Alumni Challenge Special - Emily Ma Richardson ’93 We caught up with Emily Ma Richardson ’93 as she remembers her times at HKIS, inspirational service trips and how an appreciation of Asian culture brought her back to Hong Kong. Emily takes up the story...
My closest friends are from HKIS. Even though we went our separate ways for college, we eventually reunited – whether during my time in Washington DC or New York. What amazes me is now I’m back in Hong Kong, I’m closer to them more than ever. It was December 2010 when I married in London and was I so touched by the number of HKIS friends who flew from all corners of the world to be by my side – a truly globetrotting group of friends!
I attended HKIS from the middle of Grade 6 until graduation and I have fond memories of many teachers: Mr. Larkin, who I was fortunate enough to have for two years; Mr. Ewing, who made reading the classics so much more enjoyable; Mr. McCarthy, whose classes involved being a former US president for the day, and to Mr. Eichert, whose biology class involved dissecting animals that frequently made appearances on top of the statue at the school entrance! The teachers at HKIS had an amazing ability to brighten up the most challenging of topics and went to extraordinary lengths to engage students across a range of classes. This dedication and encouragement gave me such a solid background and prepared me so well for college – it enabled me to step up in the real world.
What I also enjoyed about HKIS was that education stretched from the classroom to the great outdoors. What other school offers such enriching experiences, from skiing in Japan to hiking and rafting in Nepal to meeting Mother Teresa in India? These trips sparked an interest in Asian studies and prompted me to spend a college semester studying in India and Nepal and eventually move back to Asia.
I was a keen swimmer and member of the field hockey team and was lucky enough to travel to Taipei, Singapore and Japan, representing HKIS. I’m not sure how Ms.Duncan-Laird continually summoned the energy to motivate and manage us all, but she did, and we were the best hockey team in Hong Kong during that time. Being part of a team was invaluable experience and this, coupled with having the opportunity to travel to far-flung destinations in Asia, instilled a sense of maturity, adventure and camaraderie – strong foundations that help me today. I enjoyed 12 years in the hotel industry across the US and Asia, focusing on sales and marketing. In 2010 I decided it was time to leverage this experience and set up my own company – Flaunt Boutique (www.flaunt.hk), an online destination for luxurious and unique lingerie.
I had always talked about having my own business and having returned to entrepreneurial Hong Kong I decided the time was right. Since moving back to Hong Kong six years ago, I have wanted to give back to HKIS in some way, and now I know how I can – I would love to mentor those who are interested in starting their own business by sharing my challenges and successes. Eventually I would love to offer summer internships opportunities for those interested in understanding the operations of an online retail store.
My years at HKIS gave me the confidence that anything is possible. It was the amazing teachers, the multi-cultural students and the abundance of activities available that made me feel that my choices were endless.
Get in touch!
Alums can contact Emily via email@example.com
Source: DragonTales Summer Edition 2011