Life's priority: Time is precious for CEO Emma Sherrard Matthew

Providing preferential treatment for customers 24-hours, seven-days-a-week requires organisation

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 1:35pm

When Emma Sherrard Matthew joined Quintessentially, the luxury lifestyle group and concierge service, there were only a handful of offices worldwide and a staff of four in Hong Kong.

Seven years later, Matthew is global CEO, overseeing more than 60 offices and a Hong Kong headcount of 55. Born in Singapore and raised in Hong Kong and Britain, she admits it took her some time to understand the concept of a concierge service. "In my previous role in Asia, I was promoting British business, taking trade delegations up into the mainland," she says. "In Asia, we don't expect to pay for concierge services. If you've lived in Hong Kong for any length of time you know you are just one phone call away from getting what you want."

What the company provides for members is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service in which members have priority access and preferential treatment wherever they are. "When you've landed in a city, you want to be fast-tracked into what's hot and avoid what's not," Matthew says.

"What I consider the best may be different to what you consider - I want you to take me where you've got the local dim sum and it's full of character and personality. Someone else may want the fine dining experience."

For Matthew, who travels extensively and recently spent six months in the United States building the business, time is precious. "I've got some key pillars throughout the year - that could be, for example, a board meeting," she says. "I'm aware that I have to be flexible because things do change, but I need to be focused on where my pillars are going to be. Even as a child, I planned my life in three-month blocks."

When in Hong Kong, Matthew's daily routine is solid. "Mornings are slightly quieter when I am in Hong Kong. I know I can have a few hours where I might go for a walk, I might do some exercise, I might have coffee with a girlfriend. As the day speeds up, all the different markets are coming online," she says.

"I tend to do my Asian business in the morning. I then have Middle East around lunchtime. I then have London and then New York. When I'm in the States, the routine flips on itself."

Although Matthew enjoys relaxing with her husband on their boat or on a beach, achieving goals is something she focuses on in her spare time. She has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Ben Nevis and Mount Kinabalu, and trekked 100km across Papua New Guinea.

"It allows me some time out to appreciate what we have around us," she says. "I think a lot about time, because I do want to make the most of it."TF