WOMAN AT WORK offers an opportunity for current members to share your creative journeys, introduce your work or your businesses, and in doing so inspire others. Please contact us for submission details.
Woman at Work: KARMA CASTILHO
Karen (Karma) is a self-taught artist. She began painting in 2016 and has since completed more than 200 canvases. Her style reflects her own enthusiasm for life, in rich, often dazzling, colour. Her painting journey developed from the therapeutic to the expressive. Most of her work is abstract and intrinsic: she gives free range to her mind, and only sometimes will finish a piece with conscious touch-ups.
Karen took up painting at a time of emotional upheaval. Unable to give verbal expression to herself and her fears, or to explore the true feelings embedded in her subconscious, she turned to art. Painting became a therapy and gave her a better understanding that however tortured, her inner soul held beauty. As she finished a piece of work, she could look on it with “hope, love and acceptance”. Karen understands that emotional difficulties are a part of life, and she tries through her paintings to bring positive energy to her viewers to remind them there is beauty within us all. She believes “Art is for Sharing Love”.
Karen is a qualified hypnotherapist. What she has learned and practised through hypnotherapy gives her the assurance to convey her feelings in her paintings. She starts work on all her canvases with her hands – literally. The texture of the paint in her fingers somehow encouraging and empowering her to make the next stroke.
Karen promotes her work through the name “Karma, Hypnopainter” and has participated in several international art exhibitions. Her paintings have won awards and been used in book illustration.
Woman at Work: LESLEY HOBBS
Lesley is the founder/director of Hong Kong-based legal consulting and recruitment firm Red Pillar Consulting Limited. Lesley started her legal career in London and qualified as a solicitor in 1996. She is a German speaker and specialized in Jewish-German restitution work during her two-year training contract. She has also worked as in-house counsel for leading merchant banking group Rothschild and specialist legal recruiter for FTSE 250 listed recruitment services company Hays Plc.
Lesley relocated to Hong Kong with work in August 2007 and began working in the “flexible lawyering space” in May 2013. She was instrumental in setting up the Hong Kong office of Lawyers on Demand (LOD), which grew, from the ground up, into a multi-million US dollar business within less than five years. She then set up her own legal solutions business which got acquired by an Anglo-American legaltech group within 12 months of commencing operations. In February 2022, Lesley founded Red Pillar and manages an international client base of financial services groups, multi-national corporations and professional services firms.
When she is not talking to lawyers, Lesley spends her time outrigger canoeing, being chief slave to a boisterous beagle and two ginger ninja cats and honing her fiction writing skills. She is at the first-draft stages of what she hopes will be her debut novel. Lesley joined WiPS in 2017 and has had pieces published in the 19th and 20th issues of Imprint.
Hobbservations and other truths | Facebook
Woman at Work: JENETTE DEL MUNDO
Jenette del Mundo started her working life with a multinational company in the Philippines. Although embarked on a career in marketing and attending MBA graduate school, she was tempted by an airline ad on TV into taking a two-year break to “see the world”. Two years became five, five became ten – she eventually gave up counting. It only meant one thing: she wasn’t yet done with flying. The lifestyle allowed her to explore another love: Writing. Juggling the time in between her flights, she wrote for Time-Out Hong Kong, The Asset, Cathay Pacific’s Jetset magazine and Imprint.
At age 23, Jenette was doing what most women her age could probably only dream of. She was flying to major world cities for work and between times exploring far-flung places, learning about exotic cultures and embarking on exciting adventures. She never looked back when she made Hong Kong her home and signed up to be a flight attendant for a major airline. From a homestay in a yurt with a nomadic Mongolian family and trekking in the Himalayas to skiing in the French Alps and diving the Great Barrier Reef, she made every use of her opportunities – and wrote about them.
Jenette officially left the airline at the height of the pandemic; drawn to journalism and the communications industry, she now organizes events and B2B conferences for a media company based in Singapore. She hopes one day to compile a book of her travel stories to encourage other women to “get out there”. Meanwhile, she will continue adventuring!
