Ms Quince W Y Chong
Honorary University Fellow (2018)
As a girl and the fifth child of an ordinary Chiu Chow family, Ms Quince Chong did not have high ambitions when she was young. Traditionally, Chiu Chow families tended to favour boys over girls, so much so that Ms Chong’s maternal grandmother even suggested giving her up for adoption to relieve the family’s burden. Fortunately, her father ignored the suggestion. Still, as a child, Ms Chong was an introvert and her hidden potential was unknown to anyone.
So it came as a big surprise to Ms Chong and her family that she would be the only child in the family to go to university and has since carved out a successful career in corporate communication. Today, she is considered one of Hong Kong’s most accomplished crisis management professionals adept at defusing public relations emergencies by taking the right action and disseminating the right message at the right time.
When Ms Chong worked for the Hong Kong Tourist Association during the run-up to 1997, she and her colleagues had the formidable task of countering international concerns over the city’s future. Ms Chong found it most meaningful as it imbued her with a sense of mission to work for the betterment of the society.
When she joined Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd in 1998 as Manager of Corporate Communications, Ms Chong regarded the airline as one of Hong Kong’s most trusted brands whose fortune rises and falls with that of the city. In that role, Ms Chong handled a strike by the airline’s pilots in 1999 well that won her the Best Crisis Management Award at the Asian PR Awards. In 2000, Ms Chong was put in charge of the Inflight Services Department, commanding respect of Cathay’s 4,000-plus cabin crews. In 2004, she was made Director of Service Delivery responsible for all services from ground to air. In 2008, she was appointed Director of Corporate Affairs. Her 14-year service with Cathay Pacific was to see her deal with many more crises, including industrial actions and local and overseas emergencies. Ms Chong’s accomplishments were best summarised by a recognition in 2011 when she was named among the 100 most important in-house communicators in the world in the Holmes’s Report Influence 100 project.
Ms Chong decided to leave the airline in 2012 to join CLP Power Hong Kong Limited as Chief Corporate Development Officer – a move, again, driven by her sense of mission to serve the society. She wanted to work for a utility company that has served Hong Kong with lustre for over a century but faces huge challenges in managing its public profile in the city’s increasingly politicised environment. She hoped to seek public understanding of the contribution made by the power industry through her communications expertise.
Looking back, Ms Chong feels that it is mindset that defines one’s destiny. At primary school, she had to repeat a year for coming last in class. At university, she had to work numerous part-time jobs to relieve her family’s financial stress. After her first child was born, her husband’s business failed and she took on the role as the family’s breadwinner. She came through those setbacks by accepting that life is imperfect and that one needs to make trade-offs to strike a proper work-life balance. For example, swapping roles with her husband has allowed Ms Chong to dedicate herself at work while the children were well taken care of by their father. Her advice to young people is to stay interested in things and life in general, be humble and truthful, and have a sense of mission.
As she rose through the corporate ladder, Ms Chong’s expertise has been tapped by various public bodies, including the Vocational Training Council, Hospital Authority, Central Policy Unit, Council of Open University of Hong Kong, Independent Commission Against Corruption, and Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence.
Ms Chong is a staunch supporter of Hong Kong Baptist University and its whole-person education philosophy. She served as a Member of the Council and its Personnel Committee from 2007 to 2012. She also sat on the Selection Committee for the Distinguished Alumni Awards from 2015 – 2018 and had shared her experiences in crisis management with the university’s staff and students. In recognition of Ms Chong’s contributions to the field of corporate communication and her tremendous support to the University, the University bestows upon Ms. Quince W Y Chong the Honorary University Fellowship.