HKS Women’s Group

The primary aim of the Women’s Group of the Hong Kong Society is to provide women in the UK with a history of living or working in Hong Kong – and an ongoing interest in the city – with opportunities to meet or keep in touch with other former residents at seasonal lunches featuring relevant guest speakers.  In addition, it aims to establish close collaboration with women living and working in Hong Kong today and provide a foundation of volunteer support for newcomers from the UK to Hong Kong and vice versa.  It is intended also that the Women’s Group will offer a dedicated ‘marketplace’ of promotional opportunities for professional women working in the UK and in Hong Kong.

Karen Luard is the convener of the group.

Upcoming Event

Please check back soon for details of our next Women’s Lunch

Past Events

Women’s Lunch with Carmel Greenwood

Date: Thursday 15th November
Venue: San Lorenzo Restaurant, 22 Beauchamp Place, London SW3 INH
Time: 12.30 for 1.00pm
CarmelWe are delighted that Carmel Greenwood has accepted our invitation as guest speaker for our Autumn lunch.

The topical theme for the lunch is ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ – a great excuse to wear your most glamorous outfit and daytime bling!

Carmel Greenwood arrived in Hong Kong in 1966  as a secretary and became a very successful stockbroker with an American firm and went on to open her own financial business investing and making a lot of money for clients. Having mixed with the rich and famous elite of Asia she will have you laughing at the ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.

Author of ‘Letting Go & Loving Life’, ‘Soul Energy’ and ‘ Wake Up Mum – Drugs are stealing our Children’; she gives talks around the world and has many celebrity clients. Carmel’s inspirational style and positive outlook transforms the way people feel, teaching them how to live more joyfully and passionately in the pursuit of heartfelt desires.

The price includes a 2 course lunch with wine in a beautiful private room at the San Lorenzo restaurant in Knightsbridge.

Society Women’s Group Autumn Lunch
With Guest Speaker: Suzi Digby OBE

Date: Friday 10th November 2017
Venue: The Oriental Club, Stratford House, 11 Stratford Place, London W1C 1ES
Time: 12.30 for 1.00pm
Suzi Digby 2017We are delighted that Suzi Digby has accepted our invitation as guest speaker for our Autumn lunch.

Suzi Digby OBE was born in Japan and lived in Hong Kong, Mexico and the Philippines before settling in London & Cambridge. She is an internationally renowned Choral Conductor and Music Educator. She has trailblazed the revival of singing in UK schools and the community over two and a half decades.

She was a judge on the BBC TV series Last Choir Standing – a competition for Britain’s favourite choir, which attracted 10 million UK fans and many more world wide. She has judged the BBC School Choir of the Year Competition, the BBC Chorister of the Year and has contributed to many other programmes.

Suzi founded and runs the following influential National arts/education organisations: The Voices Foundation (the UK’s leading Primary Music Education Charity); Voce Chamber Choir (one of London’s finest young Chamber Choirs); Vocal Futures (Nurturing young [16-22] audiences for Classical Music); Singing4Success (Leadership and ‘Accelerated Learning’ for Corporates) and The London Youth Choir (a pyramid of 5 choirs, 8-22, serving all ethnic communities in London’s 33 boroughs). February 2016 saw the public launch of her professional vocal consort, ORA (commissioning international choral works as ‘reflections’ of Renaissance masterworks). ORA’s debut album came in top of the new entries Classical Music charts in the UK and the second album is released this month on the Harmonia Mundi label.

This year she received an honorary degree from University of Aberdeen.

The price includes a 2 course lunch with wine in a private room in the Oriental Club.

Society Women’s Group Autumn Lunch
With Guest Speaker: Tayma Page Allies

Date: Wednesday 12th October 2016
Venue: The Oriental Club, Stratford House, 11 Stratford Place, London W1C 1ES
Time: 12.30 for 1.00pm
Tayma-Page-Allies-New-Shop-Prince's-Building-HKWe are delighted to welcome back as our guest speaker the talented British expat designer behind Hong Kong’s TAYMA Fine Jewellery brand, Tayma Page Allies.

When she headlined a Society lunch over two years ago, Tayma riveted the packed audience with her insider knowledge of exotic gems and led us into the inspiration behind her elegant and contemporary designs.

In an increasingly volatile investment world, she has elected to discuss ‘legacy gems’.  According to Tayma:  “Precious jewels have been valued acquisitions for centuries…. tangible assets that can be sold when times get tough. Previously many coloured gems were not ranked in this bracket but so much has changed in the last few years that this is no longer the case. ” Tayma will update us on which rare coloured gems are destined to prove an enduring investment.

