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Having been with Natixis for 13 years now, what makes you so close to the company?

I like the people here. This is one of the main reasons that motivates me. We work very closely – from the beginning when there were only 40 people in the Hong Kong office to the present where we have 800 employees in the region. We don’t have a lot of hierarchy here, whether you are a junior or senior.

Natixis has been growing in the past few years and our industry is constantly changing. This has kept my job very interesting. I have new challenges every day. Another important factor is that the HR function is valued by management. They have given us a lot of trust.

What kind of mindset should HR leaders in Hong Kong have in the upcoming months?

Empathy. In this very difficult and special situation, everyone has different constraints. Of course, we have global guidance for our employees, but still, we need to look into individuals’ cases. We also need to encourage managers to do so, and see if there is something that should be taken into account.

One lesson you have learnt from COVID-19.

It’s especially important to deliver clear communication to employees. Many of them rely on management. They want us to give them clear instructions. At the same time, we need to listen to their needs and feedback.

Which compensation and benefits trend do you want to see improve in Hong Kong?

Mental health. This is something that has been discussed in the market in the past two or three years. But has there been many mental health initiatives across the market? Not a lot. With COVID-19, I think this is something we definitely need to address.

Also, family-focused benefits. Stress does not only come from work, but also from personal lives. It would be great if employers can provide resources to employees if they have some urgent family needs.

Who is your inspiration for leadership?

Pope Benedict XVI. There are two reasons: First, his humility. He is a very humble person. He did not put himself constantly under the spotlight (while he was the Pope), even though he achieved a lot of things. As a leader, we do not always need to be the one representing the company. We need to give opportunities to our staff.

The second thing was his courage. He was the first one in nearly 600 years to “voluntarily resign” (in HR terms). It was a shock, but it was courageous to take this step. We cannot always be bound by traditions. The world is changing and we need to make our decisions accordingly.