From equity trading, to non for profits and now raising funds, Karen loves the buzz of being an entrepreneur in the vibrant city of Hong Kong.
What’s your story?
I am a third culture kid who found my passion in Hong Kong. I switched my career from trading equity derivatives to become a web developer. I co-founded women who code HK, a non-profit organization that serves to inspire women to excel in careers in technology. Web development empowered me to create my own startup WHub.hk with my co-founder Karena Belin.
W Hub is a slice of the Internet for Hong Kong and Singapore that promotes community building, startup product insights and also serves as a resource for startup job openings and raising funds in Hong Kong.
What excites you most about your industry?
Technology has limitless possibilities, and you can now create and launch your startup in a very short time, therefore there are so many new projects to discover. I have the chance to work with passionate entrepreneurs and that is very exciting!
What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up in Tokyo and lived most of my life in Asia. I don’t see myself living anywhere else.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong of course! You already know all the usual advantages (efficiency, profit centre, world’s freest economy…), but there is more: a vibrant, growing and tight tech community.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no’.
Who inspires you?
My mum! Nothing is impossible for her, switching career or adapting herself to a different culture. I admire her strength and passion for life.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You can actually do what you want, learn what you wish, just go for it.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I have made mistakes and bad choices but that is how I learnt and became who I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing.
How do you unwind?
Typical but effective: spend time with my family, a good sweat at the gym or a nice glass of wine with good friends.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hong Kong Beaches, Shek’O, South Bay Beach! Close to my home, I can just relax and enjoy the sun with my kids and husband. You don’t need to escape too far to relax, especially in Hong Kong.
Everyone in business should read this book:
It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small…It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow by Jason Jennings
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This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>