Don't fear change. Embrace it.
Updated: May 6
From “Franzbroetchen“ to “Dim Sum“, from a Maison role to a regional Richemont function and from Hamburg to Hong Kong SAR, China within only 4 months. My family and friends would have never described me as a very spontaneous person – I had everything sorted out and planned for the next years. This changed over a single dinner and brought me here as the Internal Communications & CSR Manager for Richemont Asia Pacific. For once, roles changed and instead of interviewing my colleagues, it’s me who is being asked the questions. Bring it on!
How my Richemont journey started
I just finished my Bachelor degree and was looking for an internship before starting the Master program. Montblanc was looking for an intern in Internal Communication, a job posting that immediately caught my eye. The fact that it was a brand new department was very appealing to me. Did you know, that it’s a German company founded in Hamburg (my hometown!)? From the first day on, I had a lot of responsibility and made decisions on the Maison’s future communication landscape – as an intern! Definitely a challenge, but so much fun and very rewarding. It didn’t take much time until I decided to continue my career in internal communication by choosing a similar Master program. I got the chance to stay at Montblanc and work part-time, before I was offered a fulltime position after finishing the Master degree. By then, we were a team of two. My colleague Kim Fobe joined, a very inspiring leader who taught me a lot about the secrets of successful communication.
I will never forget…
The Christmas party in Hamburg in 2018. We were working on a video for the new Montblanc career page the weeks before and shot video interviews with 29 colleagues in 3 days. Our objective was to launch it with a big bang at the Christmas party. The night before, it got rejected by our management (for totally valid reasons). I didn’t want to accept that and giving up was not an option. I remember spending the rest of the night at the agency office, working on that video and implementing the feedback that we got. It was finally approved the next morning and still shown at the Christmas party and on our Career page that night. Seeing the colleagues’ joy and hearing their laughs while watching the video was so relieving. A night I will not forget!
One dinner changed it all
The Regional HR Director for Asia Pacific and her team visited the Montblanc headquarters in summer 2019. Together with the local HR team, we spent two days full of workshops, interesting exchanges and best practice sharings. The trip ended with a dinner in Hamburg, where I was spontaneously asked to join the regional team as Internal Communications & CSR Manager in Hong Kong SAR, China. Only four months later, I found myself at the airport of this dynamic city with two suitcases packed for a one-year mission.
Working for Richemont Asia Pacific has been nothing but exciting. So many markets to explore, so many precious Maisons and various cultures all in one region. Everything I have learned in Internal Communication so far has prepared me for that role, but I didn’t stop learning since I have been here. Living and working in a vibrant environment has definitely its advantages. Every day represents a little trip around the world, you get to work with people from so many different countries and cultures.
I didn’t experience anything close to a cultural shock when I started my journey in Hong Kong SAR, China. Growing up with Lebanese parents and friends from different nationalities, I was always in touch with various cultures. My colleagues were so welcoming from the beginning, showed me around and taught me basic Cantonese expressions. The excellent and diverse cuisine will facilitate every new journey in Hong Kong SAR, China, I promise!
What I was not prepared for was the challenging environment. I arrived in Hong Kong, SAR China in January 2020 during this unprecedented time. Communication was not about fun employee gatherings and interviews anymore, but about the situation and creating a trustful environment. Team work was more important than ever!
How I have changed with this new role
This role definitely helped me grow, as I had to adapt to a whole new culture (well, actually nine new cultures as every market is so unique) and learned how to be flexible and agile in times of crisis.
I have to admit, I was a bit scared as the decision to come here was very spontaneous. I have never been to this area of the world before and was not sure what to expect. But Hong Kong SAR, China is so convenient! Almost everyone speaks English, people are very kind and the food is amazing. This city has so much to offer, including a fun nightlife, great beaches and hikes with stunning views. I think the biggest mindset-change for me is to stop overthinking and just do it – you can only win.
What will you miss the most about Hong Kong SAR, China?
I am here on a one-year mission and time flies! There is so much I am going to miss as soon as I am heading back to Montblanc in Germany. The wonderful colleagues I have met here, a city that never sleeps and the fact that you can have best of both worlds: quiet, scenery escapes in the nature and a thriving city life all in one place.
I’m grateful for…
Throughout my journey at Montblanc and Richemont, I was always lucky to be surrounded by inspiring people, great mentors and supportive leaders who constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone. I cannot wait for the next adventure to start!