Member Spotlight | Shirley Whing Chow
Founding Member and Ambassador of WomenH2H, Resilience Nurturer; Social-Emotional Intelligence Coach; Vocal-elocution Coach; Competition Director and Concert Producer; Founder & Artistic Director (Shirley Whing & Fine Voices Company Limited); President (Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Hong Kong-India Business Council)
I was an extremely adventurous and active tomboy in childhood. Ever since I caught the travel bug at age 19, hopping on the plane has become one of my favorite ‘natural highs’. I love to explore all kinds of cultures, foods, music, foreign languages, and to capture architecture, scenery, and people on camera. I am also a cat lover, cocktail gal, gourmet aficionado, and avid gardener. When I see gorgeous flowers, handsome guys, and cute kids, I literally giggle aloud and lose my cool. To reach seventh heaven, all I need is the sun, beach, comedy, sassy music, and kids.
A Hong Kong native, Shirley Whing Chow is an award-winning global speaker and the author of Resilience Rhapsody (Amazon Bestseller Ignite Your Life for Women) and Resilience Happens (Keep Smiling - Leadership 4.0 Edition). In July 2020, she assumed the Presidency of The Hong Kong-India Bilateral Council at The Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
As a Chinese American opera coach-pianist, elocution coach, competition director, and musical producer, she has enjoyed 3 dynamic decades of amplifying the voices and self-confidence of precious children, amateurs and aspiring musicians across 4 continents. A survivor of PTSD and depression, she pivoted to emotional wellness advocacy in 2017. Shirley aspires to inspire 3 generations of girls and women to Laugh, Learn, Love & Lead with their unique voices.
When it comes to the role of women at work today, what inspires you, and what keeps you up at night?
What inspires me is that women have been speaking up and the sound bite for fair play and support is louder than ever. Female leaders like Jacinda Ardern, Sheryl Sandberg, and Katty Kay speak or write about measurable values women create in all fields. While that will definitely inspire young women and girls to follow their footsteps...
A great deal of cultural and policy changes need to take place for women from all income levels or educational backgrounds to attain gender equality.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 estimates it will take 99.5 years to achieve gender parity at the current rate of progress.
What’s your goal around that and why is it important to you? Why is that a priority for you right now?
My goal is to nurture children with confidence, resilience, compassion and leadership skills. They provide a crucial and strong foundation for girls to accomplish success, stand up for unjust treatments and fight for policies and laws that safeguard their rights.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve personally had as a woman at work? How did you try to overcome them?
I have to be a lot more assertive than male colleagues to get heard and valued. When the ‘MeToo’ movement got steam 2 years ago, my first reaction was ‘WhoHasn’t’. I had dealt with sexist comments and sexual harassment ever since college, particularly in my twenties and early thirties.
Being diplomatic, uncompromising yet firmly professional was my strategy.
Who or what would have made it easier? What do you wish you would have done then?
Those at the very top, if they modeled ethical behaviors and set boundaries, the workplace would be safe. An equality-guided set of rules and ethical behavior need to be practiced across an organization.
Many women are overwhelmed by the constant changes at work, frustrated with conflicts or disheartened by office politics, drama, and draining emotions. What have you done in the past to help you get through such moments?
I have the formula to diffuse ‘energetic bombs’:
Firstly, I use humor.
It allows me to be in my high power and stay professional and respectful. I make sure that all my words and actions are team-focused, not individual-focused.
Secondly, I try to see behind the insecurities of the ‘troublemakers’.
I use empathy to ignite my emotional immunity and drama-proof myself.
Thirdly, I apply emotional agility.
Like Bruce Lee said, ‘Be Water’. A leader serves and empowers others. A difficult situation or teammate simply means I have to exercise my creativity.
Who do you follow on these subjects? Are there authors, influencers, leaders, sites, blogs you follow?
Abraham Hicks, Eckard Tolle, Simon Sinek, Vanessa Van Edwards, Daniel Goodman, and various Ted Talks.
Do you participate in other women groups or communities? What have you seen work in such communities?
All Ladies League (ALL), Women Economic Forum (WEF), The World Academy for the Future of Women. ALL and WEF allow women from all backgrounds and ages to come together many times throughout the year. It gives them an international speaking and collaboration platform.
Why is it important for women to be surrounded by other women and what is the role we play in each other’s lives?
The mentoring, the support system and networking are all important. Only women truly understand women, I believe. We need others to cheer us on or share stories of struggle or triumph so that we can avoid mistakes and expedite our paths to success.
How do you see your role in building this community? And is there anything else you want to add that you think would be helpful for us to know as we are building this community?
As a novice in the entrepreneurial universe, I believe that I can support WomenH2H as an active follower and participant, and help recruit new members.