On Life Mottos and Interview Tips — Lunch with Olivia Wong, Director of HR, Swire Properties

Time Auction
5 min readMay 12, 2017


Olivia donating lunch and raising 113 volunteer hours

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality and attitude behind their ventures and stories.

Since joining Swire Group in 1988, Olivia Wong’s adventure with the conglomerate has brought her to live in Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong and worked in Cathay Pacific, Ethos International and Swire Properties.

From working in such diverse cultures, roles and businesses, she shared with us how this has changed her perspectives on both life and work.

Do you have a life philosophy that you live by?

My life philosophy is to never regret anything and to always be grateful for the things that you have.

Once you made the decision, don’t go back and regret it as it is not healthy to a person and it does not lead to any better ways.

What were you like when you were 25? What do you wish you would have known back then?

I wish I had spent much more time brushing up my Spanish because I wanted to be a manger in Madrid.

My advice for youngsters is to try more things.

Instead of partying all the time, it’s better to utilize the time to learn something new. This is not limited to academic stuff but it is for anything exotic. I wish I could master languages because this would have been so helpful in my life.

As a manager who interviews a lot of people, how can the candidates impress you?

Show up on time! The answer is that simple. I appreciate every applicant that I meet since they must have done more than academically well plus have several impressive experiences so that they managed to go through all the rounds and eventually end up with an interviewing opportunity.

One last tip from me is when you are geared up and ready to hit an interview —

Just be completely honest and open up to the interviewers.

Having went through all the hurdles, we expect to see your genuine and true self after all.

Don’t try to make things up since all the interviewers on panel have more than hundreds of years of experience in screening candidates. We know crystal clear about how you present yourself during an interview. Therefore, just be as natural as you can!

What is one action that you hope everyone can take away from meeting you today?

Be grateful and courageous!

That’s the attitude. Also, don’t forget to go explore the world and never be afraid of failure.

You only live once! Just be confident in doing whatever you like. It is okay to take risks for your dream. If you have a strong interest in doing marine science, just get a job which is relevant and available to execute your passion and ignore how people view yourself. Even though there will be discouragement and dissenting voices from parents, friends or others, you have to uphold it if it is what you are looking for.

I encountered one experience from my young graduate trainee once. Her initial thought was to get a stable job and do choreography in her leisure time. However, she was not satisfied and she resigned from a prosperous job to strive for a path to be a dancer. I completely understood her decision and appreciated her guts so much.

It does take courage to pluck up the braveness to change your track.

But when it comes to your dream, you should sacrifice and do everything to fight for it. Eventually, I wished her every success on her way to become a professional dancer.

Thank you Olivia again for your time and sharing which has raised 113 volunteer hours to Hands On Hong Kong, Social Career, Ednvation, Hong Kong Girl Guides Association, Po Leung Kuk and more.

For more inspiring people to meet, visit Time Auction which connects you with Hong Kong’s visionaries while encouraging volunteerism.

The volunteers would like to say..

Yuki Wong, City University Student

Hi, Olivia. I am Yuki Wong. It is my honour to meet you yesterday. I loved your sharing and I learnt a lot from you. Within the conversation, I could feel your energetic and optimistic. I will bear in mind that always learn something new, be motivative and reinvent ourselves. Also, never regret our decision and be grateful what we have. Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to you once again!

Stephanie Hung, City University Student

Dear Olivia, From the meeting we had today, I could see how you constantly rise to challenges and learn from them. This is definitely essential for us young people to learn how to deal with failure and improve ourselves! About your volunteering story, I totally share the sense of fulfilment we can gain after serving others. Please continue to volunteer and don’t stop believing that you can make an impact on other people’s life, like you just did! Thank you for the wonderful sharing, I learnt a lot! Cheers, Stephanie

Tracy Chan, City University Student

Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude are going to determine how I live my life. I will keep my faith, gratitude and hope alive to figure out what I really want to pursue in my journey. And dare to be the best we can! Quite impressed by what you said today and thank you! — Tracy

Anne Wong, former Private Banker

Thanks Olivia for all your inspiring sharing. Your life quotes “to always be happy and grateful for everything that we have” well reminds me to treasure and enjoy life meaningfully, and “be courageous to explore new things as one only lives once”.


I see a lot of commonalities with Olivia after hearing from her story. I am thrilled to see her volunteer involvement and the thriving lasting career with Swire. She is absolutely a great mentor who is authentic and inspirational. I respect and appreciate it a lot!



Time Auction

Time Auction is a charity that advocates volunteerism. We encourage volunteering with inspiring experiences, while connecting skilled-volunteers with NGOs.