22   33   44   55

The price includes a 2 course lunch with wine in a private room in the Oriental Club.

Note: The members rate applies to existing members of the Hong Kong Society only. If you would like to become a member to take advantage of the reduced rate, visit for more details and to join


Society Women’s Group Summer Lunch
With Guest Speaker: Priya Sher

Date: Tuesday 21st June
Venue: The Oriental Club, Stratford House, 11 Stratford Place, London W1C 1ES
Time: 12.30 Drinks, 1.00pm Lunch
img_0448The Society Women’s Group has invited Feng Shui expert Priya Sher to its Summer Lunch.

Priya runs her Feng Shui consultancy in London, England. She  has trained & studied extensively since 2001 with one of the worlds most skilled Masters of Imperial Yuen Hom Feng Shui, Grand Master Chan Kun Wah. Grand Master Chan has awarded Priya the title of ‘Master’.  He has a lineage going back many hundreds of years to the Song Dynasty in the Imperial Courts of China. The Imperial Yuen Hom style of Feng Shui is the most advanced feng shui in the world.

Before embarking on her Feng Shui journey, Priya had a background in Management Consulting working for KPMG, her qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Classics & Philosophy & MA (Distinction) in Human Resource Management.

Priya has had a continued successful Feng Shui career now spanning over a decade. She is a fully accredited Feng Shui and Face Reading teacher, specialist, advisor and consultant with the Chue Foundation. Additionally she offers, I Ching readings, bazi horoscope readings, auspicious date selection and space clearing services to her clients. She also offers recruitment selection services to businesses based on her Human Resources background, qualifications and experience combined with her face reading abilities.

As a full time professional feng shui consultant, Priya has performed many hundreds of successful consultations in London and abroad for residential clients, imaginatively reflecting their personal lifestyles.

“Priya was very professional in her approach.” – Paulo Coelho (author)

The price will include drinks, wine and a 2 course lunch in a private room in the Oriental Club, which is a member of the Hong Kong Association.

Society Women’s Group Winter Lunch
With Guest Speaker: Awon Golding

Date: Tuesday 22nd March
Venue: The Oriental Club, Stratford House, 11 Stratford Place, London W1C 1ES

Website-profile-pic_largeThe Society Women’s Group has invited Awon Golding to its Winter Lunch.

Awon Golding is an award-winning London-based milliner who has spent an eclectic youth in India, Hong Kong and England. She draws on her multicultural heritage to inspire dynamic headpieces. Working with bold shapes to create dramatic silhouettes, each piece is handcrafted in her London studio incorporating modern materials and traditional techniques.

Working as a fashion writer and magazine editor in Hong Kong, she eventually decamped to London to pursue her dream of millinery. After an apprenticeship with acclaimed milliner Edwina Ibbotson, she went on to receive a Distinction in Millinery from the Kensington and Chelsea College. A job designing hats and soft accessories for high street giants Topshop and River Island followed, after which Awon decided to set up her own label.

Her flair and creative talent were recognised by The Honourable Feltmaker’s Guild, who awarded her first prize at its annual millinery competition in 2010, and secured the Industry Prize in the Hat Designer of the Year competition 2013 for her collection inspired by the Queen of Bhutan. Awon was selected by world renowned milliner Stephen Jones and the British Fashion Council to showcase as part of Headonism, a platform for the UK’s finest up-and-coming millinery talent at London Fashion WeekLady Gaga is a fan, saying of Awon’s work, “Thank u for the killer hat Awon Golding. Nothing like a great hat to top off the day. I feel like Isabella Blow.

AW1501-1-Awon-Golding-Millinery-PetalShower_large   SS1601a-Flock-Awon-Golding-Millinery_large   SS1611a-Avocet-Awon-Golding-Millinery_large   SS1618a-Teal-Awon-Golding-Millinery_large

Chairman Karen Luard will ask Awon to talk over lunch, about how she got going, how she met the many challenges and how she has developed her range and a very succesful business.

The price will include soft drinks/wine and a 2 course lunch in a private room in the Oriental Club, which is a member of the Hong Kong Association.

Society Women’s Group Winter Lunch
With Guest Speaker: Tayma Page Allies

Date: Monday 12th January 2015
Venue: The Oriental Club, Stratford House, 11 Stratford Place, London W1C 1ES
Tayma 2014 (2)The Society Women’s Group has invited Tayma Page Allies to its Winter Lunch.

