the Bank of Montreal in Toronto, then moved to Hong Kong and joined Citibank where I’ve spent 20 years in various roles.  I worked on both the consumer and corporate banking platforms: from personal banking, quality analytics, marketing, client strategy and then in human resources. Before joining the CFA Institute, I spent 2 years with a Private Equity firm (Kerogen Capital) as the HR Director.

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

As a Commerce graduate, being in Finance seemed like a natural progression at the time, and I was fortunate enough to get converted from my internship at BMO.  After joining Citi in Hong Kong, I found that the APAC platform provided abundant opportunities for me to explore.  Along my path in banking, I’ve come to realize that a bank is only as good as the people that work there. Whether it be a deal junkie or a prestigious financier, the bank needs the right people to deliver the products and services…. I was drawn into HR to see what was in store for me. That was in 2009, and I’ve never looked back!  

3. What is one characteristic you would say that all women in finance share?

Almost all successful women in finance I know are decisive, fair, and don’t see being a woman as an advantage or disadvantage.  They are very mindful of the decisions they make and how it might influence or impact others.

4. What has kept you motivated to succeed this past year?

As you rightly put, “this year has brought tremendous upheaval and disruption to all aspects of our lives” — we all worried about loved ones and have learned to be more empathic about others’ misfortunes. We took more selfies with mother-nature rather than at crowded tourist hotspots! 

My motivation to succeed this past year was unplanned, and this is probably true for most people. I was motivated by the pure urge to survive the pandemic and managing the chaos in various aspects of our life!  The fact that everybody is facing similar challenges, has led people to set aside differences and focus on what they value most. 

5. What will be your 2021 mantra to keep you motivated, either professional or personally?  

Chin up and move forward, we are all in this together.