Alumni News

Up the Game and Up the Ranks

Disrupt, or be disrupted

Google “CY Chan” (BBA Human Resources Management 2001; MSc in Strategic Human Resources Management 2008) and “HKBN” (Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited), you will find pages of results relevant to talent management and corporate social investment, with CY as a column contributor, a conference speaker sharing an insider’s guide, or a media interviewee introducing ground-breaking initiatives for better talent development and engagement.

CY (right) received the Asian Human Capital Award in Singapore on behalf of HKBN for the innovative and impactful people practices the company adopts.

CY (fourth from left) and his HKBN Talent Engagement team were honoured at the HR Innovation Awards.

CY is often invited to speak at HR and good business practice occasions to share his insights.

A fast track to success

Joining HKBN as a Learning & Development Manager in 2011, CY was promoted to Head of Talent Engagement and Corporate Social Investment in just seven years. “I have to admit though, it was not my childhood dream to pursue a career in the HR field,” said CY, “I simply knew that I enjoy connecting with people, and that I am not born as a scientist. The HKBU BBA Human Resources Management (HRM) programme happened to admit me – so voila!”

CY soon realised that he had a good catch. The HRM programme at the HKBU School of Business has a strong reputation in the HR field, thanks to the accumulating achievements of generations of alumni. This helped him pave an ascending career trajectory from the beginning.

Having worked on both the in-house and agency sides in his early career, CY felt the need to expand the breadth and depth of knowledge as a mid-level manager, looking for a bigger leap. He sought advice, including from Prof. Randy Chiu (Department of Management), with whom CY has established a strong relationship ever since his undergraduate days. Following Prof. Chiu’s advice, CY enrolled in the MSc in Strategic Human Resources Management (MScSHRM) programme.

When CY stepped in the first lecture he was surprised by the class. “Most of my classmates were seasoned executives while I may have looked like a young kid in the same room. The courses focused quite substantially on training us from the perspective of how HR can add value to business strategy on the macro level, moving beyond the day-to-day operation and function.”

It was like a wake-up call for me at that point in terms of how I should move forward professionally.

Today still under 40, CY has worked his way up to be Head of Talent Engagement and Corporate Social Investment at HKBN, a forward-looking company with a workforce of 3,000 talents at an average age of 34 or 35, i.e. millennials.

Prof. Randy Chiu (left) has been a close friend and guiding light for CY (right) since BBA days, “I am always grateful that I took his advice to enrol in the MScSHRM programme.”

My knowledge, your solution

Having been exposed to different business functions over the years at HKBN, from sales team management to investor relations, CY has grown into an experienced and versatile talent. CY thinks his current position enables him to make a difference to society by steering the company to live up to its core purpose – “Make our Hong Kong a better place to live”.

HKBN aspires to become a purpose-driven company and to inspire other employers to champion life-work priority and life-long development of Talents. Over the years, a great variety of initiatives on Talent engagement, development, remuneration and rewarding regime have been devised to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of its Talents, focusing especially on building two leadership attributes: leading disruptive innovation and empowerment. Under CY’s leadership, HR is no longer considered a supporting function at HKBN, but has become a basis for competitive advantage of paramount importance to the company’s sustainable growth.

On the Corporate Social Investment front, CY and a team of middle to senior managers worked as “Knowledge Volunteers” to help social enterprises in Hong Kong achieve business sustainability. CY also leads the talents to harness their core strength – professional technology knowledge – to start Hong Kong’s first cyber wellness movement to assess the Digital Intelligence (“DQ”) of primary students – “Net’s Be Wise”, with the aim of enhancing the DQ of 2,000 students and offering solutions to help mitigate potential cyber risks. In just a few months since its launch this year, the initiative has already empowered around 800 students to acquire digital citizenship competencies through an online learning platform and offline school workshops, earning very positive feedback from participating schools and educators, and raising awareness about cyber risks and the need for such education among the next generation.

CY does not restrict his innovative spirit to his work. As a pro-bono consultant to the non-profit Mother’s Choice, as well as an advisor and mentor for the School’s HRM programmes, he volunteers his knowledge and experience to tailor-make strategies to help others thrive.

“To me, very often being innovative is not creating something entirely new. Instead, it’s about translating existing ideas into actions in a different context at the right time – to make things better. In the long-run, I believe the corporate social investments an individual or a company makes will become its own edge in sustainable development, as this will affect how customers, partners, investors, and even potential employers or employees, see you as a whole.”

Over the years, CY has been giving back to his alma mater in many ways, including being an advisor, a mentor and a speaker at different occasions, sharing his experience and knowledge with junior fellows to help them prosper in their future careers.

CY keeps close contact with his 10+ mentees even after their graduation, and the bond is growing ever stronger.