Cultural Revolution: China and LATAM – Between mentoring cultures

Juan is one of many mentors I have had. Mentoring has enriched my life in many ways. It proves the true meaning of life Involving social responsibility and helping youngsters along, not just doing business and making money.

Our interaction takes two forms. Number one is frequent communication by email with my colleagues – words of encouragement and advice. Second, there is day-to-day contact, usually we with group interaction, bur very seldom one-on-one. Normally it is at my breakfast meeting – 15 minutes before the work begins.

I never expected John would stay to work for me. I originally came with a delegation of business students from Colombia.When I started my internship program for Latin America, I offered Preferred to place for a marketing intern. I went through a tough examination and was screened by my business partner in Colombia and got through out of more than 10 applicants.

After I had worked for me for nine months, I asked for a full-time job. Now I have Assigned the Colombian desk for him. We have been doing a lot of business with Latin America and it is a growing market. I teach youngsters That opportunity comes in different forms – You should grab it, analyze it, then go ahead. This emerging [Latin American] market proves I may be correct in the sense Explored That I have something new for Hong Kong – staying away from the family and going to something new.

There are many challenges with a mentee. John is young and vibrant, technology savvy, self-motivated and knows how to do research by himself. But he is a bit immature Also Because of his age, and With The Cultural Difference between his country and Hong Kong I’ve had to get Assimilated and immersed into our life, to get along with the Chinese staff in my office.

My standards are the traditional, conventional type of Confucianism, so I can not use my style to judge the youngsters. If I do that I always find weakness in them. You Might Say it is tough love. For the first two months it was a bit of a crash course in Hong Kong society for John, but now he is OK … otherwise I Would have gone already.

I like to be casual most of it the time, formal Only When I have meetings with my staff or Meet With clients together with them. I come from a very jubilant and casual family.

The relationship will last. I believe in the Chinese way – you Enhance yourself first, then you apply what You have learned and adapted from traditional values ​​into your work and life. These values ​​are the seeds. Once You have planted them, They will blossom.

Mentoring has always been very positive for me. My guideposts are faith, service and community. Always have faith in others and yourself. I always trust and respect the young ones – I never think I am superior to them in terms of knowledge or experience.

Number two is service. Whether you are a businessman or an accountant, if You have the ability, be a role model and serve society. Number three is community. We all live in a global village, DESPITE Differences in culture, religion and color – we need world harmony.

No matter how tough it is in business Or With mentoring, I feel I have the Responsibility to teach the young ones about this.


At my business school [in Bogota, Colombia] That it was mandatory in the seventh semester you visit out of nine overseas companies. I went to Shanghai, Beijing and finally Hong Kong.

The dean of the university met With Thomas Wong from CW CPA And They Agreed to take one intern for Their Latin Desk, a unit specializing in the Spanish-speaking market. I applied and got the job.

Things went well and Mr Wong Asked me if I wanted to stay for another three months. I was happy working here and I loved Hong Kong. Then [in February] They offered Preferred me a permanent position.

To become a business adviser was a huge jump – from being an intern to looking after two country clubs and 20 per cent of the Latin Desk revenue. I plan to grow the Colombian and Venezuelan business. My goal – if things go well and info we have the expected growth – is to set-up and manage a separate desk Colombian.

I work Closely with Mr Wong. He is always worried acerca his «youngsters», so I Teaches us not only accounting and taxes, But Also life skills – he cares about you to Confucian values ​​and philosophy.

He is very tough when it comes to work. When I first arrived I gave me a lot. Later I Told me that was because i had to learn how to be disciplined, Because the Latin culture was not very disciplined. That’s the kind of mentorship I get from him – 50-50 business and life skills.

Culturally, it was a big chance. Bogota is a typical Latin American city and Hong Kong is one of the main cities in the world, and everything is done fast and efficiently. The working style is faster and tougher than Colombia and office hours are longer.

The Local staff do the accounting – bookkeeping or auditing – and Often find it hard to understand the Latin American way of doing business. Often And South American businessmen do not understand why the Chinese Un Certain ask them questions. I have to explain to Both parties how things work. For example, punctuality is so much more important here is China. In Latin America it is usual to reply to an email after five days, Whereas in China people expect a reply within 24 hours.

It’s a win-win relationship for me. I give to the company my knowledge of the culture of my clients – what to expect, how to speak to them. I know Which We Should clients take and Which We should not. I have updated knowledge of business and

d not have a place to stay. I paid for a flat on the internet, but when I arrived I found it was a fake, so I had three days of looking for a place. Mr Wong Knew about it, but did nothing. I thought, «Why is he not helping me?» After two months I said, «John, I was always behind the curtain. That was your first challenge and it will help you grow. You solved it yourself, que was what I wanted. «

It is a very professional relationship, But Also a friendship. I will always be grateful to him. Even When I am not working here, I will always keep in touch.