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Alumni Western Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Agnes Chan, BACS'81

September 28, 2012

agnes chan
2012 Alumni Award of Merit - Dr. Ivan Smith Award

“My father taught me to be very responsible and disciplined. My mother taught me to have a big heart and to share with others.”

Those two influences came together in the life of Agnes Chan, a successful businesswoman who has given generously of her time and talents to her community and to Western.

Chan and her family emigrated from Hong Kong to Canada when she was in senior high school. Her mother decided the family should start their new lives in New Brunswick, rather than in Vancouver or Toronto, so that they would more quickly integrate into Canadian life and culture. Chan attended Ryerson University and Centennial College before recognizing that her real interest was in accounting and business. A visit to Western’s campus proved to be love at first sight. She graduated in the first class of the Administrative and Commercial Studies program at Western. “The program suited me perfectly, and helped me feel very confident to face the world when I graduated,” she says. She remembers Western as a friendly place and has fond memories of her time in Bayfield Hall.

After working with the Canadian tax service in London for a year, Chan decided to pursue her career in Hong Kong. She worked with the Treasury Department of the Hong Kong government for eight years, until giving birth to twins. When she returned to the workforce, it was in a corporate finance role, and her career took off in new directions. She spent six years in investor relations with Pacific Century Insurance Holding Limited, and then joined the China Construction Bank, the world’s second largest bank. In 2008 she completed an Executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Now officially retired, Chan recently became a partner in a financial public relations company.

Throughout her career, Chan has maintained her connection with Western, as a participant in alumni activities, a member and Chair of the Hong Kong Advisory Board, an enthusiastic promoter for all things Western, and a generous financial supporter. “I received a quality education at Western, and I enjoyed every day of it,” she explains. “I want to share my good experience with students who may want to go to Western, and I want to do what I can to help younger alumni.”

Chan is excited about Western’s future direction, and wants to see the university develop a higher profile in China and a more international flavour at home. A movie fanatic, she says winning the University’s highest alumni honour is “worth a lot more than an Oscar.”


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