Camille Tang Yeh - Class of '72
Camille Tang Yeh completed her secondary education at Diocesan Girls' School, Hong Kong in 1973. In 1976, she graduated with distinction from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences. In 1980, she received her Master in Business Administration from Harvard University. After 2 years (1976 to 1978) in retailing, she worked from 1980 to 1997 in the field of investment banking in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London and Hong Kong. She is presently the Executive Director of the Harvard Business School Asia Pacific Research Centre in Hong Kong. She also serves on many government, corporate and charitable advisory boards. She has two sons and enjoys design, sculpture and hiking.
Camille loves poems and one of her favorites is as follows:
I dwell in Possibility-
Of Chambers as the Cedars-
Of Visitors- the fairest-
- Emily Dickinson
Sophia Yung and her son, Gary Yung, met with Camille on 11th September, 2002 at lunch time while the no. 8 typhoon signal was up and talked about various aspects of life. Set out below is a summary of some of things discussed.
I : How did your education prepare you for the challenges you have faced ?
C: My studies at DGS gave me a good foundation. What I gained from DGS and Stanford was a sense of self-confidence. I learned to live a full life. Harvard Business School taught me to scale borders, figuratively speaking, and to communicate more effectively what I believe is right. Life provides pivotal experiences and I've learnt it takes some time before one realizes their value. I would not have known at that time how much they would mean to me.
C: My career choices happened serendipitously. I met a Stanford graduate student, Marilyn Chin. We became very good friends, talked a lot. She asked me to meet her friend Dick Lazarus who, although not in retailing himself, had breathed retailing through his family owning the most successful high-end retailing group. That encouraged me to apply to Macy's California in San Francisco. That was my first job. That's how I decided my first step and all subsequent professional choices. By talking to people, ending up friends with people of all ages- people older than me by 30 years and young people too. I love meeting young people.
I remembered running into a 60-year old gentleman who eventually brought me into investment banking, something I would have never considered. If you told anyone in Stanford at that time that I would end up in investment banking, everyone would say "no way... Camille?"
(Note: It turned out that Camille had a very successful career in investment banking. She worked for ContiGrain Financial in Chicago, New York and London before working for HSBC Investment Bank in Hong Kong. She last served as Executive Director, Strategic Projects and Communications, Asia, for the Swiss Bank Corporation (now UBS) during the period it acquired and merged with Brinson Partners, Warburg and Standard Chartered Private Banking.)
I : Do you consider yourself successful ?
C: Many "A-HA" moments have to do with running into someone, an experience I believe understanding people is a key skill, something that has to be practised and learnt. We often realize that we learn only after an experience has occurred. Choosing who you want to be around, who your friends are is very important. The Swiss taught me it is as important, if not more important, deciding which clients you don't want, rather than the ones you do want.
(Note: Camille then related an incident while she was working in investment banking and two of her colleagues were detained in China. She and her team spent 8 weeks to get them released. She had to cross over into criminal law, something she had never done before. The team successfully got the two colleagues out but she feels young people can encounter tremendous dilemmas in the professional and personal journey - something good mentors can help them address effectively.
Camille held positions focusing on youth development policies. She was formerly a member of the Hong Kong Government Central Policy Unit and Award Council For Young People. In the U.S., she serves on the Advisory Board of Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs and is a director of the 1990 Institute.)
C : I have never had trouble prioritizing my career and my family life. My family always comes first. Always. There has been no compromise. I have changed jobs to spend more time with my family. Work is secondary to my relationships. Relationships in my life are far more important. I don't believe "quality time" alone is sufficient. I believe "quantity time" is necessary in addition to "quality time". I've learnt this through my two sons. Sometimes you need to just hang out with, be around your kids, be there for them. It's interesting how research shows teens actually need more time than young children do. But parents also need to learn not to worry about their kids too much, to let them go.
Your days are short here;