ESF The First 50 Years - People stories

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Discovering yourself

ESF alumna: Dr Jeanne Ng

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 9:02am

[Sponsored article] ESF’s support for its athletes and the variety of opportunities offered to students to find the sports they are most passionate has been well documented and attested.

For Dr Jeanne Ng, netball was key to fitting in as a nine-year-old arriving from Canada. In the years that followed, it helped her develop as a person, offering the once awkward child, a tool to bridge the gap between herself and her classmates.

“Netball helped me get integrated and boost my confidence,” she says. “If it wasn’t for having access to that ‘world’, I would never have learned the importance of teamwork.”

Jeanne thinks team sports are extremely important for young children. “In high school, students tend to hang out in ‘cliques’,” she says. “I had nerdy friends who were like me, and I also had connections with sporty people. I was lucky to have a foot in two different doors.”

Ironically, her career with the school netball team started off as a disciplinary measure.  Her PE teacher punished her for saying netball was a “stupid game” by making her practice during lunchtimes, however,  she got so good that she was invited to join the team.

Jeanne first went to Kennedy Road Junior School and later to Island School. She remembers her teachers and friends as inspirational. She lacked confidence at first thinking her English wasn’t good enough, but her English teacher believed in her and told her she was a good writer, instilling her confidence.

Being in an international setting, she was fascinated learning about other cultures and meeting people who came from different backgrounds. It was being in this kind of environment that inspired her to be more creative.

“Learning to make friends with fellow students from different parts of the world was something that ended up really helping me with my career,” Jeanne says.

At the age of 16, she was sent back to Canada to continue her education. Fascinated by crime stories, she chose to do a BSc. in toxicology and interned at the metropolitan police headquarters, where she once had to interpret the interrogation of a Chinese suspect.

Her parents, however, were worried about her and asked her to move back to Hong Kong, where she struggled to find a career she was passionate about.

“I wanted to make a difference. I was confined to staying in Hong Kong and so kept asking myself what I could do in Hong Kong that would make a difference,” Jeanne says.

Finally, she decided to pursue a PhD in environmental management, which was warmly supported by her parents. This led to her getting a job in the environmental consulting industry, where she embarked on cutting edge projects in fields like air and greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

Years later she joined CLP, where she has been for 13 years. Now in her third role with the company as director of sustainability, her job is to balance the economic, social and environmental sides of the business to make CLP a sustainable company.

She encourages young people to use their school years to understand themselves and not to worry about making mistakes.

“Take this opportunity to discover yourself, try new things and make mistakes,” says Jeanne. “That way, by the time you get to university you will have a better idea of what you want.”