A passionate yogi, Giani’s goal is to encourage people to connect with others on a deeper level through health, wellness and lifestyle education.
What’s your story?
After having played football in Brazil and graduating from university in the USA, I co-founded a company called Hybrid Group which became an event and marketing agency known for creating IRIS: Your Escape (Hong Kong’s largest health and wellness festival) and Spartan Race (The world’s best obstacle race experience). My affinity towards the practice of Yoga and Meditation led me to eventually leave that field of work and instead spend time living in an ashram in India. Upon my return I joined BKR Group – a family run entrepreneurial business firm, where I could expand my knowledge while bringing a fresh perspective and new opportunities to the company.
What excites you most about your industry?
Learning about a variety of businesses and industries, meeting a diverse range of talented individuals and the freedom to create new opportunities.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong however my roots are from India. I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to many countries around Asia and worldwide growing up, which has helped me understand people and cultures effectively.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
For business, it has to be Hong Kong. We have easier access to founders and CEO’s compared to elsewhere in the world. There are numerous ways to network and connect, the communities here are small and tightly knit so word gets around fast, and people have high disposable income. We are right next to China with new transport modalities increasing the of people in and out of the city. The list can go on and on.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
This is not directly related to business, but one of the best pieces of advice I heard was from a video of a great sage called Papaji – “Don’t do anything, and make no effort”. This was related to the art of Meditation. Because we are so conditioned to doing things all the time (especially in a city like Hong Kong), we are wasting energy and act compulsively day to day. If we are able to taste what it is like to be in a space of no effort, no thought and no action, even for a millisecond, the amount of energy you conserve and intuitive knowledge gained as a consequence is paramount.
Who inspires you?
There are so many people that inspire me in many different ways, however, at the end of the day, I do not try to be like them. I take attributes from their specialities and apply them in my own life as I see appropriate or viable. Ultimately it is important to pay attention to experiences consciously. Even those who act negatively towards you can be inspiring. I like surrounding myself with people who are smarter and better than me in fields where I’ve identified my weaknesses so I can better myself in those areas. My father’s business acumen, my football coach’s calmness under pressure, my yoga teacher’s wisdom, my fiancé’s compassion and kindness, the vast skill-sets of the people I work with etc. There are also several internationally acclaimed people who I follow online such as Sadhguru, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jay Shetty, Eckhart Tolle, Joe Rogan, Lionel Messi.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That there is so much over-dramatisation and fluff around words when pitching to investors to make a business sound like it is the next not-to-be-missed big opportunity. It is much more challenging to make things simple and clear – that is the skill to master.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would invest in proper education related to physical exercise, sports, nutrition, health and wellness at a younger age. I would also not be so naive in terms of business. It took me a while to realise that you can be an honorable, respectable person while also playing the game of business without being a pushover.
How do you unwind?
Meditation, foot massages and TV shows.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
It has to be Bali, Indonesia. The food is fresh, people are welcoming and friendly, there are beautiful beaches, it is affordable, convenient and has a laid back lifestyle.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Shameless plug for your business:
BKR Group is an entrepreneurial business and investment firm as well as a pioneer in global supply chain innovation. What that essentially means is that we have a service scope that is not limited to a certain category. We cover a wide range of activities which involves creating, investing and helping develop businesses in numerous industry categories through our professional network and expertise, as well as our supply chain resources. To know more about what we do in-depth and to see our full portfolio/service scope head on over to our website: www.bkr-hk.com
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
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 of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.