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26 August 2016

Two Parallel Paths to a Fascinating Life

Polly Ng (BBA 1998; OneMBA 2012) has been paving two parallel tracks for her herself ― career development and community service. Since graduating from CUHK, Polly has been working tirelessly to build a career. She was the Worldwide Sales Operations Director of the multinational corporation Kodak. Now, as the managing director of a consulting firm, she currently focuses on tapping into the lucrative Mainland market. Besides advancing her career, Polly takes time to give back to society. She has co-founded Global Women Connect and the Hong Kong Youth Service Leader Award to encourage women and young people to make a difference to the world.

Polly (3rd from right) poses at the OneMBA Graduation Ceremony with former Academic Director of OneMBA Program Prof. Didier Guillot (1st from left) and Director of MBA Programs Prof. Michael Ferguson (2nd from right)

Fulfilling a Lifelong Dream to Study Aboard with OneMBA

Looking back at graduating with a BBA from CUHK, Polly remembers how much she wanted to study aboard. Due to family circumstances, she set aside the dream to enter the work force, while saving up and waiting for the right moment to continue her education. The perfect opportunity came in 2010 when she returned to her alma mater for the OneMBA Program. “Internationalisation is a distinct feature of OneMBA. The partnership between CUHK Business School and institutions in the U.S., Netherlands, Mexico and Brazil allowed me to study with students from around the world, set foot in four continents and fulfil my lifelong dream of studying aboard,” Polly recalls.

Besides acquiring overseas experience, Polly hoped to attain more professional skills with OneMBA. “At that time, I was just promoted from the Business Director of Commercial Imaging (Asia Pacific) to the Worldwide Sales Operations Director at the headquarters at Kodak, and one of my duties was to manage employees from all parts of the world, including Asia, the Americas and Europe. OneMBA gave me the chance to exchange and interact with friends from different countries and to form a deep understanding of cultural differences, which benefitted my work immensely.”

Polly (right) introduces latest Kodak products to former Macao Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah in 2004

Expanding a Career Roadmap: Venturing into the China Market with International Experience

When it comes to her career, Polly said she had had a goal since her younger years: to rise to a management position in a multinational corporation. Little did she know that she would end up spending 12 years at Kodak.

At Kodak, Polly was responsible for promoting the commercial document imaging business, which involved digitalising physical documents. Over the years, she helped to transform the relatively unknown document imaging department into a significant, profitable arm of the company. Clients included governments, banks and corporations, and partners were the likes of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Polly gradually achieved her goal of rising to senior management. The scope of her duties expanded from Greater China to Asia-Pacific, and eventually worldwide sales operations at the Kodak headquarters.

Taking one step at a time, Polly has worked her way up the corporate ladder, but did not get complacent in her corner office. She chose to step out of her comfort zone to take on a new challenge. She hoped to use the experience accumulated over time to assist small and medium-sized enterprises with great potential. She also wanted to apply what she had learned from a foreign company to the Mainland market. As a result of this, she took a position as China managing director for a European consulting firm, which specialises in restructuring. She is currently stationed in Shanghai.

Global Women Connect, co-founded by Polly (back row, 4th from right), aims to offer professional mentorship to women. She often shares her visions with different organisations

Connecting Women Around the Globe: Realising Their Potential to Change the World

With a successful career under her belt, Polly has been keen on giving back to society in recent years. The international travelling she carried out during her OneMBA Program made her realise how lucky she was. She became aware that women in many countries were not given the same chance to build a career like her. It prompted her start an initiative to champion women from around the globe.

Polly advocates that women should be given more opportunities to make a contribution to the world. She believes gender diversity and different traits of men and women can produce the best outcome for society. With a few partners, she formed Global Women Connect (GWC) to unite women everywhere. The initiative allows women to help, inspire and learn from each other and make the world a better place. For example, Polly always remembers the challenges she had faced at the beginning of her career and the mentorship she received, so GWC launched ‘Gemstone W Circle’ as its first project. The program is a global mentorship scheme for women. The co-founders invite friends with extensive work experience in senior management posts to be mentors. Each mentor spends at least one hour a month in a one-on-one setting to give suggestions and share insights on professional development with a female member.

GWC has received tremendous support from many organisations, including Ogilvy & Mather Mexico, which designed its logo, and Infosys China, which developed its workflow management system, database and website. Although GWC is still at its infancy stage, it has already paired 20 members with their mentors and has officially become a non-profit organisation.

Polly (back row, 4th from right) is an active member of the organising committee of the Hong Kong Youth Service Leader Award. The committee poses at their second award presentation ceremony

Fostering Young Leaders: It’s Never Too Early to Start Giving Back to Society

Young people are another target of Polly’s service. Having reflected on her complete devotion to her career and realised that she had lost sight of the community after graduation, Polly established the Hong Kong Youth Service Leader Award to encourage young people to start early with community service and to raise their competitiveness through realising their potential.

The Hong Kong Youth Service Leader Award targets young people aged 18 to 30. Each of the 14 uniformed groups with youth divisions in Hong Kong are invited to nominate three candidates to the scheme. The award scheme offers guidance and support to candidates to organise any professional training and community service of their interest. The judges select outstanding candidates based on their reports and interviews. The goal is to facilitate the exchange between members of each group and their peers in order to amplify the impact of the program.

Polly (front row, 3rd from right, standing) organised the 2015 Nepal Service Trip for young leaders

The award scheme has now celebrated its second anniversary. Awardees attended the award presentation ceremony and were given a chance to participate in overseas community service. Last year’s winners chose to go to Nepal.

Although serving the community has been keeping Polly busy, she could not be happier because career development and community service are the two tracks that have led her to the next stop of a fascinating life.

Video ― Messages from Our Alumni

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