“Everyone is very friendly here, and we get things done.”
“Shangri-La is very different from most other hotel groups because we own a lot of our hotels, and that encourages a lot of entrepreneurship, which is fantastic.”
“I’m an in-house art consultant, and it’s a very interesting role - we are like storytellers for each project.”
“It is very satisfying to know that we have had an impact, and that our work is sustainable in the long run.”
“Kerry Properties offers a very good career path and there is a strong emphasis on training and professional standards.”
“Kerry is very well known to be one of the best employers in Hong Kong in the property industry - a lot of staff have been here for twenty or thirty years, and it’s their first and last job.”
When Jorie Lau first stepped into the marble lobby of the newly opened Kowloon Shangri-La in 1981 she did not realize that she was entering what would become her second home - or that she was about to meet what would become her extended family.
“Over the years, I have developed strong bonds with all my colleagues,” she says. “We learn, perform, and grow together. We help each other out. We share our tears and laughter. I really feel at home here.”
Jorie wears her immaculate concierge’s long coat with the golden crossed keys on the collar with understandable pride. Her welcoming smile is an essential part of the experience of arriving at the hotel for new and returning guests.
To Shangri-La’s concierges, every guest is special, and Jorie has helped to facilitate innumerable memorable experiences for them. These have ranged from directing them to shops and visitor attractions particularly appropriate to their interests, to making dinner reservations at impossible to book restaurants, to setting the scene for perfect romantic marriage proposals.
Over the years she has forged a strong personal connection with many guests, who recommend the hotel to friends and relations – and then call Jorie to ask her to take special care of them, which she infallibly does.
Among the greatest rewards of her job, she says, is the recognition and appreciation by guests and management of the role she plays in expressing Shangri-La’s unique way of caring for people - and the opportunities the job has given her to learn and to grow.
“I am always in learning mode, endeavoring to equip myself to serve our guests better. I can also apply the hotel’s hospitality philosophy to my daily life,” she says.
“In this way I have gained new skills and knowledge, and I feel I stay young, and keep my mind open.”
Raymond Lau joined Kerry Properties in 1993, having already begun his career in the construction industry, which he had found too narrow in scope for his talents and interests.
“I wanted to broaden my perspective,” he recalls. “A friend was working for the Kerry Group and he suggested I answer a job advertisement in the South China Morning Post. I was interviewed and accepted.”
Over the past decades Kerry Properties’ portfolio of commercial, premier residential and mixed-use developments in both Hong Kong and on the Chinese Mainland have brought not just success to the company, but economic vitality to surrounding communities.
Value-driven by over 6,800 passionate people, the company is committed to helping all its employees achieve their individual potential.
Today Raymond’s work in the Project Department extends from design, through the tendering, submission, and construction processes, to handing over to building management.
“Everyday we have to think about new things,” he says. “If you are still doing exactly what you did ten years ago you are out of the market. I have always been encouraged to think outside the box, and to pay very close attention to detail.”
The work is stimulating and challenging, and teamwork at an inter-departmental level is fundamental to the company’s success.
“A good example is the Megabox project,” says Raymond.
“That started in 2004 and was completed in 2007, so the timeframe was very tight. Also we needed to accommodate the different requirements of different tenants, so we had to work very closely together with the marketing people, the promotion people, and the property management to make sure that their design requirements were input.”
From project coordinator Raymond has progressed through the organization in the positions of assistant project manager, project manager, and senior project manager, to his present role as a deputy project director.
“If you work hard there are a lot of opportunities,” he says. “I’ve always liked change, and trying new things, solving problems. That suits my character.”
Alan Cheung joined Kerry Logistics in 2001 as a Management Trainee. He spent his first 15 months with the company moving from department to department, getting valuable direct experience of different aspects of the business.
“Guidance and coaching from superiors and experienced colleagues have been critical to my growth in management,” he says. “And the culture of full delegation of work provided me with the chance to take clear responsibility for projects, which sped up the process of becoming a professional.”
Logistics management involves developing advanced organizational skills, and applying them to overcoming obstacles. Alan learned to excel in the management of complex workflows, to meet tight deadlines, and to manage resource constraints effectively.
“We offer a wide spectrum of services to different industries, which gives me the feeling of working in several different business sectors,” he explains. “It helps to give me a fresh perspective to bring to new projects which stimulates my thinking.”
Alan has been responsible for developing specialized services for specific market sectors, including the automotive and pharmaceutical industries; has enabled clients to enhance their entire supply chains; and has helped them to use tailor-made Kerry Logistics services effectively to achieve their strategic goals.
Each project, he says, has helped him to refine his skills, and to develop a personal working style geared to the needs of a team. Thus equipped to meet the challenges of each new project, he has been able to develop innovative solutions which add real value to the services of Asia’s most trusted logistics services provider.
