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Beauty Empower With La Prairie: Yenn Wong And Joyce Tam On Their Mission To Lift Up Women

Empower With La Prairie: Yenn Wong And Joyce Tam On Their Mission To Lift Up Women

Yenn Wong and Joyce Tam for La Prairie
Joyce Tam and Yenn Wong (Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong)
By Tatler Hong Kong
October 08, 2020
Tatler+ La Prairie
Both Jia Group CEO Yenn Wong and Co-founder of the Design Trust Joyce Tam are women at the forefront of their fields, lifting up others along the way

“It is not only about adding years to life but adding life to years,” said Dr Paul Niehans, La Prairie’s founding spirit. It’s for this reason that the Swiss skincare house hopes to empower women to take time into their own hands—giving them the option to live life to the full, while keeping their youthful glow. Their iconic gravity-defying serum—Skin Caviar Liquid Lift—promises the ultimate anti-aging treatment as it combines two most potent and advanced caviar ingredients in one unequalled serum.

Tatler talks to two power women making the most of their years: Yenn Wong, the CEO of JIA Group, and Joyce Tam, the philanthropist and executive director in private wealth management. They are both leading figures in their respective careers, but artfully find time to balance philanthropy in the community and the demands at home.

See also: 15 Of Hong Kong's Most Powerful Women

Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong
 

Restaurateur Yenn Wong On Her Career And Love of Design

The Singaporean founder of JIA Group talks about being inspired by her mother, the art of balancing things, her passion for design and her mission to empower women

Yenn Wong launched one of Hong Kong’s first boutique hotels in Causeway Bay at the age of just 23-years-old, and has been a powerhouse in the hospitality industry ever since. She’s now the CEO of Jia Group and oversees 14 culinary hotspots, including the recently relaunched 22 Ships and one-Michelin-starred Duddell’s that she designed alongside her husband Alan Lo.

Her restaurants and hotels across Asia have become synonymous with delicious food and impeccable design with collaborations that include London-based Studioilse led by Ilse Crawford and Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. Even in this unprecedentedly turbulent year, Yenn Wong remains positive with two new concepts waiting to be launched later in 2020.

Yenn Wong and Joyce Tam for La Prairie
Akris top, available at Net-A-Porter; Iris & Ink skirt, available at The Outnet; FRED bracelet, ring (Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong)

Describe what it means to be a woman in this decade.

Honest, relevant, multitasking and balance.

Can you tell us about one important woman in your life, and how she has impacted you?

Definitely my mother. She sacrificed her career to take care of me and my brother and nurtured us to who we are today. She taught me a lot about being a woman, wife, mother and sister and at the same time always supporting my career. She's always my role model and I learnt how to build my emotional strength from her while growing up. 

For many women, “doing it all” can sometimes feel like an impossible pursuit. What advice do you have for women who aspire to this goal?

I think you need to build that mental strength and master the art of balancing things. It’s impossible to be everywhere for everything, thus it's important to manage time efficiently and also accept the right support.

If you found out that the meaning of life was to serve one sole purpose, what would your purpose be?

Feed good food!

How important is giving back to the community to you, and what is your channel to do this?

I think it's extremely important. As a company, we are very concerned with how our environment is being violated, that’s why internally we have initiatives that started 4-5 years ago eliminating straws, sustainable packaging where possible, reducing single-use plastic. We also work with HATCH, a non-profit that supports single or lower-income mothers.

What does empowering other women mean to you?

It means if I can influence others with my experiences and learnings, hopefully, we can build a more gender-balanced world, which is still lacking in many parts of the world.

What is the most important lesson to teach your children about the world?

Empathy.

What drives you?

Finding purpose in what I'm doing drives me a lot, my children, my work. It's to know that everything I'm doing is for something, whether it's for society, my family, for me.

When did your interest in design begin?

My father used to be in the construction business, so when I was young and I would follow him onto worksites, I always found it really interesting how you could turn a space of nothing into something entirely different. I wouldn't say those projects taught me about design as I understand it today, but I just loved the process. For the hotel, we used Phillipe Starke so it was really interesting to learn from him about design and space planning. I really enjoyed that part of the business.

How do you feel female representation in art has changed over the years, and what do you expect to see in the future?

Female artists are getting much more attention over the past decade and I’m glad to see institutions and collecting communities beginning to recognise the role female artists played in modern and contemporary art history. Yet the art produced by top female artists is still lagging behind their male counterparts, so I hope in the future the market will correct that.

In your opinion, what is the most interesting or thought-provoking conversation happening in the art world right now?

There’s a lot of conversation on the topic of race and we are seeing the emergence of a very interesting African art scene. I’m very excited to see how artists like Kwesi Botchway and Amoako Boafo develop their career in the medium term.

Brands like La Prairie have been long communicating on the fulfilling purpose of empowering women and the communities at large. What do you think about this?

