Influential women in re/insurance
Company: Peak Re
Job title: Head of human resources
2012: Joined Peak Re
towards the challenges others may be facing. We are working
in a competitive market and people can create stress when
they are too eager to get the work done. The challenge for
HR is to keep the company moving in the same direction
by aligning expectations and creating an environment to
encourage others to put themselves in other people’s shoes.
Showing empathy in a challenging situation is surprisingly
effective in resolving issues in the workplace and in your
What was the most significant development you’ve seen
over the last 12 months?
One highlight was the opportunity to be part of the team to
support the growth of our Zurich subsidiary. We are very
pleased about this development and I personally learned a lot
from this project.
Has the profile of women in re/insurance been raised in
It is more worthwhile to spend time picking the smartest
way to break your self-defined ceiling than to discuss the
existence of ceilings. Once you believe in no ceiling, you
will just forget about it and strive for excellence. I believe
that an individual’s competence and their commitment are
crucial factors to a company’s success. Peak Re recognises
performance, not on gender or any other characteristics,
when evaluating rewards and promotion.
May Cheung is human resources director of Peak Re. She
joined Peak Re in November 2012 and is responsible for
overseeing the full spectrum of human resources functions.
She is an HR leader with 20 years experience across the
globe and in various sectors, such as luxury brands, logistics
solution providers, IT, insurance and reinsurance.
In her HR career, Cheung has successfully implement
different projects such as the introduction of online goals
alignment tool from global, regional to country level; the
enhancement of cross-region cultural understanding and
internal communications; and was the Asia-Pacific HR lead for
a regional integration project during company restructuring.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I worked in the direct insurance industry a couple of years
ago and this brought me the opportunity to meet our CEO.
I was impressed by his ambition to build an international
reinsurance company headquartered in Hong Kong. His
belief in reinsurance providing financial protection to the
community aligns with my fundamental belief that one
should care about the livelihoods of others.
It is a natural choice for me to work in an industry that has a
growing momentum and which allows me to broaden my horizons.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It was an exciting venture to join Peak Re at an early stage.
HR works closely with our C-suite management as we believe
that our pool of professionals are the driving force behind
everything the company wishes to accomplish. It is worth
highlighting that every company needs to hire talented people
and also keep the right balance if the internal dynamics are
to make it a winning team.
HR plays a part in the equation but more important, it relies
on our team members’ willingness and preparedness to
take initiatives for their personal growth. This creates more
opportunities for the individuals and the company.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
The challenge is to inspire people around you to be considerate
“Showing empathy in a challenging
situation is surprisingly effective in
resolving issues in the workplace.”
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