Born in Malta, Hong Kong-based Tayma Page Allies grew up in the Caribbean and West Africa. After completing graduate and postgraduate studies in Britain she taught French, English and Italian in Africa and Britain before moving into public relations. In 1985, she moved to Hong Kong and started studying gemology. Five years later she founded Tayma Fine Jewellery to fulfill her passion for wearable coloured gemstone jewellery.
Paraiba blue moonstone and diamond flexible cuff bangle in 18 K (2)
Tayma Fine Jewellery celebrates 25 successful years of operation in 2015 and she will share her inspiration for her designs and business success at the lunch.
Earrings with Indicolite tourmalines and diamonds (2) (2)
She specializes in exclusive one of a kind creations, often working closely with a client to achieve a perfect match between personality and gemstone.

Her elegant and sophisticated designs are showcased in a glamorous showroom, an oasis of colour and style in the prestigious Prince’s Building in Central, Hong Kong.

A colourful background has produced a colourful style. Growing up by the sea has given Tayma her love of ocean colours, so aquamarines and sapphires are among her favourite jewels. However she says she is equally passionate about Paraiba, watermelon tourmalines and kunzite. “In fact, anything unusual and beautiful gem intrigues me, “ she says.

Chairman Karen Luard will ask Tayma to talk over lunch, about how she got going in Hong Kong, how she met the many challenges and how she has developed her range and a very succesful business.

The price will include all drinks, wine and a 2 course lunch in a private room in the Oriental Club, which has recently joined as a member of the Hong Kong Association.


Hong Kong Society Evening Reception at Hua Gallery

With Guest Speaker: Lucy Choi

Date: Wednesday 15th October
Venue: Hua Gallery, Albion, London SW11 4AX
Time: 6.30pm


The Hong Kong Society is delighted to have Lucy Choi, an exciting new couture shoe designer, to be our guest speaker at an evening reception to be held on 15th October at the Hua Gallery.

Lucy was experienced in business and  the luxury footwear industry before becoming a designer, having been inspired by her uncle, Jimmy Choo. She launched her own shoe label, Lucy Choi London, in 2012.  Lucy will talk informally about the inspiration for her designs, the challenges of setting up a commercial enterprise in the fashion world today, and trends on the catwalks influencing shoe designs for the next few seasons.  She will be happy to answer any questions from aspiring designers and young entrepreneurs.

The  Hua Gallery, as indicated from its name (Hua in Chinese means a painting), is the only gallery in London dedicated to showing Chinese contemporary art.  By showing different stimulating artistic symbolisms, the gallery contributes enormously to the growth in popularity around the world of this fast-changing genre.  On display until 20th October is an exhibition by artist Lu Xinjian: City DNA IV.

The evening will conclude at about 8.15pm.

Society Women’s Group Spring Lunch

With Guest Speakers: Howard Webster and Julianne Lee

Date: Wednesday 30th April 2014
Venue: Imperial China Restaurant, 25a Lisle Street, London, WC2H 7BA

The Society Women’s Group has invited Howard Webster and Julianne Lee to its Spring Lunch.

Howard Webster is a globally published photographer, writer and director. His work has been published in magazines as diverse as the Sunday Times Magazine, the Irish Times Magazine and Russian Vogue.

He is the co-author of Canton Elegy and the writer/director of the upcoming movie Meet Pursuit Delange.

BookSet against the backdrop of the events that shaped China in the twentieth century – the Chinese Civil War, the Second World War, the Cultural Revolution – Canton Elegy is a love story, an adventure story and an intimate portrait of a family bound together by devotion as they struggle to survive. With his wife Belle and their four young children, Stephen Jin-Nom Lee braves famine and flood, corruption and the devastation of war, to make a home and a life for the ones he holds dear. From the 300-mile journey Belle undertakes on foot when she and the children are trapped behind enemy lines in Hong Kong, to the night when he stands at his window watching Canton burn, Stephen observes his world with an artist’s sensibility and tells the family’s story with great tenderness – all so that his children may understand their history and remember their father’s love.

Howard is married to Stephen Jin-Nom Lee’s granddaughter Julianne Lee, who is head of Public Affairs EMEA Region at MetLife. They have two year old twins and live in London.

Society Women’s Group Autumn Lunch

Guest Speaker: Sharon Fitzsimmons
Date: Thursday 26th September 2013
Venue: Dumplings’ Legend Chinatown, 15-16 Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JE


The guest speaker for the Society Women’s Group Autumn Lunch is going to be Sharon Fitzsimmons. She will speak about the role of the chair in  the evolution of Chinese furniture and society.

