Mr Raymond Tong, CEO of Pacific Coffee, shared with Lingnan students his experience in corporate management as the guest speaker of the Lions Club of Metropolitan Hong Kong Business & Career Mentoring Forum 2012 held on 13 November.
Pacific Coffee is 80% owned by China Resources Enterprise, Limited. As CEO, Mr Tong has led its expansion in mainland China and overseas. Over 120 shops have been opened in 20 mainland cities in the last 18 months. To distinguish itself from competitor Starbucks, Pacific Coffee has taken an up-market approach. Quality coffee beans are used and new flavours are explored. It also tries to provide a cosy environment for customers to hang around and complementary services to make every customer’s visit a pleasant one. A flagship store of over 4,000 square feet has been set up in Causeway Bay and market segments such as organisational clients are targeted. As a result, the company is now providing coffee drinks for offices of a number of multinational organisations.
As someone who only joined the company two years ago, Mr Tong tried to understand the situations of frontline staff by going down to stores at 6 am not just to see how they work but also share their job responsibilities. With his amiable and approachable personality, Mr Tong soon won the trust of colleagues.
Mr Tong was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Pennsylvania after completing secondary school. A graduate with dual majors in Finance and Electrical Engineering, he went on to work for a management consulting multinational, a private equity firm and a Hong Kong-listed company. He was stationed in Wuxi in the mainland for five years to oversee capital raising and international sales for a semiconductor company. Mr Tong called on young people to think hard about their life goals and plan ahead, and work diligently towards their aspirations. He also encouraged them to try different types of work and not to be dismayed by setbacks. As a LEGO model is formed by its pieces, Mr Tong said experiences gained from different jobs are part and parcel of our life.
Thirteen members of the Lions Club also shared work experiences and insights into career development in various fields with over 100 students over dinner.