HR Excellence Awards Winner's Series 2019/20 - Excellent HR Leader Award
Ms Virginia Choi Wai-kam, JP
  • Devoted to public and community service over the years, Virginia has been instrumental in formulating policies regarding manpower resources development in Hong Kong.

  • To further succession planning in the HR field, she has been actively involved in various capacities at universities and organisations in Hong Kong.

In her previous experience as Chairman of the Pay Trend Survey Committee of the HKSAR Government and part-time member of the Central Policy Unit, the role of Virginia Choi, Managing Consultant and Country Manager of Tamty McGill Consultants International Limited, was instrumental in formulating policies regarding manpower resources development in Hong Kong.

Virginia’s dedication to public and community service is evident in her contribution to government agencies and statutory bodies through the years, from the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service to the Public Service Commission, the Equal Opportunities Commission to the Manpower Development Committee of the Education Bureau.

Virginia has been pivotal in advancing the HR profession and was President of the HKIHRM from 2001 to 2005, the first woman to hold the position at a time when female leadership was less prevalent. The awardee of an Honorary Fellowship of the Open University of Hong Kong, she has been actively involved in various capacities at local universities. With a talent for nurturing the younger generation, she has a passion for helping future leaders reach their full potential.

What does it mean to you to be the recipient of the HKIHRM Excellent HR Leader Award?

The HKIHRM Excellent HR Leader Award is a recognition of my contribution to the industry over the years. Endowed with responsibility, the award serves as a reminder for me to do more for the profession. The award is a symbol of succession – its significance goes beyond the individual level and it honours the mission to pass on the torch from this generation to the next.

What are the most unforgettable experiences in your career which drive your motivation to keep contributing to the industry?

In 1979, I succeeded in switching professions from social work to training at United Christian Hospital by obtaining a qualification in personnel management, illustrating the importance of lifelong learning in career development. This is a lesson I take with me along the way. A decade later, I began my tenure as training manager at the Bank of China group, where I embraced the challenge of starting a team to train a 14,000-strong workforce.

At the turn of the century, I became the first female President of the HKIHRM, a leading role I served in from 2001 to 2005. Those four years saw me leveraging my position to elevate the Institute and the profession to the next level. 2003 was a particularly challenging year for Hong Kong due to SARs, yet with teamwork we managed to organise a seminar by Prof Joseph Sung Jao-yiu in which he shared best practices. We also issued a daily newsletter for members to give them advice on dealing with the public health crisis.

I have served as a mentor of the Institute’s mentoring programme since its inception in 2012. The programme is a platform for succession and growth – I have learnt so much from all my mentees, who have made me realise the importance of keeping an open mind.

What is your advice to young HR practitioners looking to broaden their professional development?

With 3As, young HR practitioners can go far. Attitude – be open-minded, learn and unlearn continuously, and evolve with the changing times. Appreciation – embrace the new normal, the latest technologies, etc., and learn from people around you, including the difficult ones. Acknowledgment – say thanks to people for helping you out.

Visibility can also help young HR practitioners, through being seen by others while participating in and contributing to various initiatives. Last but not the least, entrepreneurship – building their personal brand and understanding the role of HR as a business partner – is fundamental to their growth. 

HR Excellence Awards Winner's Series 2019/20 - Excellent HR Leader Award
PR 11 January, 2022