Vivian is an Assistant Manager in our Hong Kong office engaged in trade mark prosecution work for local and international clients.
Although much has been written about the importance of following one’s passion, it may not be the best career advice. Certainly it’s an important element, but much more, particularly hard work and self-knowledge, is needed to establish a successful career. Vivian knows herself well, has consistently pursued her interests and passions - and her capacity for hard work is something she learned early and well from her parents. With these attributes she has found what she describes as ‘the perfect job’.
Vivian grew up as an only child in Hong Kong. Her father is a businessman, working in the family business, which sells high quality dried sea foods; her mother works full-time with people with learning disabilities. She has always worked full-time while managing the home, but she has also, over the years, taken a range of courses to improve her position, including the course that qualified her as a specialist care-giver. She is strong, capable, and a good manager, balancing her various roles successfully. Both she and Vivian’s father grew up poor and neither is highly educated. Like many Chinese parents, they saw education as the way to secure a better life and more lucrative employment for their daughter.
Unlike many Chinese parents, however, they did not put pressure on Vivian to become a lawyer or doctor, or to follow any particular career path. She was free to choose - and her choice wasn’t based on things like status or money, but solely on what interested her. It was good fortune that things turned out as they have. She always loved languages, and her mother was adamant from the outset that she should learn English to an advanced level. With that in mind, she arranged an English tutor when Vivian was just three years old, and then extra English classes throughout her schooling. It all paid off and Vivian’s English is excellent. Looking back, she is convinced that her mother was right to have put such an emphasis on learning English well and grateful to her for doing so. As well as languages, Vivian loved arguing points of view at school and was in her element in the English debating team.
Not surprisingly, when the time came to go to University, she was thinking of studying Law, but she also wanted to explore politics and international relations so decided to do a double degree in Politics and Law. At university she joined AIESEC, a well-known international organisation focusing on the development of leadership skills in the young, and gained invaluable experience attending leadership courses and conferences in various countries. When she was just 18, she spent six weeks in Brazil, which was a real adventure – one of her first overseas trips, and a 30-hour flight. Initially, her father wasn’t at all keen on her going, but, predictably, her mother was very much in favour of her expanding her horizons and making the most of every opportunity that came her way.
At university she particularly enjoyed the intellectual property courses she was enrolled in – she had always been interested in brands, particularly fashion brands, and could see their value. IP made sense to her; she was on familiar territory. When she graduated she joined a local law firm and as a trainee spent some time in the IP department – this appealed to her, not only because of the subject matter, but also because it was a mix of contentious and non-contentious matters. She was, however, ultimately offered a position in another team, which was not of interest; in any event, by then she had begun to question whether private practice was for her. She decided instead to take a position in-house with a Hong Kong based conglomerate with diverse business including in real estate, retail business, entertainment, hotels and media. It was a valuable experience, but, although she learned a lot while managing the group’s trade mark portfolio, after some time she began to feel rather stuck. She felt she wasn’t continuing to learn or challenge herself and that she need to make a change. Probably not surprisingly, given her early interest in IP, she began to think that what would really suit her was work as a specialist IP lawyer - which is how she came to join Rouse.
As soon as she started working in the trade marks group at Rouse she felt at home and realised that she was drawing not only on her recent experience, but also on the overseas experience she had gained at university. Her trade mark prosecution work was requiring her to deal with agents from many countries; attending international trade mark conferences felt very much like being back in AIESEC, communicating with people from all over the world. It is something that comes naturally to her and that she enjoys. Given her interest in both brands and international relations, and her desire for a mix of contentious and non-contentious law, she has found the perfect job for her.
Outside work, Vivian pursues her other interests with the same degree of enthusiasm and dedication. She works long hours, but still manages to maintain a healthy work/life balance. She is devoted to yoga, attends classes three or four times a week and is planning to take a yoga teacher training course; she loves reading, particularly works on psychology; and she belongs to a church group and teaches Sunday school. Her parents are both still working and encouraging her to work as diligently as they do. They are enormously proud to have a professional in the family.