The Hong Kong Business Amazing Race helps to combat neuro-muscular disease
The second annual Hong Kong Business Amazing Race proved a big hit with everyone involved. Co-hosted by MetLife Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) on May 8, the race brought together more than 40 teams of participants from a cross-section of the Hong Kong community spanning MetLife Hong Kong employees, agents, business partners, MetLife Facebook fans, as well as HKUST MBA students. The teams tackled a series of mental and physical challenges in different Hong Kong locations.
The aim was to provide an enjoyable test of mind and muscle, while highlighting some of the city’s cultural, historic, and economic values. The competition format was carefully designed to highlight the qualities necessary for leadership and effective teamwork: strategic intelligence, determination, perseverance, and innovative thinking.
This year’s Amazing Race brought together around 200 participants, which constitutes a 90 percent greater turnout than last year. As a result of everyone’s efforts, the organisers raised funds for the Hong Kong Neuro-Muscular Disease Association (HKNMDA), and drew attention to the advantages of maintaining diversity and inclusiveness while building a successful enterprise.
“At MetLife, both in Hong Kong and around the world, we are deeply committed to having a dynamic work environment and a strong culture of diversity and inclusion,” says Sunshine Farzan, Head of Marketing and Communications of MetLife Hong Kong. “Through our own initiatives and partnerships such as our collaboration with HKUST to sponsor the Amazing Race, we seek to foster an environment conducive to the seamless exchange of ideas and information which makes a positive impact on Hong Kong society.”
The race began at the HKUST campus in Clear Water Bay. From there, each four- or five-person team had to use public transport or leg power to get between checkpoints at locations ranging from Po Lam and Diamond Hill, to the Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower, Central Post Office, and the Hopewell Centre. This required superb knowledge of Hong Kong’s geography and transit routes.
The challenges the teams encountered were designed to test a variety of skills specific to Hong Kong while highlighting the city’s unique attributes. For example, at one stop, teams had to show their knowledge of local company logos. Another challenge was to find a store selling traditional Hong Kong snacks, all while trying to beat the clock.
The top teams completed the course in just over three hours, and the general consensus was that the race had been tough, fast-paced – and great fun.
“Contestants had to think on their feet. They explored some less familiar areas of Hong Kong, and showed a great sense of team spirit,” Farzan says. “We were extremely proud to partner with HKUST for this initiative because, as a responsible corporate citizen, we take community engagement very seriously. We are always looking for ways to contribute [to society].”
Money raised from the race will go to the HKNMDA, with a view to increasing awareness about the organisation and supporting the essential work they do.
Corporate social responsibility is paramount to the culture of MetLife Hong Kong. The company has been named ‘Caring Company’ for four consecutive years in recognition of various contributions to the Hong Kong community. Over the last 20 years, the company has consistently made a point of helping society through a diverse series of corporate social responsibility programmes and sponsorship schemes. The intention is to deliver in meaningful ways on MetLife’s “pursue more from life” brand promise.
In addition to MetLife’s Amazing Race, corporate citizenship events and campaigns have included the Taproot Foundation, Project Home Works, The Wall Street Journal & MetLife Foundation Financial Inclusion Challenge, Badminton World Federation Superseries, and MetLife’s Community Badminton Program and Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation. Additionally, the company sponsors The Women’s Foundation and cultural and art exhibitions at the Asia Society.
Collaboration with the Taproot Foundation gives employees the chance to use their professional skills and expertise as volunteers in projects with NGOs. The projects involve helping centres for sustainable development in rural areas in countries like Vietnam by giving practical strategic advice, or spreading awareness to potential supporters in the corporate world.
“Through such initiatives and partnerships, we want to encourage an environment conducive to the seamless exchange of ideas and information, which can have a positive impact on Hong Kong’s society,” Farzan says.
With this in mind, MetLife has teamed up with the NGO Habitat for Humanity for Project Home Works. The goal is to take concrete action to ensure that low-income and other vulnerable people in Hong Kong have safe and decent homes to live in.
“MetLife volunteers go to public housing areas to help with painting, repairs, renovation, and general cleaning,” Farzan says. “They work with local contractors and the Habitat team to do something that really makes a tangible difference in people’s lives.”