Racing for Social Good—Lunch with Leong Cheung, Executive Director, Charities and Community of The Hong Kong Jockey Club

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Lunch with Leong raised 205 volunteer hours!

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’s no divine intervention. Making a positive impact on society has always been Leong Cheung’s mission. If lives were touched by the kindness of others through his initiatives or projects, then he becomes more motivated to keep steady momentum. Like the avid runner he is, the charity sector requires patience in order to reach the next stretch and past the finishing line. But every runner will disagree with a race’s end being the marker of success in athletics. It merely is the signal for a new beginning.

Who is Leong Cheung?

Leong has been the Executive Director of Charities & Community at The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) since 2014.

His community appointments include being Co-Chair of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network (Hong Kong chapter), the Elderly Commission and the Community Care Fund task force under the Commission on Poverty of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.

Prior to his role in the HKJC, Leong was involved in the investment and consulting fields. He was an Operating Partner with Bain Capital, Managing Director of Global Sourcing & Supply Chain at Esquel Group and Senior consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.

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On Self-Care

“In this modern time, having some time with yourself is very important.”

Leong stresses the importance of being your own best friend. Through caring for your health, you are rewarding yourself with longevity and peace of mind. To him, running is more than a physical experience. It’s a lifestyle that tests the strength of your mental resilience. The drive to push yourself to the limit is a visceral feeling and Leong experienced this first-hand through his first marathon in the Gobi Desert.

Since then, he has continued training along the Happy Valley racecourse and Bowen road. His go-to playlist is the thrumming of his heartbeat and rush of the wind. Leong also founded RunOurCity, a social initiative for young people. Their motto of passion plus professionalism sums up their goal to nurture a culture of long-distance running in Hong Kong.

The non-profit would launch 8-week training programs to challenge young people to complete their first 10 km race. An informal mentorship will be established between the professional coaches and the youth mentee. Leong and his team aim to allow his program participants to taste the achievement of their labor. In turn, this can instill a ‘can-do’ attitude that can will carry throughout the youth’s maturation process and into adulthood.

Facing the Unknown

During the meeting, Leong was asked if he would like to capitalize on a chance to look into a crystal ball. He answered that he’d rather not act on the offer. Instead, he would actually push away the crystal ball.

“Along the way, I switched to different careers. None of which I switched because I saw an endgame. I switched because I wanted to pursue a new path.”

In his opinion, life is a journey filled with unknowns. Leong’s exploratory sense of adventure is demonstrated by his change in careers across different industries.

“Why take away the pleasure of exploration?”

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On Altruism

“If you look at the 2018 World Giving Index, Hong Kong is top 20 in terms of materialistic giving but we are ranked 76 in terms of volunteering time.”

Volunteering is an act that forges empathy with your own right on this earth. As the famous proverb goes, it’s more blessed to give than to receive. With this in mind, the idea of Social Career was born. It’s a volunteering matching platform which originated from the concept of Uber.

Crazy, right? But that’s how innovation works! Now charities can find high-quality volunteers at the click of a button . Reciprocally, volunteers can take accountability of their actions and be ‘rated’ based on their effort. This system is a trailblazer of its kind and different countries are planning to emulate Social Career’s model. An admirable quality of this system is that it filled a talent gap and bridged volunteers with charities. It’s a win-win situation that couldn’t have come into fruition without some serious design thinking and a team that took matters into their own hands.

So who knows, maybe the next great social venture is on the horizon if one would think out of the box!

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Thank you so much to Leong for raising 205 volunteer hours and all the volunteers who dedicated their hours for charities such as Food Angel, Junior Achievement Hong Kong and more! We would also like to thank photographer Caster from Kachick!

To see our upcoming experiences, head over to the Time Auction website!

This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium:

Updated on 8 April, 2021
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