A background in marine biology led Benita Chick to a career raising awareness of Sustainable Development Goals whilst continuing her advocacy of diversity and inclusion awareness.
What’s your story?
I trained as a marine biologist and as a scuba diving instructor. After returning to Hong Kong, I decided to do something completely different and started my career as an experiential-learning instructor at Outward Bound. Since then, I have been working in universities and different NGOs on youth and environmental issues. Two years ago I decided to start Encompass HK to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals in HK. It has been an exciting journey, mobilizing different parts of the community to be excited about the issues. I am also a LBGT+ advocate and curated the first LGBT+ in the City Tour in Asia, a cause which I am still passionate about. More about me at www.coachbenforyouth.com
What excites you most about your industry?
I think the SDG awareness in Hong Kong is very new, and most people don’t know how to relate SDGs in their workplace or personal lives. I am excited about how to integrate knowledge in diversity and inclusion, and also topics like sustainable coffee and wine to bring awareness of sustainability and SDGs into the workplace. Not many consultancy firms in HK specialize in SDGs and we are glad to be one of the few who offer such services here.
What is your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I studied overseas at Cornell University and Boston University, with a brief year of study abroad in Australia. For my Masters study, I spent a year living and doing research in Indonesia and learnt how to speak some Indonesian. I love traveling and have been to more than 15 countries in Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
With all the goings on in the last year, I still think Hong Kong is a great place for business. The diverse community here, and openness to ideas, leads to lots of avenues of opportunities. Hong Kong people are hard working and innovative, always willing to work with others. I am able to host a lot of webinars for APAC offices of MNCs whose HQs are in Hong Kong.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Connect the dots. In my career I have met a lot of people in different fields, and with my diverse interests in F&B, sustainability, and biodiversity I am now slowly connecting the dots to see who I can make connections with. These connections might not generate a direct impact to my business but slowly people in the community are more aware of my work and introduce new clients to me. From my interests, I am able to generate new ideas, for example using wine to discuss SDGs and climate change.
Who inspires you?
Alain De Botton. I have always enjoyed reading his books and admire how he is able to emphasize philosophy’s relevance to everyday life. I also enjoyed his platform The School of Life, and learning various things about life like Death, Love, Relationships. Some of my favourite books include The Architecture of Happiness. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Distinctive Action and their work on invisible bags (https://www.daction.today/). I have always been horrified by the plastic problem and thinking of solutions while reducing the use of plastic is the ideal answer to the problem. I think Devana’s work on invisible bags can be one of the alternative solutions. As such I have invited Devana to speak at my upcoming event on climate action called TEDxEncompassHK.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Good question. With hindsight, I might have the courage to start my own social enterprise a few years earlier. I think I obsessed too much on “working in a job” instead of being an entrepreneur. While now, with EncompassHK, everyday is a bit uncertain in terms of the clients and projects. I truly enjoy what I do and am able to curate my own training programs and workshops. It’s an exciting path.
How do you unwind?
I dive as much as I can, whether it’s for leisure, underwater photography or teaching. If I cannot dive during the week I try to go to the gym. I also play the saxophone and piano.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Krabi. I have been there twice and I really like their beach, diving and rock climbing. It’s a tourist destination without the crazy crowd in Phuket. I’d like to go there again.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Shameless plug for your business:
At EncompassHK, we curate bespoke SDG programs. Every workshop/training is catered to our clients’ needs. We will understand your business objectives and KPIs, and curate something fun and experiential for your team. We have even used beer and chocolate tasting before to discuss gender stereotypes and recruit male allies. We have also used biodynamic wine to attract investors to talk about sustainable finance. We are trying to use a down-to-earth approach to promote sustainability.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favourite podcast platform for ‘CallumConnects‘ to hear a 5-minute daily breakdown.
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built, and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’, and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.