Sharon is a Chinese antiques dealer and has sourced antiques in China for many years, selling to clients worldwide. Using an eye that first appreciated Chinese furniture in her family home as a child, and was then honed by her almost twenty years in Hong Kong, she now has a Chinese antique business in the Cotswolds.  While working for the noted Chinese antique dealer, the late Beatrice Owen of Windsor House in Hong Kong, Sharon learned the many facets of the Chinese antique business: this included sourcing, restoration, marketing and selling to international clients. She also studied Mandarin, furthering her understanding of the furniture in its historical and cultural context.

The Fitzsimmons Collection has Chinese antique furniture, dating from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), with the majority originating from Shanxi Province. Sharon is passionate in her selling of Chinese furniture: she uses an academic approach, by researching the pieces and their place in Chinese culture. She also gives lectures: the cultural history and heritage of China is profoundly fascinating, and understanding it through its furniture and how each piece evolves provides a wonderful historical viewpoint, especially as Chinese antiques are becoming increasingly rare and valuable. Her recent lectures have been at the Oxford and Cambridge Club,  Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gallery and a Royal British Legion 90th Anniversary Celebration.

Prior to antiques Sharon worked for Shandwick PR in Hong Kong, Bloomberg Financial Markets in New York and for President Reagan’s White House, leading a major government and private sector project in Paris. Sharon spent her childhood in Europe and the US, her family being posted during her father’s career in the Foreign Service. She holds an MBA from Boston College.

Society Women’s Group Summer Lunch

Guest Speaker: Rachel Cartland
Wednesday 22nd May 2013
Time: 12.00pm Drinks, 12.30pm Lunch
Rachel's Photo (2)

The guest speaker for the Society Women’s Group Summer Lunch is going to be Rachel Cartland. Rachel has recently written a book titled “Paper Tigress” in which she talks about her life in the Hong Kong Government.

After graduating from Oxford University in 1972, Rachel joined the Hong Kong Government and subsequently served in a variety of senior posts thereby gaining wide exposure to the formulation of policies, management and the Hong Kong political scene. She possesses extensive experience in the Government Secretariat and in specialty areas including broadcasting, arts and culture policy. In 1995, Rachel was appointed Assistant Director of Social Welfare (Social Security) managing 2000 staff and an annual budget of HK$25 billion; there she delivered a socially critical service of high political sensitivity, impacting all sectors of grassroots Hong Kong. Programs included CSSA, ‘Support for Self-Reliance’, Computerised Social Security System, the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Scheme and the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme.

Since retiring from the Government in 2006, she and her husband have remained in Hong Kong and Rachel has occupied herself with some consultancy and a lot of voluntary work, including contributing to the Hong Kong Society’s Newsletter.  Writing her memoirs for publication was never on her agenda but she describes how it came about and the amusing and thought-provoking lessons about modern Hong Kong that she learnt along the way.

Rachel’s book “Paper Tigress” is available to order from Blacksmith Books. Click here for details

Society Women’s Group Spring Lunch

Guest Speakers: Kerry Young and Selina Siak Chin Yoke
Friday 8th March 2013
Venue: The Fox Club, 46 Clarges Street, London W1J 7ER
Kerry Young Selina_portrait_B_W_for_Facebook

Exploring Asia: New perspectives on the Chinese Spirit
The Society will celebrate International Women’s Day 2013 with a reading by two fascinating female writers, followed by a discussion over lunch at the Fox Club.

The two authors explore these intriguing aspects of the Asian experience which have rarely been examined.

The first is Kerry Young, born in Jamaica to a Chinese father and Chinese/ African mother. She writes the tale of a young Chinese boy Pao who comes to live in the booming but dangerous Chinatown of 1930’s Kingston, following his father’s death in the political turmoil of China.

The second author, Selina Siak Chin Yoke, a successful investment banker and entrepreneur, writes about a woman who is based on portraits of her great-grandmother. Chye Hoon comes from that unique culture born of a Malay/Chinese hybrid – the world of Nyonyas and Babas inhabiting Malaya of the last century. The novel, Spirit of Kueh, tells of how Chye Hoon must overcome dark times when her husband dies, to become one of the first businesswomen of her time. She builds a family fortune selling the cakes (kueh) of her traditional cuisine.

Worlds apart, the novels shed light not only on the traditions of Chinese in diaspora but also explore contemporary issues of multiculturalism, integration, assimilation and the true cost of losing a heritage.

Kerry Young’s novel Pao was published by Bloomsbury and won much critical praise. Pao was shortlisted in 2011 for the Costa First Novel Award and in 2012 for the Commonwealth Book Prize.

