Your Security Is Our Business

Trent University's alumnus-in-residence never planned a global career

Trent University s 2016 alumnus-in-residence says he never really planned his many accomplishments in a distinguished business career that has taken him around the world.

Graduates are inevitably thrown into some form of hierarchy where there is a plan on how they can advance their career, Yuwa Hedrick-Wong said.

The most common question he s been asked during his four-day return to his alma matter is how he ended up managing a global career.

You have to be prepared to walk away from the hierarchy. Start with something fresh. I did that many times, he said at the Alumnus House on campus Tuesday before delivering the annual Harry Kitchen Lecture in Public Policy at Gzowski College.

Sometimes, there is no way to prepare.

The best way to learn, Hedrick-Wong said, is to be flexible, pragmatic and to jump right into situations with an open mind. You will make mistakes, but make sure you are resilient enough to learn from them.

The world-renowned business leader is against the idea of trading conformity for security. The former is ultimately an allusion, he explained, pointing out how government and private companies alike will cut jobs in the blink of an eye.

At the end of the day the real security is you.

You fall back on yourself, he said.

His lecture was titled Re-Imagining the Global Economic Future: Inclusive Growth as Democratizing Productivity. But his message to students during his return, which began Sunday and wraps up Wednesday, was more philosophical.

That may not come as a surprise, considering philosophy was his main field of study when he attended Trent in the early 1970s.

Be authentic, Hedrick-Wong said, encouraging graduates not drift away from their core values and principles. Life s many powerful, superficial temptations can quickly pull one away from achieving their long-term goals, he said.

Trent s influence on Hedrick-Wong was subtle, but powerful.

He called it a very intimate learning environment that put him in touch with many scholars, although he often didn t realize their ultimate significance until afterwards.

As a result, it left him as someone who was never intimidated by authority.

Trent is an atmosphere, he said.

The way it shaped me, is very profound.

Hedrick-Wong also studied political science, history and economics at Trent before pursuing post-graduate training at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, where he received his Ph.D.

He is the chief economist and chairman of the Academic Advisory Council at MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, as well as global economic adviser for MasterCard Worldwide.

Prior to his global role, he was economic adviser to MasterCard in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa from 2001 to 2009.

He was HSBC visiting professor of international business at the University of British Columbia from 2010 to 2014; adjunct professor at the School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, China from 2006 to 2011, and visiting professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, Singapore, from 2003 to 2004.

Hedrick-Wong has served as economic strategist and adviser to more than 50 leading multinational companies, advised executives and boards of more than 100 leading international businesses and delivered key note addresses at various prestigious business conferences around the world.

The Canadian is also a regular commentator on CNBC, BBW World, CNN, CCTV (China), CBN (Shanghai), BTV (Beijing), Channel News Asia, Bloomberg Forum and others.

The budding gardener spent 25 years working in Europe, Sub-Sahara Africa, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific before returning in 2011 to Canada, where he lives on Salt Spring Island, off the west coast, with his wife and cat.

The alumni-in-residence program began at Trent in 1999 as a collaboration between colleges and alumni affairs to provide a venue for inviting distinguished alumni to share their experiences with the university community.

Source: goo.gl/UL39oX (www.latestarticlesonline.com)

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