The Standard’s Masterclass
Breaking the shackles of gender roles (Dr. Theresa Fok)
Breaking the shackles of gender roles
The tenacious entrepreneur Dr Theresa Fok recalls how she overcame personal hurdles in her various roles as a daughter, mother and business owner in a traditionally patriarchal society. Her defiance against gender roles of her time paved the way for her successful career.
Growing up in a society grounded in Confucian beliefs, women were subject to rigid gender roles where they were expected to be subservient and dutiful ladies responsible for only household chores and bearing children. At an early age, I began questioning these norms and I learned to create education and career opportunities for myself.
Persist for your happiness
As the second eldest child out of five in my family, I observed my father push my mother to give birth to a son. My mother battled with postpartum depression and sickness. She died young, leaving my father with the unimaginably difficult task of raising all of us on his own. With limited financial resources, my father was obliged to turn down my request to pursue higher education in the UK. I did not give up and decided to strategically give him the silent treatment for two long weeks; eventually, he relented and was able to raise the funds for my studies. In hindsight, this was a defining moment for my career in interior design and real estate. While studying in London, I developed my sense of style through being exposed to beautiful buildings and interiors, which I was able to apply to my interior design projects in Hong Kong.
Striking a balance between work & family
As a working mother, I understand that it can be tricky to strike a balance between work and family. In handling all aspects of my life, I apply a mix of time, delegation and expectations management. When delegating a task to my team, I learned to clearly communicate my expectations, to give realistic time frames for the work to be done and to only step in to assist when needed. Mutual respect, trust and understanding is needed. In the case of my children, I taught them that as much as I wish that I could spend all of my time with them, it is more vital to deeply treasure our moments spent together as quality is much more important than quantity.
About Dr Theresa Fok
Dr Theresa Fok, founder of the award-winning boutique real estate agency Jade Land Properties (HK) Limited, is a property investment expert with entrepreneurial vision and over two decades of extensive experience in real estate investment and property management across the Asia Pacific region.
The Standard’s Master Class
The Standard’s brand new online video series ‘Master Class’ features the successful female entrepreneur Dr Theresa Fok, who has made notable achievements both in business and in her family. She shares with the audience her recipe for success and finding happiness in the face of adversity.