Icon of the Legal Industry — Lunch with Teresa Ko, China Chairman of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career.
“It all comes back to time. Time is the most precious thing that once it is gone, you can’t ever get it back.”
Teresa Ko offers important advice on using time carefully. Over lunch with her, we were struck by her positive mindset and determination to make the most of the time we have by doing things that are meaningful.
Who is Teresa Ko?
Teresa is China Chairman of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and founding partner of its renowned Asia equity capital markets practice.
Teresa is a corporate and securities lawyer and has helped numerous businesses list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, including Chinese state-owned, privately-owned and international companies. Many of these listings were high-profile and ground-breaking transactions. She has listed seven out of ten of the largest IPOs in Hong Kong, including that of China Tower, the world’s biggest IPO in 2018.
She has also advised public and private companies on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate governance matters.
Among her many public service appointments, Teresa was the first woman to chair the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s Listing Committee. During her tenure, she initiated the requirement for listed companies to disclose their board diversity policies.
Teresa also served as a non-executive director of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong and remains a Deputy Chair of the Takeovers Panel in Hong Kong.
With experiences like that, it’s no wonder why she’s widely considered the ‘icon of the legal industry’ in Hong Kong.
Her Life Philosophy
“Life is what you make it out to be — never give up.”
Teresa considers herself blessed to have found a path that involves enjoyment, challenges and achievements. She told us that she first formed her life motto while spending time with her son. She points out that, in life, we have a lot of choices to make about how to spend our time and who we spend it with. The people we spend the most time with have the ability to mold us and help us to become the people we aspire to be.
Needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Teresa took a sabbatical, which gave her a chance to relax and spend time with different people including her family.
“I wanted to feel what feeling relaxed really feels like.”
During her time off, she visited Machu Picchu in Peru with her daughter, enjoying the exhilarating hikes, the magnificent Inca ruins and time to read books. The lesson she drew from this was an important one: curate your time.
Inspirations from Ballet
When asked about people who inspired her, Teresa told us about Miss Jean M. Wong, founder of one of the leading ballet schools in Hong Kong, whom Teresa took lessons from when she was younger.
Apart from learning ballet techniques, she also learned grace, posture as well as control, self-discipline and overcoming challenges through perseverance.
“Keep up your interests and hobbies. You never know… I could have moved into urban dance if I had followed it through.”
Despite the fact that Teresa herself no longer practices ballet, she encourages people to be persistent and not lose sight of the things they enjoy doing.
Dealing with setbacks
“Setbacks are not insurmountable — they’re opportunities to learn lessons”
Teresa takes an optimistic approach when it comes to challenges: no matter how you try to overcome them, she believes in doing so wholeheartedly, even when you are not sure you will ultimately succeed. By taking the smallest of actions, we are actually paving small inroads that can make a difference.
As people start on their journeys, Teresa says they should make decisions on what they want to do and reflect on who they want to be.
“Keep thinking about it, adjust and stay on track.”
Thank you so much to Teresa for raising 125 volunteer hours and all the volunteers who dedicated their hours for the greater good! We would also like to thank photographer Charles from Kachick and our venue sponsor WeWork Tower 535!
To see our upcoming experiences, head over to the Time Auction website!
This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://timeauction.medium.com/icon-of-the-legal-industry-lunch-with-teresa-ko-china-chairman-of-freshfields-bruckhaus-ef02d0c376b9