Groomed for success

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 July, 2010, 12:00am

With determination and perseverance, Hong Kong's 2002 Asian Games rowing bronze medallist, Yung Ka-yan, has built a career on her passion for pets. After retiring from full-time rowing in 2007, Yung joined a media company as a business executive. Realising the job did not suit her, she sought advice from the Hong Kong Athletes Career and Education Programme (HKACEP), and has since pursued a career in pet grooming.

Why did you quit rowing?

Over the years, I sustained a lot of injuries that affected my training, so I decided to switch to a different career. It was a difficult decision because rowing had become a part of my life.

I have learned from being an athlete that we should not be too proud when we win, nor discouraged by defeats. This mindset helped me build self-confidence and motivated me to set goals and persevere to do my best.

How did you change career paths?

With the help of [human resources firm] Adecco, I learned how I should build my career, what communication and interpersonal skills are needed in a business setting, and received training on writing application letters and interview techniques. I [then] joined HKACEP [initiated by the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and Adecco]. I knew former athletes who managed the programme, such as [former windsurfer] Sam Wong Tak-sum, so I could open up more easily. They knew what my needs were, helped me identify my career goals and gave me confidence.

Why does a job in pet grooming interest you?

During the year when I was at my first job, I tried to identify my genuine interests. I have a passion for pets and enjoy their company because my family have kept pets since my childhood. I love spending time with dogs and sharing tips about how to look after them. I am immensely satisfied when dogs look better as a result of my grooming and when customers appreciate my efforts.

What are your aspirations and how will you go about achieving them?

My long-term goal is to set up a salon where customers can socialise and share their experience looking after their pets, while the dogs enjoy being groomed and I pursue my aspirations. I have been studying for a professional pet groomer's licence.

What career advice do you have for young people?

Regardless of their past experience, young people should be willing to explore new things and start at the junior level. Taking the first step is crucial in building a career. Humility is also important.

Roll call

Bronze medal, women's lightweight single sculls, 2002 Asian Games

Bronze medal, women's coxless pair, 2005 East Asian Games

Successfully made a transition to work in a commercial organisation under HKACEP