The meeting was Ellana Lee’s idea. She reached out to the Shapers through the Forum and established the initial contact. We discussed what the two groups have been doing in Hong Kong and came to the conclusion that we should hold an initial meeting for everyone to be able to introduce themselves and agree to an ongoing interaction and integration between the groups.

Andrew Cohen was kind enough to host the meeting at his home, for Hong Kong Young Global Leaders – Ellana Lee, Deborah Kan, Diana Tsui, David Webb and Christopher To, as well as an out of town YGL visitor from North America, John McArthur – and Hong Kong Shapers Chris Geary, Edmond Cheuk, Katy Yung, Keith Hariman, Jessica Chan and Priscilla Ng.

For the Shapers it was great not only to make the initial contact with the YGLs, but to be able to talk further about personal projects and group initiatives. For the YGLs, Diana Tsui was able to introduce the Global Dignity Day initiative, which is now scheduled to be the first joint participation in Hong Kong on a YGL project with both Shapers and YGLs.

We have also agreed that there will be a further social event in October, to broaden participation to include the Schwab Foundation Entrepreneurs.

There has also been ongoing exchange in Hong Kong between Schwab Foundation entrepreneur Timothy Ma and the Global Shapers. Timothy has been acting as key advisor to the Shapers group as we have been through a process of brainstorming, debate and working meetings to define the most impactful and feasible initiatives to be undertaken by the Hong Kong Shapers as our first ventures. Timothy will continue to guide and facilitate our group on an continuous basis through the planning, strategy development and execution of the projects.

As a group, through these interactions, the Shapers have been able to learn about the true power and openness of the World Economic Forum network in Hong Kong. We learn how to communicate across Forum groups and access the resources and empowerment from the Forum platform from those who have years of experience.  We have the privilege to live in a hub-city, where foreign Forum constituents come through town almost weekly, so with the close communication between all Forum groups in Hong Kong we are able to make the most of the opportunities to access the breadth of the Forum and therefore be able to deliver on the responsibilities that the Forum sets us.

Moreover, the different groups all have different assets at their disposal. For the Shapers, it is energy, time and possibly the youthful naivety that can be so successful in pursuing a course which, to a more experienced mind, might be seen as unviable only to afford the possibility to achieve great results. The YGLs are connected, they have business and financial resources at their disposal and proven credibility. However, they are under constant time pressure. Schwab Foundation Entrepreneurs have an unmatched sense of real social needs and how to create true impact through long careers engaged in the challenges of benefitting society and a keen understanding of the resources that social initiatives require.

While as individuals we are all committed to improving the state of the world, I feel that we can be genuinely successful as a group.

Christopher Geary is the Chief Operating Officer of the Asianet Group. He is also the Curator of the Hong Kong Global Shapers Hub, the founder of the Fargo Foundation and the founder of the Hong Kong Treasure Hunt.