Inspiring Stories of Leadership: HSBC, J&J, Shangri-La & Tencent

From Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg to SpaceX’s Elon Musk to Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shingwe’ve all been inspired by their success and leadership! But since we already know their stories, it’s about time we uncover other outstanding leaders and see what impact they have in the world!


They say that leadership is not a one-size fits all definition. And that’s true. Humans are different from one another, and the way they lead a certain group of organization varies. Some leaders succeed by sticking by the rules, and others by creating their own space of innovation. Some are truly inspirational because of their ability to empower and influence people, and others are just naturally born with the right talents and skills to lead.

All of us are different from each other. But the good thing about it? Our differences are also what unites us all. Leaders, from whatever field they’re in, all have a common goal: to inspire and make a positive change. And that holds true to some of the best leaders from different fields that we are going to discuss here.

Inspiration comes in many forms, so let these stories push you to strive hard to succeed in your chosen path:


Peter Wong – Group General Manager of HSBC

Peter Wong is a Group General Manager of HSBC, serving as Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd., Asia-Pacific. His journey to becoming HSBC Asia-Pacific’s General Manager hasn’t been an easy one. Just like any other leader, he had to start at the very bottom to reach the top. With a degree in Computer Science and MBA in Marketing and Finance from Indiana University, he joined Citibank as a financial controller in 1980. Years passed, he moved to Standard Chartered in 1997 as Head of Consumer Banking for China and Hong Kong. With a heart for banking, he realized he wanted to level up his career. Come 2005, he applied to HSBC, and the rest is history.

Throughout his tenure, the 66-year old went through ups and downs. In 2016, HSBC received backlash for implementing stricter rules that led to a lot having difficulties in opening company accounts. But Peter Wong managed to overcome this by explaining that they’re doing this to protect the company from frauds and financial crimes. With all his efforts, the organization delivered rising profits even after just coming out of financial crisis. 36 years in the banking industry is no joke, and Peter Wong proves that you can succeed if you you’re truly committed in your chosen craft. From the words of the General Manager: “I work on a simple principle: I work to improve the bank and profits.”


Alison Lewis – Global CMO of Johnson & Johnson

“We want to build the most beloved and admired brand, so we have a heavy focus on brand building. We know that strong brands work together.” Alison Lewis told Forbes. For Lewis, taking the responsibility of representing and lifting the brand to greater heights is something that she’s willing to do for the rest of her life. Lewis has always had a heart for the industry of consumer goods that’s why she didn’t let the opportunity of working for a big organization like J&J pass.

As a former head of Coca-Cola, Alison Lewis was ready enough to take the Global CMO position. Since 2013, she has always been consistent with all the plans she implements for the company. Her fight for innovation changed the world of business. For her, she would rather rethink innovation as a means of solving consumer problems than focus on generating new inventions: “I believe in breakthrough innovation. We innovate to solve problems, which then allows us to push ourselves to not just launch the next fragrance of skin cream or body lotions or the next flavour of Listerine. Our products are getting outside of the bottle, the jar, the pill, to bring much more dynamic solutions to the marketplace.”

From being featured on Forbes to Campaign and AdWeek Magazine, Alison Lewis continues to inspire women across the globe. She is a good representation of all the women leaders who continues to break the glass ceiling to succeed and promote inclusivity in a male-dominated workforce.


Ma Huateng – Chief Executive Officer of Tencent

This 46-year old Chinese magnate is now the richest man in China, according to Forbes World’s Billionaires List. In addition to that, Huateng, also known as “Pony Ma”, also won a spot on the Forbes list of World’s 10 Most Powerful CEOs of 2018.

Ma’s humble beginnings were colorful. His first job was with China Motion Telecom Development, where he was assigned to develop software for pagers. He also worked for Shenzhen Ruxun Communications’ research development for internet calling services. But those are just the tip of the iceberg. The main reason why he’s a billionaire today is because of his own company Tencent. Back in February 1999, Ma and his team launched a Chinese internet messaging software. In 2000, they turned to US for further investments. Come 2018, Tencent is now one of the biggest internet software companies, both in China and globally.

Despite the fame and wealth, Pony Ma continues to live a low profile life. For him, money is just a bonus as his invention and service for customers are the main fruits of his hardwork: “Wealth won’t give you satisfaction; creating a good product that’s well-received by users is what matters most.”


Beng Chee – Chief Executive Office of Shangri-La Asia Ltd.

It’s only been over a year when Beng Chee was assigned to become the Chief Executive Officer of Shangri-La Asia Ltd., but he’s already given so much goodwill for the company. During his early life, he jumped from one job to another to find what his purpose in life. From 2008 to 2014, he became the CEO of CapitalLand Mall Asia Ltd. A few years after, he realized he wanted to be something more. He dreamt of managing one of the biggest luxury hotels and resorts organization in the world. With an MBA in Accountancy from Nanyang Technological University and BA in Physics from University of Oxford, there’s no wonder why Beng Chee is successful in his chosen field. Now that he’s spearheading the whole operations of Shangri-La Asia, he seeks to foster more success. Just this year, Shangri-La won the following awards because of his help: Best Hotel Chain in Asia Pacific, Best Business Hotel Brand in Asia-Pacific, Best Hotel Brand in China, just to name a few.

Beng Chee’s hard work totally paid off. He hopes that young people will be inspired by his determination and perseverance, and that the future leaders will only cultivate nothing but love and positivity.



Leadership doesn’t just come from having a strategy or knowing how to make a decision. In the end, it’s all about taking risks even when it means going against the grain. To be successful in your chosen field, one must be willing to give up comfortability. Remember this: Even the most successful leaders go through tough challenges, but they’re succeeding because they never quit. That is something that future leaders should keep in mind!


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