The Myth of Overnight Success — Lunch with Stephanie Smith, Head of Asia Pacific Operations at Goldman Sachs

Lunch with Stephanie has raised 76 volunteer hours

Time Auction’s here to give YOU the opportunity to converse with the great change makers of the 21st century. Volunteer 10 hours to any charity and earn your space to spend time with these amazing people over food. Let’s talk about the lunch you just missed:

Meet ✨Stephanie Smith, Head of Asia Pacific Operations at Goldman Sachs and COO for Goldman Sachs Asia Bank Limited. Her 19-year long tenure is clearly not an overnight success. Starting out in New York and moving all the way to Hong Kong, Stephanie spent her time working in one of the world’s most prestigious firms while supporting diversity and inclusion with Goldman Sachs and the broader community.

Over lunch, she shared about her move to Hong Kong, and how 👟 exercise and 😌 meditation have transformed her life. She also had her son come to join us to share another perspective on her life!

“Sometimes it means saying yes and no to certain things.”

Our conversation started off with Stephanie and her son talking about their daily routine, and you could see how she balances her life between corporate and family:

So my weekends are pretty much dedicated to my family. That is the one boundary that I have set. We tend to do Sunday brunches. After brunch, I do usually about 3 hours worth of work, just catch up and plan my next week.

On her work schedule:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, because of daylight savings right now, I have calls until midnight. That’s pretty much why Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays are quite religious for me, it’s as relaxing as it can be.

When we first saw Stephanie, it’s really clear that she has an amazing charm and energy, but was also generous in sharing her lessons from books and personal experiences. She referred to Theodore Roosevelt’s infamous speech 🎤The Man in the Arena:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

On her life philosophy:

Find 🔥 passion and finding 🔥 purpose in all that I do. It’s where I strive with everything professionally and personally, to make sure that it’s something that I’m passionately and personally attracted to. And that I find that I have purpose, delivering value or I’m also receiving something from it.

When asked about the ✨ superpower ✨ she wants to have:

I admire those that can be totally zen and have a poker face. I give everything away on my face, and there are these moments where there is power in being slower to respond.

“My instinct is:

Something is wrong—jump on it.

Someone says something — respond to it.

I feel something — react to it.

And so for me, the superpower is to sit with it for a bit, process it, then respond to it.”

A habit that improved her life:

Daily meditation: “Coming to Hong Kong, the hustle and the bustle and the feeling that you’re being pulled in every direction — it’s a lot. To find balance for me was in daily meditation. I’m not a 30-minute meditator, I’m not there yet. But spending 10–15 minutes consistently, or when I feel out of sorts and taking my breath, has been transformational for me.”

A message that she wanted us to take away:

“If there are lessons that I could share and have you take away from today, it’s this:

You judge yourself harsher than actually more people judge you. Be kind to yourself.

Thank you so much to Stephanie for raising 76 volunteer hours and all the volunteers who dedicated their ours for the greater good! Also hats off to Yim Yuk Ping for the awesome photos. To see our next experiences, head to our Time Auction website. We’re also celebrating our 5th anniversary on 27 April by bringing our featured guests and people from the community!




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

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Time Auction

Time Auction

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

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