Woman at Work: GEANETTE YH YOUNG
Geanette (Gean) Young is an industry analyst who specializes in the alcoholic beverages business. She has recently taken over the company she has worked with for many years from her retired boss.
Gean is also a horse rider – side saddle her favourite seat – and as a Hong Kong-born former consultant to the British Equestrian Federation she was inspired to write her illustrated The Horses of China following a visit to horse-breeder friends in Kentucky.
However, the publication process proved very challenging. Initially excited at being awarded a grant by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council for pre-publication expenses, it took Gean several years to find a publisher. The grant was then taken from her when no one in Hong Kong would take on the niche topic and her eventual US publisher was disqualified as being “overseas”!
Photo sourcing the 100+ images was time-consuming and complicated as copyright had to be fully observed. Gean spent over a year making dozens of phone calls to reach appropriate contacts. On one occasion, she productively couriered a letter on image licensing to a museum curator found incidentally from internet news.
The publisher’s own editing and typesetting services proved unsatisfactory, and Gean had urgently to find her own editor and teach herself InDesign to manage the layout. Fortunately, the publisher had a solid distribution network and a reliable printing partner.
What at times had seemed an ordeal, Gean says, has not been without considerable pleasure. She has received plenty of help from friends, WiPS members and strangers, and has learned a rewarding amount. Her unique and beautiful book, meanwhile, is proving a winner!
Woman at Work: SADIE KAYE
Sadie Kaye is a Hong Kong writer, performer, filmmaker and podcaster. She makes quirky little podcasts, cheeky docs, and comic slots for RTHK Radio 3. She can currently be heard performing her humour column, “Sharp Pains”, on The 123 Show. Some of her radio columns have also been published in the South China Morning Post. Her absurdist “3 Terrifying Short Stories” about the deranged, sleep-deprived parents of twins were published in the 2021 festive edition of Post Magazine. She contributed short stories and a poem to anthologies published in 2021 and hopes very much to continue this trend in 2022.
Sadie attended her first WiPS event at Christmas. She fully intended to attend the Imprint 20 Zoom launch, but despite several reminders, and reminders about the reminders, still managed to muddle up the time of the event. She has bipolar disorder and ADHD but doesn’t believe in using neurodiversity as an excuse – unless strictly necessary.
Sadie is passionate about reimagining mental health. Many of her podcasts, docs and films have taken an unusual approach to a mental health theme. She loves interviewing weird and wonderful people doing weird and wonderful things in her “Mental Ideas Podcast”. If you identify with “weird”, please get in touch! The chances are she knows where you live anyway and is standing outside your flat right now. She is founder of nonprofit groups Mental Ideas, Bipolar Hong Kong, and Home Kong Kitchen.
Her life motto is you’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.
Sadie’s “Bake Fail” for radio was chosen recently as one of New York’s On Air Fest 2022 “Official Selects”. First in the list, Sadie offers advice to anyone contemplating a Hong Kong staycation. Do listen! http://onairfestival.com
Woman at Work: SHIKHA S. LAMBA
Shikha is a jewellery designer and gemologist. She runs her own business in Hong Kong, Shikha S. Lamba Designs. Born in New Delhi, Shikha was drawn early on to being creative, whether in language, photography or art. She started writing poetry in her pre-teens as a hobby. Thankfully, she says, she has matured from rhyming each line and developed her own style in her work of expressing her voice with certainty. Her poems often touch on themes of feminism and social injustice.
Over the years, Shikha has written articles and poetry for various publications in Hong Kong, India and the US. She is passionate about raising awareness through her writing of women’s health and mental health issues, having lived with chronic illness since childhood.
In 2019, Shikha briefly worked as editor for Hong Kong magazine “Beyond the Boundaries” and grew it to new heights and increased readership. That same year she started her own online magazine called “Coffee and Conversations”. Being able to interview authors and artists whose work she finds inspiring is a rewarding thrill.
This busy mum of a fourteen- and ten-year-old, spends her time outside of family running her two businesses, writing poetry, reading and indulging in photography. Currently, she is completing a collection of poems, which she hopes to publish this year.
Shikha admittedly lives a big portion of her life online and can be found on most social media sites for her jewellery, magazine and writing.