Established in 2014 by Jo Soo-Tang and Sharie Ross-Tse to recognise Hong Kong’s influential women, the Women of Hope Awards luncheon benefits the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation’s (HKAHF) Cancer Fund and has quickly become one of the city’s premier events. Each year, 8 women are nominated from different industries, for their work that benefits women, children and the community at large. We asked this year’s award recipients what it meant to them to be honoured by the Women of Hope:
Power & Influence: Anson Chan
Anson Chan is the former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, retiring in 2001 after nearly 40 years of service. She was the first woman and the first Chinese to hold the second-highest governmental position in Hong Kong.
"Age is no barrier to doing right by Hong Kong. At whatever stage in our life, we can help keep hope alive in our society by having the courage of our convictions, by defending Hong Kong’s way of life and core values and by caring for the sick, the needy and those who have lost their way. Collectively, we can make a difference."
Children's Advocate: Ming Chen
Ming Chen is an American businesswoman, creative executive, author, long-distance runner, and former television host. She is Executive Vice President and Chief Culture Officer of EF Education First, the world’s largest education company that operates over 400 schools around the world and has helped millions of students study or travel abroad.
“As a full-time working mother of three and a compulsive marathon runner, I was telling my husband that I was more deserving of a Women of Eyebags award, especially compared to my fellow, very accomplished nominees. In all seriousness, it is a tremendous and unexpected honour to be awarded a Women of Hope prize in the child advocate category. But more important than any individual recognition, the Women of Hope prize highlights the great work being done by the Adventist Hospital and the services of the hospital’s charity outreach program. Congratulations to all of the other nominees!”
Eco-Warrior: Laurel Chor
Laurel is a conservationist and founder of the Hong Kong Explorers Initiative, a project that encourages wildlife appreciation in Hong Kong through educational projects and expeditions.
“Winning the Women of Hope Eco-Warrior Award showed me that Hong Kong society cares about the work being done to protect the environment, particularly within our own city. When you're fighting an uphill battle, it's easy to get discouraged—so getting this kind of recognition pushes me to keep going and to do even more! It was also fantastic to see women being celebrated like this; Hong Kong still has a long way to go in gender equality and these kinds of events help make a difference.”
Health Advocate: Stephanie Tan
Stephanie Tan is the executive director at The Kinnet, a wellness center that encourages Hong Kong’s ageing population to embrace an active approach to maintaining wellness.
“Winning the Women of Hope Health Advocate Award helps recognize the work we do everyday at The Kinnet. We strive to improve older peoples’ lives by offering specialized programs to help them live a longer, better life. I am proud of what we have done so far, and am hopeful that we will make a difference in enhancing the lives of out city’s ageing population.”
Global Champion: Winnie Chiu
Winnie Chiu is the president and executive director of hotel group, Dorsett Hospitality International, which operates 22 hotels in Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, and Singapore.
"Being honoured with the Women of Hope Global Champion Award is indeed a huge encouragement and endorsement; it represents recognition from people from all walks of life who believe in what I do. With this renewed confidence, I will continue to pursue my passion in giving back to society especially in education along with arts and culture as well as promoting Hong Kong. This city has taught me everything, its where I grew up and I hope to be able to help inspire the women around me. To those who have voted for me; thank you so much for believing in me. It is your support and trust that fuelled my passion to serve our society and of course a big thank you to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation for the tremendous honour.”
Entrepreneurs: Peggy Chan
Peggy is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and is not merely confined to operating a restaurant, although she opened Grassroots Pantry which helps educate the public in sustainable, responsible sourcing and healthy, plant-based cuisine.
“It was a tremendous surprise to be presented the Women of Hope Entrepreneurs Award as the ladies who were nominated in my category have all been outstanding in their achievements to date. With that said, I am beyond grateful that HKAHF not only recognizes my work as a Chef, a restaurateur, a sustainability advocate, and an entrepreneur; but for my fight towards raising awareness for a cleaner food system and for realizing my stance in empowering women to become the best versions of themselves.”
Champion for a Better Life: Charlotte and Vanessa Hwang
Charlotte is the cofounder of jewellery and accessories boutique, The9thMuse, and is also the fundraising director of Foodlink Foundation. Vanessa is the founder of Foodlink Foundation, Hong Kong’s largest hunger-relief charity.
"Being a part of WOH has highlighted the fact that there are so many causes which bring meaning to life daily in our city. We are honored to be selected this year so we could highlight the ongoing need for individuals to take action and find a cause as that is close to their hearts. For us specifically, we are lucky enough to find passion in the work we do, and this allows us to make many lasting impressions. Within our community, it is because of the support of others that we are able to lift each other up and make a difference. We hope to take this opportunity to thank everybody that has been a friend of Foodlink, as we are equipped to help more people as a result. We look forward to growing Foodlink, by both working to link even more kindhearted donors to beneficiaries that can serve those who are vulnerable to hunger."
Arts & Culture: Marissa Fung-Shaw
Marissa is a trustee of the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), a private foundation that has fostered cultural exchange between the United States and Asia since 1963.
“I want to thank the foundation and the Women of Hope for the Arts and Culture Award. It came as such a surprise! It truly is an honour. What is most significant is the award itself that is dedicated to women in Hong Kong acknowledging their contribution to their respective fields. It's much more than being about the individual but the collective impact women have in both the work place and the community. By joining forces we can effect change by providing hope, opportunities for everyone to join in to make a difference in someone's life, particularly for those affected by cancer, who need the support the most.”