The line up at the Marketing Society Braver Conference in Hong Kong was a powerful juxtaposition of Marketing Leaders from the business world, and visionary leaders of humanitarian causes.
I attended as a curious member of the Marketing Society and to support Jane Engelmann, musician, creative and founder of the Unsung Heroes, a charity choir for domestic helpers in Hong Kong. I first heard Jane’s inspiring story two years ago, when pregnant with my third child and was appreciating more than ever the positive impact that help at home can have on your family and quality of life. Jane, recognising the sacrifice these women make, often leaving their own children to come and care for others in order to provide for their family, created the Unsung Heroes. The choir gives a voice to domestic helpers to be seen and treated as valuable human beings, in a society where unfortunately they too often are viewed as second class citizens.
Jane’s message to the conference was “being brave is not a big impossible task”. She never set out to be brave, or have a success story of the global attention the Unsung Heroes have attracted worthy of the stage at the Marketing Society Conference. She took a small step into something she passionately believed in, using her skills and connections as a musician and teacher.
The other speakers, equally worthy of the stage, also spoke of bravery starting with the small steps you can you take to make a difference. In HSBC and Infiniti Motor Company, it was following the course you believe will fundamentally create a shift in brand you are building, and step by step, building the internal support and initiating the changes that can ultimately produce stories of brave transformations.
Dr Joyce Samoutou-Wong, Founding Director of New Sight Eye Care, told us to “do what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and soon we’ll be doing the impossible”. Having moved her family of three children and founded a charity in the Congo, returning sight to people who live in some of the most remote communities in Africa, she believes it’s takes humility to be brave, and talked about “getting over herself” in order to start achieving her incredible contribution.
So whether it’s in our business, through our brands, or outside of work altogether, we can all ask ourselves: what changes do we want to see and what do we have to offer to make that happen. Then as Jane says “take a little step, you never know what might come of it”.