Reflection of health and happiness - Career Times

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Cream of the Crop This is the ninth article in a 10-part series acknowledging the achievements of Hong Kong's most esteemed female entrepreneurs Reflection of health and happiness The health supplement product industry is thriving in Asia and competition is intense. Gammy Kwok however, is one entrepreneur who has steered the right course after a rocky beginning, Sophie Leung writes A decade ago, Gammy Kwok sat in her warehouse eyeing a towering stack of unsold imported French cosmetic products in which she had invested millions. She remembers saying to herself: "It's a pity I can't consume these like food." Misguided on the product potential, Ms Kwok was disappointed to see such unsatisfactory sales figures and set about deciphering what exactly rocked the boat of Hong Kong consumers and why. During the analytical process, she discovered something about herself. "Without strong adherence to my dreams and the inherent values, I could never survive business disasters nor shoulder the risk involved in commerce," reveals Ms Kwok, general manager of New ImMAX Company Limited and Herbs Generation International Limited. This pragmatism in the face of failure has rendered her business endeavours both reputable and profitable. Family life a natural remedy for stress Supplementary photos: Courtesy of Gammy Kwok Traditional values The fundamentals of the health industry have changed in the last decade in Hong Kong, partly due to the SARS pandemic and the revolution in how people now perceive well-being. Ms Kwok has witnessed a shift in consumer expenditure towards a greater disbursement on health and well-being. Quick off the mark she therefore seized the opportunity and leveraged on the Chinese medicine boom. Introducing popular health supplement products such as ganoderma sporo-pollen, which is produced scientifically from traditional medicinal herbs by Hong Kong manufacturers, Ms Kwok has revived the market in over-the-counter Chinese medicinal products. Her employment of innovative marketing strategies and adherence to strict quality standards set her apart from her industry peers. She gives a lucid account of her rationale. "I market Chinese medicinal products because I believe in the value of natural and traditional medicine," she says. Receiving an honorary bachelor's degree from the Professional Validation Centre of Hong Kong Business Sector Ms Kwok has personal experience with the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine and she applies no theoretical mission statement to boost sales. Some 11 years ago, her three-year-old daughter was an asthma sufferer. A Taiwanese professor recommended cordyceps sinensis to improve her immunity. "The medicine was helpful and now she can go skiing without the threat of an asthma attack," she explains. Daring to dream Regarding spiritualism and her own well-being, Ms Kwok is a firm believer in the intrinsic link between private and professional accomplishment. "Once you steer your life in the right direction, your career will follow suit," she emphasises. Receiving the China Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs award in 2007 perhaps illustrates just how successful Ms Kwok has become. On the key to quality management she feels team leaders should share the same virtues as shepherds. Indeed, creating professional harmony can be a challenge in her eyes and she regards the common lack of faith in others as the most demanding aspect of her quest to build a successful team. Patience and empathy are essential for riding out storms and connecting people who will ultimately perform better in a group than individually. Receiving an honorary bachelor's degree from the Professional Validation Centre of Hong Kong Business Sector Another taxing part of the job according to Ms Kwok is maintaining integrity and sticking to the right path in business as there are always profit temptations. However, since profit is one motivating factor for entrepreneurs, she encourages young people to start their own businesses. "Daring to dream is the indispensable quality of a real entrepreneur," she says. Even failure is not always negative as learning from failure is the key to future success and potential employers value this tenacity in their staff. The natural cyclic nature of business guarantees Ms Kwok her fair share of ups and downs. Balancing life is therefore crucial, especially in stressful times. She feels that appropriate emotional management promotes sound overall health and prides herself as a woman in the industry who can draw on her feminine side when communicative sensitivity is necessary. Doing good deeds can give a person life satisfaction, Ms Kwok notes. She donates a portion of the company's profits to fund community initiatives. "I feel compelled to contribute to society," She remarks. However, she is quick to point out that donating money is only one way to support the community, adding that she has the utmost respect for people who devote their time to volunteer work. Taken from Career Times 26 September 2008, p. C12 Your comments are welcome at [email protected]
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