Female empowerment is all about giving women the skills, space and confidence to make life-determining and world-changing decisions. Women make up almost half of the workforce, but professionals continue to face challenges in their growth within organisations. It is important for us to create more diverse and successful teams to unlock the full potential of the workforce.

What is the role that beauty could play in this quest?

Beauty means confidence and empowerment. Our self-worth is connected to our confidence, which gives us the power to take on the world.

Power Woman Joyce Tam Talks About Female Empowerment

An executive director in private wealth management and the founding member of Design Trust, Joyce Tam wants to empower women to have the confidence to speak their minds

Empowered to take time into her own hands, Joyce Tam is the epitome of a power woman. She’s an executive director in private wealth management, where she controls the assets of ultra-high net worth individuals, and is the founding member of Design Trust—a female-led grant-making initiative that supports creative projects and research in Hong Kong.

Her mother runs one of the city’s largest NGOs, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, so volunteering is deeply entrenched into her daily life. Through philanthropy, she hopes to lift women up, like the generation of trailblazing women in her own family, who gave her the confidence to flourish in the male-dominated industry of finance.

Ralph Lauren jumpsuit; Iris & Ink jacket, available at The Outnet; FRED earrings (Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong)
Ralph Lauren jumpsuit; Iris & Ink jacket, available at The Outnet; FRED earrings (Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong)

Describe what it means to be a woman in this decade.

Being a woman in this decade is about being empowered to follow your passion.

Can you tell us about one important woman in your life, and how she has impacted you?

My mother has been my role model and mentor throughout my life.  She comes from a generation of trail blazing women who have given the opportunity for women of this decade to flourish. I hope to impact society in a way that she has. 

For many women, “doing it all” can sometimes feel like an impossible pursuit. What advice do you have for women who aspire to this goal?

“Doing it all“ should not be seen as an aspiration. Every woman should have the right to succeed in any areas of their passion whether it be their career, family, or both, as it is the right of every man. For men or women alike, success is the result of many failures. Every failure builds perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Welcome failures, because it makes us better and stronger.

If you found out that the meaning of life was to serve one sole purpose, what would your purpose be?

The meaning of life is to leave this world a better place than the one you found.

How important is giving back to the community to you, and what is your channel to do this?

Very important. I serve on a number of charities which contribute to causes that I’m passionate about. But I also think the community starts at home. We can give back at the smallest level in all our lives. Just being thankful for people in my life, whether it is my husband or my doorman, and remembering to voice it. A word of thank you and encouragement to those around you makes a difference.

How do you feel female representation in art has changed (or not changed) over the years, and what do you expect (or hope) to see in the future?

I am very glad to see female representation grow so much in art over the years. Whether it is an artist and all those who are in the ecosystem. I hope that gender balance continues to be a consideration in exhibitions, shows, commentary etc. I am grateful to be a part of an organization like Design Trust that is led by a very capable woman, who ensures gender balance in all aspects, from our board to grantees, to program participants.  

See also: Hong Kong's Power Women And The Women Who Inspire Them

Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Stephanie Teng for Tatler Hong Kong

Can you tell me about your interest in art?

Art is more a part of our lives than we tend to think, it's a way of expression, it's a very important aspect of society in terms of enrichment.

In your opinion, what is the most interesting or thought-provoking conversation happening in the art world right now?

I think the most interesting topics in the art world are also those that are impacting the wider world—for example, the wealth gap and the need for a multilateral and diverse community.

What does empowering other women mean to you?

Empowering is to support and encourage. It is sadly too often the case that women are most critical of women. Again, a word of encouragement to those around you makes a difference.

How have you carved out a space for yourself in the male-dominated world of finance?

You need to learn to speak up, speak your mind and add value in a certain way. I think sometimes, especially for women, confidence is very important. You have to feel confident enough to speak up, but I think once we do speak up, we add a different level of perspective. I do client coverage and sometimes the relationships and the softer skills side of things we can definitely add value to. Knowing that, how we present our ideas makes a difference as well.

What is the most important lesson to teach your children about the world?

Change is the only constant in life, embrace it. Good times or bad times never last. Also to know that failure is our stepping stone to becoming a better person. I think when I was younger, when things went wrong it was just very freaky and like the world was ending but I'm just so grateful for all of those mishaps because it made me a much wiser, better person.

Brands like La Prairie have been long communicating on the fulfilling purpose of empowering women and the communities at large. What do you think about this?

Female empowerment is about women understanding their inherent value, harnessing their immense passion, and developing the skills, grit and confidence to make life-defining choices and world-changing decisions. 

Why are we drawn to beauty?

Because it defines how we feel and behave. Beauty is what gives us the confidence and power to take on the world.

Discover more at laprairie.com

  • Photography Stephanie Teng
  • Styling Christie Simpson
  • Hair Gloomy Kwok at Hong Kong Makeup Artist
  • Make-Up Taurus Lee at Makeupbees

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Beauty Yenn Wong Joyce Tam Jia Group Design Trust La Prairie Luxury skincare Skin Caviar Liquid Lift

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