Updated: Mar 22, 2021
Welcome to the second edition of Conversations For Our Future. In this interview series we’ll be hearing from a diverse set of voices on how we can harness the pandemic to build a new global normal. I’ll be asking each interviewee the same three questions:
1. What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?
2. In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a society? If so, how?
3. How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?
My guest today is Leonie Valentine. Leonie provides fascinating and pertinent insight into the link between Covid-19 and environmental sustainability. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading her responses below!
Leonie Valentine is Managing Director, Sales & Operations of Google Hong Kong (2016-present), having originally joined Google as APAC Director of Customer Experience (2014-2016). Prior to joining Google, Leonie was Executive Vice President, Customer Service & Operations at CSL Limited. Earlier, she held the position of Chief of Staff for Telstra International Group, and was a member of the Executive Leadership Team charged with managing Telstra Corp’s business growth and assets outside of Australia and New Zealand. Leonie holds an Executive Certificate in Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship of Swinburne University, a Master’s Degree in Communication Management from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Bachelor of Science from Melbourne University. Leonie is a board member for Pro-Pac Packaging Limited (ASX: PPG), Save The Children HK, and is a Governor for the American Chamber of Commerce HK, as well as an advisor to CUHK’s EMBA Program (2018-2020). She actively supports The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong, serving on the Women on Boards Advisory Panel (30% Club) and the Girls Go Tech Advisory Committee from 2013-2019. Previously she was a board member for Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) HK from 2017-2019, and HandsOn Hong Kong from 2014-16.
What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?
Leonie: The digital technology sector has enabled other sectors to transform. COVID-19 has affected every element of business, from financial markets to supply chains to customer demand, rapidly accelerating the adoption of digital solutions through necessity rather than strategy.
In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a global society? If so, how?
Leonie: I think that this “global reset” has given all of us the time to pause and think more deeply about both mankind’s impact on the planet, as well as the legacy that we will leave for future generations if we don’t do something about climate change, and soon. According to the recent TED Countdown event, we have about a decade to try and substantially reduce our carbon footprint. Predictions about the impact of climate change can be quite alarming, but as a “retired” science student, I continue to have faith in STEM, scientists and other collaborators (artists, politicians, academics etc) that we can indeed fix some of these issues before it is too late.
How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?
Leonie: I’ve been reminded of my personal impact on the planet everyday, and am making a conscious effort to eat a healthier diet, with less packaged food and drink. Single use plastic water bottles have been a blight on the planet and in our oceans for more than two decades, and now, in the grip of a global pandemic disposable face masks are also polluting our cities and oceans. I made my own cloth face masks and have repurposed the HK Gov reusable filter so that I don’t have to throw away a mask each day. The little things that we can do will have a big impact if adopted widely.