International Women's Day - Interview with Jo Hayes, The Women's Foundation, Hong Kong

Frazer Jones is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female clients asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange

Frazer Jones interviewed Jo Hayes, Director of Pipeline Initiatives, The Women's Foundation, Hong Kong

Jo Hayes

What advice would you give aspiring women in your industry?
I transitioned into the NGO sector a year ago and I understand that some younger women worry about ‘opting out’ of the corporate sector. To these aspiring leaders, I would suggest that the NGO space is full of inherently passionate people, inspiring leaders and ample opportunity for personal and professional growth. Whilst I have been able to bring some of the corporate values and structures to the NGO space, I have equally taken away a breadth of learning about the challenges and injustices that other women face in Hong Kong and globally. Knowledge is the key to succeeding in any industry and through listening to industry experts and reading widely around the subject, you can continue to build your knowledge every day. I work at The Women’s Foundation where we work tirelessly to empower women and girls in Hong Kong and given the World Economic Forum prediction that we won’t reach global gender equity until 2168, I have no intention of leaving the sector until my job is obsolete! Having purposeful direction really helps drive you forward in this industry!

How do you achieve work life balance?
I gave up on work life balance many moons ago! I much prefer to practise work life integration. With this shift in mindset, I am more inclined to proactively think of ways I can blur the lines between my work and family life. For example, when I can, I try to bring my children along to our events to network with and learn from both my colleagues and some of Hong Kong’s aspiring and senior leaders. My husband is one of my biggest supporters and every day sends me links to research, articles and reports on gender equity. By default, our discussions at home do have a tendency to touch on this from time to time!

What were the main drivers in helping you succeed in your career?
Taking risks. I have always had a tendency to say ‘yes’ to challenges and reflect later, believing that unless I’m being asked to perform heart surgery or drive a train, both of which I’m clearly unqualified to do, I can find a way to achieving it. Through saying ‘yes’, I opened doors to public speaking opportunities around the world, I co-founded a business and four years ago swapped a lifelong and secure contract in Paris, (and even persuaded my husband to leave his), for a two-year project in Hong Kong. Whilst taking risks and believing in yourself is important, so too is having sponsors who believe in you just as much. Thanks to my sponsors and supporters, doors have opened in front of me that I didn’t even know existed.