WLI Hong Kong: “View from the Top” with Kathleen Carey, President & CEO, ULI Foundation

WLI Hong Kong: View from the Top

Kathleen Carey – President & CEO, ULI Foundation


The Women’s Leadership Initiative of the ULI held a discussion meeting with Kathleen Carey, President & CEO of the ULI Foundation as part of its View from the Top series of occasional speakers.  Kathleen was in conversation with Susheela Rivers, Partner and Head of Real Estate Asia Pacific at DLA Piper.  The discussion was wide-ranging and inclusive and covered a wide range of issues including leadership and women in the workplace.

The main takeaways from the event were:

  • Say “Yes!” instead of “Not sure…”.  Women tend to be unsure or feel unqualified to take the next challenge or promotion.  The advice from the participants was to step up and understand that few people are fully qualified for any promotion, you will fill in the gaps with experience and study where needed.
  • Tune into your intuition: while saying Yes, it’s also important to recognise what you don’t know (for more on intuition – Susheela recommended “the seventh sense”  book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seventh-Sense-Fortune-Survival-Networks/dp/0316285064 )
  • Managing work and life balance: with small children at home – always have plan B and C, don’t be shy to ask for or accept help and build a community / support network around you
  • Lose the guilt trip – working moms should not be spending time on feeling guilty while working, but embrace the role and its challenges.  Much has been written about the benefits to children of having actively working parents, including fostering independence and prioritising
  • Think two steps ahead (at least) in your career – when contemplating the next step in your career, think about what that next step will eventually lead you to
  • Mentors and Sponsors and their importance – Kathleen recommended having at least one internal and one external Mentor, and separately having the right Sponsors (superiors/clients/both) who will be lobbying on your behalf, and you also need to make sure they know your achievements thus:-
  • Working hard is a given, the trick is to make sure the right people know about your work. This can be appropriately managed via your regular reporting process.  Also, always praise your team members when appropriate and highlight their achievements, which in turn will highlight yours as their manager
  • Relationship building – women are natural in relationship building and listening to the little but important tidbits of personal information that we can use to build empathy & relationships.  Research, before meetings with anyone (Susheela and Kathleen recommended the beloved classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People-Dale-Carnegie/0091906814 )
  • The leader of today must combine the ability to run a business AND being a thought leader in her/his field of expertise

WLI would like to thank Kathleen for joining us, Susheela for hosting and DLA Piper for sponsoring the event.


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