Interview by Visual Collaborative
July 2019 7 min read
Photo courtesy of Tracy-Alero Doyle
Tracy-Alero Doyle, is a Finance Director based in Hong Kong, who is passionate about Streamlining, Strategy, Transformation, Diversity and Inclusion. She recently served as the Global Head of Process Development, Group Insurance at HSBC. As a feature in our “Vivencias” interview series, She talks personal growth, business enterprise and her wellness work through outreach.
(VC) Outside of a successful career, being a mother and other social roles you play, who is Tracy-Alero Doyle?
(Tracy) A pretty basic human being. A life long learner with an avid curiosity about people. A mentor both in the corporate world and the fitness space. A woman who will forgive almost any sin if offered a meal of plantain and egg [Tracy Smiles].
(VC) You are a fitness enthusiast, do you find that it is the mind that needs healing more than the body or it is the other way around?
(Tracy) I see fitness and wellness as largely interchangeable concepts. In order to be well, you must simultaneously balance your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Exercising can be a form of a moving meditation that focuses the mind on a specific activity and has benefits that include mood management and physical maintenance. In order to stay fit you have to be balanced so both the mind and body play important roles.
Photo courtesy of Tracy-Alero Doyle
(VC) As a woman of color in Asia who is well traveled and perhaps a little privileged with a global background as yours, what do you tell other aspiring young women or entrepreneurs about navigating the patriarch realities of the business world?
(Tracy) An interesting question. I don’t see myself as privileged and if I am in some ways now privileged, that’s a blessing for which I am very grateful. I have embraced the opportunity to live and work in Asia after previously having lived in the UK, America and Nigeria. No one wakes up in the middle of a life journey and says ‘I knew I would end up exactly here’. The reality is that life takes you on it’s own journey and your responsibility is to be open, clear, flexible and engaged about your aspirations and ambitions. Put in the hard work, ask for opportunities, be dogged in the pursuit of your goals. The reality is that some souls will be drawn to you and will actively support your success. Others simply will not have your time. Learn to discern the difference and align yourself with those who have a vested interest in your success.
What works in one environment, may not support you in another. I have never assumed that I would have one career and still do not. If one industry or approach doesn’t work, then find another.
(VC) Observing the rising despondency of political movements and protests in parts of the Hong Kong, as a female leader in innovation are you more critical about your own career as a woman or more optimistic given the trajectory of the times?
(Tracy) Instead of a perceived despondency in the protests and political movements in Hong Kong, I see an incredibly astute and civic minded population that is exercising their right to influence the political landscape. With my focus on strategy, streamlining and innovation, I do not for one second doubt that with the right focus it is possible to maintain a career trajectory. But there will be reversals and re-directions in any trajectory. Being realistic about the opportunities and constraints of your industry is very important. What works in one environment, may not support you in another. I have never assumed that I would have one career and still do not. If one industry or approach doesn’t work, then find another. With constant reinvention, I remain optimistic that the tide of progression is unstoppable.
(VC) Some mention the Renaissance as an art period they admire. If you can time-warp back to any era, what time would it be and why?
(Tracy) As a science fiction fan, I would like to teleport into the future. The past is done, most of history was unwritten and the histories that were written were largely unfavorable to women. So let’s leave the past in the past. In my version of the future, we live in a humane society where gender & race, are simply not significant factors in our ability to thrive. I picture a really humane and empathetic world where we are free to focus on pursuing our passions without necessarily being constrained by the need to earn a living in the traditional sense. Basically a rose tinted nirvana with sunsets, cocktails, music, robots, warp 10 travel, starships and lots of laughter.
(VC) What does self-awareness mean to you and how does it mold the service and work you do?
(Tracy) Self awareness is an understanding of your self, your feelings, your behavior and the impact of these on others. Within the work place it falls under the broader category of emotional intelligence or EQ, which is a management buzzword these days. It takes dedication and focus to be aware of your self. Does staying up late at night mean that you are grumpy in the morning. Does your morning grumpiness mean that your kids are afraid to interact with you before they go to school. Does their fear of you make you more annoyed such that by the time you get to work, you don’t want to speak to anyone and use every opportunity to frustrate those around you? I gave these examples because we normally don’t become aware of our roles in sub optimal interactions until these interactions implode.
Photo courtesy of Tracy-Alero Doyle
Feelings come and go. Moods come and go. In order to be intentional and successful either at home or in the workplace, you must be aware of how you affect others and vice versa on an ongoing basis. No one knows better than you the rituals and lifestyle that make you a better version of yourself. And the universe.
Some of the activities that give me pleasure and help me stay balanced, which directly improve the odds of success, include working out, mentoring others, praying, meditating, using the sauna, listening to audio books and generally being the happiest version of myself.
(VC) At this stage of your career considering your present commitments, if you could work alongside any notable personality or enterprise. Who would it be and why?
(Tracy) This is an easy one. It would have to be Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant. I am drawn to the light seekers and I see both of these women as just that. They are focused on continuous improvement, learning and sharing. They motivate and inspire simply by being themselves.
Fast forward almost twenty years later I see progression and reversals in the highs of TheConfluence and Afrikanz. It was a thrilling time with no rule book and sheer passion that drove innovation.
(VC) At the cusp of the Y2K bug as many would remember it, you built an ecommerce platform called TheConfluence, how has the diversity of that platform played out in real life?
(Tracy) TheConfluence was a social media networking platform that existed before the term ‘social media’ existed. I create a home on the internet for Africans in the diaspora, largely Nigerians, to connect with each other in the late 90s. There was no specific plan to develop this community or even to extend it to other segments. The community simply grew out of my passion for programming and a desire to stay connected with former classmates and friends. TheConfluence evolved into Afrikanz and became an even bigger online community for the African diaspora. Fast forward almost twenty years later I see progression and reversals in the highs of TheConfluence and Afrikanz. It was a thrilling time with no rule book and sheer passion that drove innovation. Diversity was not necessarily a goal twenty years ago, but an unexpected outcome from creating a platform where everyone was welcome. Today I find the emphasis on diversity in the corporate world to be perhaps more intentional but less organic.
(VC) Is there anything about you that you like our readers?
(Tracy) Nothing beyond a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet ‘This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!’