Giving peace a fighting chance
Being brought up in a solid middle-class family, Louise Chan soon learned about the importance of integrity. To this day, it's a code by which she lives, in both her career and personal life. But as we all know, life is far from simple, disrupted at times by misunderstandings and disputes, which need to be resolved. Otherwise, they threaten the balance and development of society.
Because of this and after years of working at a bank, Chan decided to contribute in a different way, giving back to society by helping to resolve such conflicts. Today, as a mediator accredited with the London-based Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, and director of the mediation and arbitration business of CLLC Dispute Resolution Services, Chan works daily as a peacemaker.
Why did you decide to become a mediator?
Where there are people, there are conflicts. By resolving these, productivity is increased and society is more harmonious. I decided to become a mediator to benefit society.
Who or what inspires you to achieve?
My mentor Charles Lam. We met through a mentorship programme after I left university and while I was working for a global bank. He has long-term vision, a caring heart for society and is a man of integrity. He has also developed a very unique set of methods and theories to help young people find the right career and develop into successful people.
What makes a good mediator?
Quality mediators need to have in-depth knowledge and experience of the industry and the subject that they mediate on. For example, a mediator on banking and finance needs to know the operations, business processes and products of the industry.
What are your future goals?
My childhood dream was to be a successful person in whatever career or position, but my current dream is to be a happy and successful person. I believe that this is also the goal of many teenagers. I believe the best is yet to come.
What is your motto?
Don't back down. Always stay positive. Reminding yourself of what you have achieved so far can help you through difficult times.
How do you balance your work and personal time?
I work out, play the piano and listen to music to freshen my mind.
What lies in the future for mediators in Hong Kong?
Opportunities. After the Practice Direction 31 came into force in January 2010, parties were encouraged to explore the possibility of mediation before taking their civil disputes to court.
Next year, the Financial Dispute Resolution Centre (FDRC) will be established to help resolve disputes in the finance and banking industries. This will also create opportunities for mediators.
What tips can you share about job market survival?
First, when making career choices, be true to yourself. Never evaluate success by going to work for a certain company or taking up a particular position. Second, keep learning and attending courses. Third, seek advice from those who are qualified and trustworthy. Fourth and last, do not be the prisoner of your own perception. Open your eyes and heart to the world.
What are your thoughts on the seemingly increasing amount of disputes that have taken place over recent years in Hong Kong?
Society needs a more positive outlook. People need to be open to learning and not be so self-centred. Blaming and scolding change nothing and only slow down individual and societal development.
Do you think women are sufficiently respected at work?
More and more women are attaining higher positions in the workplace. But more men still have higher rankings. I look forward to seeing more women up there.
The year the FDRC will be set up to resolve finance and banking-related disputes. The result is expected to be more job openings for mediators