Alan continues to empower and to lead his team along a path of continuous improvement and enhancement of knowledge and skills, in perpetual readiness to meet new challenges, overcome new obstacles, and offer new and improved services.
“Logistics is vital for all business, and it is the key to success in most cases as well,” he says. “Basically, it is never boring.”
Christine Lee joined the Kerry Group Kuok Foundation in June 2007 as one of the first members. She now has 300 colleagues and works with the support of more than 500 volunteers.
Christine had previously worked in marketing, but had long harbored a desire to help the disadvantaged, and seized the opportunity to make a career change.
“I was inspired by the Foundation’s mission to help poor people,” she says. “It’s by far the best job I’ve ever had.”
As senior project manager, Christine led one of the Foundation’s earliest initiatives – the Congenital Heart Disease Project in China. For five and a half years she worked to build up a crucial group of volunteers across the country, including doctors, teachers and local villagers, before returning to a new role in Hong Kong.
“We have a project in Tung Chung, a community which is very close to the airport, but far from the city, and I was given the opportunity to work on that,” she explains.
“We have 200 low income families with children, and we are partnering with them to help enhance their capabilities so that they can help themselves and help others. I’m so glad to know them. They don’t see us as people from an organization. When we meet we see each other as friends.”
The Foundation takes a holistic approach to helping the needy, with an emphasis on education, healthcare, the environment and social enterprise.
“The core values of the Kerry Group are also the core values of the Foundation,” says Christine. “You must have a passion for people to motivate them. When you work with them, and see the changes in people, you can experience real joy in the outcomes of the work you have done. I experience all that satisfaction in my job. I’m happy to come to work every day.”
Susan O’Hare moved to Asia after graduating from university in the United States, and joined Shangri-La in 2012 after working for two years in investment banking.
She was drawn to Shangri-La’s strong and established presence in Asia. “Shangri-La’s and more broadly the Kerry group’s history in the region is incredible. Kerry’s businesses have meaningfully supported economic growth and development in Asia. Joining Shangri-La, I was thrilled have the opportunity to contribute to the group’s mission.” she says.
Having already experienced the group’s hotels as a guest, Susan was excited to learn what the principles behind Shangri-La’s service were.
“Because I didn’t have any formal training in hotels, I started out in a six-month rotational program at the Island-Shangri-La and had the opportunity to train with virtually every division,” she says. “I could really see how much care and dedication Shangri-La colleagues have for our guests and for the company.”
The first things she was asked to learn about the company, she recalls, were not technical aspects of operations but the core values on which Shangri-La’s service style is based.
The group’s guiding philosophy of providing “Hospitality from the Heart”, was explained to her by the Island Shangri-La’s General Manager.
“He told me ‘The team that welcomes you and takes care of you in our hotel is what truly makes Shangri-La stand out, and what makes our guests very loyal. When travelers come to Shangri-La they are welcomed home’.”
Having learned about one hotel’s operations Susan moved into the corporate office’s sales and marketing division, and became familiar with the group's global operations. She is in daily contact with colleagues around the world, and says the learning experience continues.
“The company truly cares for its employees and creates opportunities for their professional and personal development,” says Susan. “That carries over to how Shangri-La colleagues care for our guests and partners.”
Shumeng Lu joined the Kerry Group in 2014. Educated in Shanghai, and in the United States where she studied for her MBA, she had been working in Management consulting since 2007.
“As a Senior Manager I assist the directors of Kerry Holdings with different projects, including exploring new business opportunities for the group, and I’m also involved in the operations of individual companies,” she explains.
When Shumeng was first approached in connection with a position at Kerry Holdings, she was immediately attracted by the opportunity to apply her analytical skills to different areas of the group’s operations where they could have a real business impact.
“It is stimulating because the group has so many diversified businesses that I am interested in - the hospitality, retail, and wine businesses for example,” she says.
Areas of her expertise that have been called on include market and business opportunity assessment and operation efficiency improvement, and she has been involved in topics ranging from ice cream retail, to spa and wellness, to senior living.
“One of the projects I’ve been involved in was a strategic partnership with the biggest e-commerce platform in China to launch a new hotel booking method. It greatly simplifies the guest check-in and check-out processes, and a successful roll-out established Shangri-La as a pioneer among 5-star groups worldwide in that area. That was a truly rewarding experience for me and for the team.”
Shumeng appreciates working in a corporate environment in which colleagues from Kerry Holdings and different operating companies are mutually supportive, and channels of communication are always open.
“It is stimulating to have the opportunity to work directly with a lot of experienced senior people in the organization who are willing to engage with you and who respect opinions from people who are junior to them,” she says.
“People here take care of each other, and are willing to share, so working in this environment makes everybody comfortable. We are all part of a team, working with friends.”
In the Kerry Group every individual makes a unique contribution.