Fion is the Co-founder of Time Auction, a tech-enabled charity that encourages volunteerism with inspiring experiences. She will be hosting one of the networking groups at the CIS Connect & Inspire: Tech Forum 2019 that is taking place in November. Find out here what inspired Fion to start her own charity…
- Name: Fion Leung
- Graduating Year: 2006
- Years at CIS: 4
- College & Degree: BBA at HKUST
- Current city of residence: Hong Kong
Could you introduce yourself a bit (background & profession)?
I co-founded a charity called Time Auction, which connects anyone with inspiring leaders while encouraging volunteerism. It started as a side project when I was working in banking as a fresh graduate, which unexpectedly turned into my full-time job now!
Prior to this, I studied art and business in university and spent a few years working in a bank and a tech startup.
Your charity Time Auction is a very unique charity. Where did you get the inspiration to start this charity?
Quarterlife crisis, haha.
When I was working in a bank as a fresh graduate, I realized a lot of young people still feel confused about their career and want to find their passion (myself included!). At the same time, I volunteered a lot. So my co-founder and I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if anyone can learn from their role model, while making the world a better place?” This led us to start a side project where we seeked out people who have crafted their own path and made a name for themselves, which anyone can meet and learn from by volunteering 10 hours to any charity.
Time Auction is a tech-enabled charity. Can you explain to us how the charity works?
Our platform features inspiring guests which you can grab a bite with by volunteering 10 hours at any charity. Each event is very casual and intimate, so the maximum size we host is 15 people. Essentially the featured guest who donates 2 hours and meet with 15 people, his/her time would’ve indirectly contributed 150+ volunteer hours to charities!
What is the most rewarding/exciting experience you’ve had since you’ve started your career?
It’d be seeing how our side project snowballed into a charity that operates in 7 cities — which shows us that there are a lot of kind, driven and generous people in the world.
Some examples: we mainly invite our guests by cold email and over 70% of them say yes. For the first 2.5 years running as a side project, we’ve spent under HK$1,000 and raised over 6,000 volunteer hours. To date, our community has volunteered over 50,000 hours (that’s equivalent to 17 years of working days!). I guess that’s quite a few things that have been rewarding!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Finding the right people.
When it comes to volunteering, you don’t have money as a factor to motivate people. Therefore the only thing that matters is their values and motivation — we have to find people who see our charity’s mission as their personal mission too.
What is your advice for any young alumni looking to start a career in your field?
Keep an open mind! I’ve never thought that I’d work in philanthropy but by following what I loved doing, I got to work at a job I love which didn’t exist before.
What are your plans for the future?
Expanding to more places! We’re on a mission to have a chapter in every major city in the world.
How can we get involved with your charity?
Come join our events! We have 2 events per week in Hong Kong, and also have a chapter in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne (with London and Toronto coming up soon!).
If you’d like to join our team as a volunteer, hit me up!
What was your most memorable CIS moment?
There are many but first thing that came to mind was going on Project Week in Japan. It was so fun to go with our friends while exploring a foreign place! There are many funny moments that we still talk about today.
What was your favourite subject at CIS and how did your CIS experience contribute to who you are today?
Art has always been my favorite subject, which I’ve won a few Art awards and gotten a lot of encouragement from my Art teachers. What my CIS experience taught me is that you can do well if you love what you do (and it doesn’t feel like work!). Since going into the workforce, my goal has been trying to find my “flow”, which I’m fortunate to say that’s how I feel about my work at Time Auction as well.
Please read the following questions and write down the first answer to pop into your mind (3-second limit ):
- What’s your favourite piece of clothing you own/owned? A long flowy dress which is so comfortable that makes me feel like I’m still in my PJs.
- Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished? My mom. Anyone can teach another person about unconditional love and kindness has accomplished at the highest level.
- What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend? Spending time with friends and family.
- What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? Writing cold emails.