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About Me(l)

You know those millennials who are young enough to pass for digital natives, but also old enough to remember the days of rotary phones, dial-up, and actual mixtapes? I’m kind of like that too with my cultural background.

I grew up in Hong Kong as a British colonial subject. I was raised by Filipino domestic helpers, including one who’s essentially a mother figure for eight years (and whom I reunited with over two decades later!). I was exposed to lots of ideas and influences by virtue of going to a well-resourced school founded by French Catholics and attended by many children raised overseas, becoming comfortably bilingual in Chinese and English (and learning Japanese for a number of years), and obsessing over music from all over the world. Hoping for relief from my dysfunctional home, I went to summer school in California and later university in New England and even fit in a semester abroad in old England. My first meaningful work experience was at a diversity and talent management organisation for people of colour in Boston, and when the recession and my student visa compelled me to leave, I travelled around Europe for a bit, moved back to Hong Kong for work, and relocated to London four years later to pursue a career change. There’s more, but you get the idea.

My academic and professional background is another way in which I’ve been an “only” while being “many” at the same time. I was both analytical and creative, so I did dual degrees in economics and communication, with a minor in visual arts too. At work, I was a Swiss Army knife (what I’d later recognise as a mix of my fawn response and my signature strength of love of learning). I was a thinker and a doer, a coordinator and a creator, a firefighter and a peacemaker. I eventually became a full-stack software engineer who understood product and business and who’d actively engage people in other functions, observe user interactions, design and build features from scratch, and even write the copy. It’s just my thing to bridge between disciplines, cultures and languages, and, as a client once said, be “the glue that kept everything and everyone together”.

 

Yet all that accomplishment and adventure did not spare me from adding to and eventually having to confront my extensive history of small-t and big-T trauma, which really caught up with me when the #MeToo movement was in full swing. I’d already done a good amount of self-help and some therapy, but since 2018 I’ve ramped those up, slowed life down (with a lot more time in nature), and added peer counselling, expressive arts, mindful movement, and coaching. Lots of tough pills and humble pie later, I’ve rebuilt from the ground up. As of 2023, I live with a stable sense of self-worth and meaning, and a growing number of life-giving relationships.

I used to vastly undervalue myself and think all the knowledge I’d accumulated over my life was common sense to “regular” people. After all, I was someone who had to formally learn what healthy relationships looked like (and perhaps more importantly, how to stop taking red flags as “I just need to work harder!”); how to identify and communicate needs gently but assertively; how to be interdependent rather than too independent or too dependent; what boundaries, maturity, and self-compassion actually meant; how to grieve (it’s a life-enhancing skill and it’s not just for deaths!); when to grit and when to quit; and so many more.

 

It wasn’t until I started actively engaging people in deep conversations that I realised that I did have something to offer in terms of my wealth of knowledge and resources on professional and personal development; my gift of identifying applicability of concepts from one domain to another; my use of language, analogy and imagery; and my way of being and relating to people. In fact, my first coaching client came weeks before I’d even started formal training: a friend I’d reconnected with found our conversations so helpful that he referred a friend to me and suggested that I charge for that work.

And it makes sense, you know? Having spent more than a decade creating, editing, and translating in one way or another, I’m well-prepared to take my skills and experiences to what’s arguably the most important job: to create our own path, to edit the stories we tell ourselves, and to translate our values into our actions.

And thank goodness for the power of genuine human connection, without which I don’t think I could’ve faced the necessary hard truths and made the breakthroughs I did. Shame started to melt away, reparative experiences started to add up, healthy habits started to take root, and the realm of possibilities started to expand. It’s often not enough to know something intellectually, and the experience of safe, supportive relationships help make change possible and sustainable while we (re)discover and (re)connect with ourselves.

I’m training as an integrative counsellor/psychotherapist at the University of East London so that when I qualify in late 2024 I can also work with people with more serious challenges and in other parts of the healing journey. In the meantime, with the coaching and counselling training I’ve completed and the lived experience I’ve got, I’d love to support you in your quest to take charge of your life and work towards who you want to become.

 

Thank you for visiting my website. I wish you all the best. 

Education & Training

  • Advanced Certificate in Life Coaching (Distinction) | University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education

  • Advanced Certificate in Counselling (Distinction) | University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education

  • Courses in Positive Psychology | University of Pennsylvania, via Coursera

  • Training in Peer Counselling, including as Group Facilitator and as Trainer | Talk for Health (UK)

  • ADHD and Neurodiversity Interventions for Women: Essential Strength-Based Skills and Tools (with Dr Michelle Frank) | PESI UK

  • Trauma-informed Practice for Multi-sector Working with Hong Kong Migrants | WAVE Trust (UK)

  • Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors (with Dr Janina Fisher) | PESI UK

  • Mental Health First Aid | Mental Health Association of Hong Kong

  • Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) | Scrum.org

  • Bachelor of Science in Communication, with Minor in Visual Arts | Boston University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics, including Courses in Existentialism and Organisational Behaviour | Boston University

Other Influences

I’m an avid reader and sometimes joke about how I do the reading so you don’t have to (or can’t where there are language barriers!). The gallery below includes just some of the psychologists, therapists, coaches, behaviour scientists, etc. whose influences are apparent in my coaching and, more generally, how I show up.*

*Please note that I am not providing therapy in my capacity as a coach/mentor. With Internal Family Systems as an influence, for example, I can conceptualise people as having many different parts, none of which is bad, and all of which deserve our curiosity and acceptance. As another example, informed by Motivational Interviewing, I don’t see ambivalence as a problem on the coachee’s part, and I’m mindful of the directing-guiding-following continuum (and mostly use the last two).

Book a Discovery Call

Wondering if I’m the real deal or just talking a good game? There’s only one way to find out! Let’s have a 25-minute chat and see if there’s a fit. The call is free, and you won’t be pressured into signing up for more.

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