In this session, facilitated by Benedicte Nolans, Amy Fong shared her personal story on finding “Love in Finance” through a journey of self-discovery and on how she realised the importance of self-love, while navigating her life, family and career on 23 July.
Amy’s roles have been varied – through Investment Banking to leading an NGO in Asia, then back to Finance in Private Equity – and has taken her from Hong Kong to the USA and back again. By seeing each role move as an opportunity for growth and positive challenge, Amy’s career has taken unexpected turns. She made a significant career move after considerable deliberation in 2015, stepping away from finance to head up Save the Children in Hong Kong for 4 years. The decision was driven by her recognition that she was struggling to find enjoyment at work and personally, despite continued professional success. The move coincided with personal life changes, and she took time to reflect on what was missing in her life – love and purpose.
At Save the Children, Amy found human purpose in what she was doing, because every action within the NGO was “a value for humanity”. Her most important revelation however was that she did not need external validation to find success in what she was doing – it came from within. Amy talked about the need that women have to look for others to endorse their work and values and she presented this search for recognition as a search for “love”, which should always come from within. Amy proposes that, in loving yourself, providing internal validation, you can avoid the negative guilt cycle.
Early in her career, Amy adopted more ‘masculine’ character traits, believing they were necessary to succeed, but found no authenticity in suppressing her feminine side. Over time she has come to realise that the financial services industry would benefit from more empathetic and flexible styles of leadership, sometimes viewed as a ‘more feminine approach’, similar to what she experienced at the NGO. She worked with people who had a ‘lot of “heart” energy’ (“feminine energy”), not emotional or sentimental, but benevolence. Amy now takes every moment to connect with others, focusing on the power of compassion.
To bring about broader cultural changes in organisations and a more compassionate style of leadership, Amy believes all change must start with ourselves, that change within will filter outwards. As a strong believer in meditation, she sees the value in being true to herself and seeks every opportunity to share her full self.
Amy’s top three tips:
1. Never be afraid to take chances – don’t feel that you aren’t good enough – don’t limit yourself.
2. Be authentic, find yourself, don’t hide – this will lead to fewer fears.
3. Stay focused on the now, not the past nor the future.
Many thanks to the WiFA Thought Leadership Committee and Benedicte Nolens for hosting this informative event.