Selina has written a wonderful post about this lunch which can be seen here. Please do visit her website

Society Women’s Group Autumn Lunch

Guest Speaker: Fionnuala Halligan
Tuesday 9th October 2012
Venue: Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, 6 Grafton Street, London W1S 4EQ

The guest speaker at the Autumn lunch is Fionnuala Halligan – well-known for the celebrity interviews she conducted for many years at the South China Morning Post. She started working for the SCMP in the 90s and was variously feature writer and editor of its Keeping Posted and TV and Entertainment Times sections until she took over the full-time position of the paper’s lead Film Critic in 1991. In that capacity, she interviewed many famous international, regional and local film stars including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung and many more. After marrying a financier she moved to Europe and was based in Madrid, where she was a senior writer for Hello! magazine and freelanced for CNBC Asia, International Herald Tribune, Vogue, and was Bureau Chief for Variety and Screen International. In 2004 she moved to London with her husband and two sons and continues to write for Screen International and a variety of quality publications. She will publish her book ‘Film Craft’ on legendary film designers later this year.

The Women’s Group lunch will be staged ina new, more informal format with our guest speaker responding  to questions in a Q&A session over a light but delicious Asian-influenced buffet lunch – prepared by celebrity chef, Claire Caminada, author of Claire’s Kitchen – accompanied by quality wines.

We would like to acknowledge and thank the HKETO for their support of this event.

Society Women’s Group Summer Lunch

Guest Speaker: Xue Xinran (薛欣然)
Wednesday 27th June 2012
Venue: The RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PY
We are delighted to announce that the guest speaker at the Hong Kong Society Women’s Group summer lunch is Xue Xinran.  Xinran is a columnist for the Guardian newspaper and the best-selling author of  ‘The Good Women of China’; ‘Sky Burial; ‘What The Chinese Don’t Eat’; ‘Miss Chopsticks’; ‘China Witness’ and ‘Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother’.  Her first book, ‘The Good Women of China’, is an inspirational memoir relating many of the life stories she heard while hosting her ground-breaking radio show “Words on the Night Breeze” in China. The book was first published in Britain in 2002 and has subsequently been translated into over thirty languages.

Xinran’s fifth book, ‘China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation’ was published here in October 2008 and is based on twenty years of interviews conducted by Xinran with members of the last two generations in China. She hopes it will “restore a real modern history of China, from real people after most of the historical evidence was destroyed in the Culture Revolution”.   She followed this in February 2010, with the publication of ‘Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother’, a collection of heartbreaking stories from Chinese mothers who have lost or had to abandon children.

In August 2004 Xinran set up ‘The Mothers’ Bridge of Love’ (MBL). MBL reaches out to Chinese children in all corners of the world; by creating a bridge of understanding between China and the West and between adoptive culture and birth culture, MBL ultimately wants to help bridge the huge poverty gap which still exists in many parts of China. The MBL book for adoptive families, ‘Mother’s Bridge of Love’, came third in TIME magazine’s list of the top ten children’s books of 2007.

Society Women’s Group Inaugural Lunch

Date: Thursday 22nd March
Venue:The Yacht, Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PN
12.00pm Drinks (cash bar on the top deck)  12.45pm Lunch  (two-course repast including wine, coffee/tea and petit fours)






The guest speaker at the Society Women’s Group Inaugural lunch is Kate Blewett. Kate is a multi BAFTA and Emmy award-winning documentary director who has harnessed the power of television to bring about social change. Her discovery of the conditions in China’s state-run orphanages led to the making of The Dying Rooms – a documentary that caused global outcry, leading to governments and organisations of the world challenging the Chinese government. Since then, Kate has worked extensively in over 70 countries, unearthing stories of abuse, exploitation and neglect. Her programme include The Dying Rooms, Slavery, The Transplant Trade, China’s Stolen Children, Undercover in Tibet, Mum loves Drugs, Not Me, and Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children.

As a direct result of her expose, government and large corporations have been shamed into action, laws have been changed, prisons shut, institutes closed down, traffickers imprisoned, and many lives have been saved.  The Dying Rooms was recently named the most important documentary of the last decade by the Mail on Sunday.

Kate will talk about the challenges she faced making the documentary and what has happened in China in the decade since it was first aired.

The Yacht:

Built in 1927, this permanently moored luxury steam Yacht has been restored to its former elegance. Situated on what is known as the “Mayfair of the river” a short distance from the Houses of Parliament and where the City meets the West End, it boasts magnificent views over the river Thames.

Many distinguished guests including Heads of State, Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, President Brezhnev of the USSR and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan have been on board when it was used as a VIP vessel by the Port of London Authority.

# #