Speaking Up About Fun — Lunch with Maaike Steinebach, Chief Executive of Commonwealth Bank (HK)

Maaike donating lunch and raising 61 volunteer hours

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality and attitude behind their ventures and stories.

Having worked in banking for 20+ years, Maaike, current CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s HK Branch, also has experience across multiple jurisdictions and financial institutions, including Fortis and ABN AMRO. Besides providing insight for the CBA innovation lab, with ideas ranging from visualization to data mining, she places great importance on diversity and female rights in HK’s growing Fintech community.

Over lunch, Maaike inspired us to have fun and be bold, to make the best use of our time and potential by finding our true passions and speaking up about our ideas.

What is one life philosophy that you live by?

“The most important philosophy I live by is to do fun things everyday, as if it were my last day. Time is a very important commodity, so you really need to find your passion and spend time in the best way possible.”

What were you like when you were 25? Is there anything you wish you had known?

“I graduated from university quite young and I started work straight away. I only sent one job application letter in my life, and would recommend people look around a bit more. Take the time to explore your options and find something you’re passionate about. Then, try and focus on that before you decide on what you’re going to study.

I have come across so many people worried about finding a job and saying, ‘I need a job, I need a job.’

But the reality is we need you. We need talented young people.

You are so much more powerful and strong and inspiring to us than you probably know. Make the effort to find a good employer that you match with before you go for the job.”

For people who want to work for you, what can they do to impress you?

“I like people who show a diversity of thoughts and ideas. I like people who speak up. There is no such thing as a bad idea and there’s no such thing as a bad question.

I like to have people that challenge me and raise questions and come up with ideas that might not be very common. The biggest problem I have had is assessing people that don’t say very much. It is hard in Asia sometimes and people can be introverted, but really try to make the effort to speak up and share your ideas.

If it stays in your head, it never gets out there and people never hear about it. It might just be the next big idea.”

What is the message that you hope that we can take home?

“I hope that you are all going to focus more on developing your curiosity and EQ. I think you’re all incredibly smart people, otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten into the university that you got into.

Make sure you explore the world, stay open, seek information, join groups, and be inspired by the world because it’s amazing.”

Thank you Maaike for donating lunch, and to everyone who volunteered and took part in raising 61 volunteer hours.

For more opportunities, visit Time Auction to volunteer and meet inspiring mentors.

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