Time Auction Star Volunteers — Natalie Chan & Winson Lui (HKUST) at Dinner with Tom Mehrmann, Former CEO of Ocean Park

Wilson and Natalie at Time Auction dinner with Tom Mehrmann

What does running a major theme park have in common with volunteering? More than meets the eye, apparently.

Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean serving as CEO for hundreds of staff members. It can also mean organizing service trips and leading your teammates. Joy is not just found on rollercoasters and ferris wheels; it is also present in giving and serving — learning from the innocence of children, who find happiness in the simplest of things.

Time Auction is proud to present the Star Volunteer Award to Winson and Natalie, who have been nominated by their school and recognized for their contribution to community service. We sat down to talk with them about their experience meeting with Tom Mehrmann, former CEO of Ocean Park, and what volunteering means to them.

Winson Lui, Civil and Environmental Engineering, HKUST

“I am so grateful and honoured to be nominated for this award. I do volunteer work to help others, not to pursue anything — so when I found out about the award, I was surprised and felt encouraged to participate in more volunteer work in the future.”

Winson with Tom Mehrmann, Former CEO of Ocean Park

What did you learn from meeting Tom?

“I wanted to learn about how Tom, the former CEO of Ocean Park, manages his time when he has so much work to do. Tom really plans his time well and is very regulated, waking up at 5am everyday. His advice was very helpful in how I should plan my schedule in the future. From listening to his sharing, I hope that I can make better use of my time, whether it’s academics, volunteering, or sports. I also learned leadership tips from him, as Tom mentioned that he won’t do everything himself, but distributes work to others. I think that’s an essential element for a good leader.”

Tell us about the volunteering you do.

“Recently, I participated in a Service Learning Trip to Cambodia. I was part of the organizing committee and led the team to come up with activities. We taught local children about sustainability and water.

I particularly enjoy serving children because working with them gives me a great sense of success and inspires me. I think that we can regain our sense of innocence when we work with kids.

Winson on a Cambodia Service Learning Trip

I started volunteer work when I was a Secondary 3 student. After volunteering, I started to think about things from others’ perspectives. I’m inspired by the beneficiaries of the volunteering work, whether it’s kids, elderly, or those with mental illnesses.

I always learn something from them and it helps me become a better person, to grow in my personal development, and to become more mature.”

What change do you want to see in the world?

“There’s a lot of anger and sadness in Hong Kong currently. I want to make the world better by making everyone happier and spreading that sense of childlike innocence.

I want to take photos and write down my feelings, putting them into a book that I can share with my friends, so that more people can feel the happiness that I experienced through volunteering and be encouraged to participate in volunteering as well.

I don’t know if this will necessarily help the world, but I want to try at least, to see if I can make the world better.”

Natalie Chan, Biochemistry, HKUST

“I am so happy to be nominated for this award, but what is most important is that I can share my volunteering experiences to others through this platform.”

Natalie with Tom Mehrmann, Former CEO of Ocean Park

What did you learn from meeting Tom?

“I wanted to hear about Tom’s story and career path in order to get some inspiration for my future. Leading hundreds of people is not an easy task, so I wanted to learn about his leadership style.

Whenever a difficulty is placed in front of Tom, instead of trying to escape or procrastinate, he solves the problem proactively. He is disciplined and always seizes chances.

From Tom, I learned to work hard and to be more determined when facing difficulties. In the future, whenever there is an opportunity in front of me, I will tell myself to be bold and to give it a shot.”

Tell us about the volunteering you do.

“I was one of the organizing committee members for a Cambodia Service Learning Trip organized by HKUST Connect. We held some workshops and activities for children.

Even though their living conditions were poor, they were easily satisfied and happy, which made me reflect on what the true meaning of happiness is.
Natalie on a Cambodia Service Learning Trip

I started doing volunteer work when I was in secondary school, as I had passionate teachers who encouraged me to volunteer and enhance my understanding of the world. Through volunteering and interacting with different people, I began to pay more attention to others. As a result, I have learned more about individual stories and society as a whole. I think that volunteering is an opportunity to jump out of your comfort zone and gain a better understanding of yourself.”

What change do you want to see in the world?

“Through volunteering, I want to make a small impact in the world. I believe that people should show more empathy and put themselves in others’ shoes before making judgments. Then, the world can hopefully become more harmonious.”

Winson and Natalie with the other participants, who collectively volunteered 258 hours to charity

To get connected with service opportunities, learn from inspiring mentors, or hear the stories of participants and volunteers like Natalie and Winson, visit Time Auction.

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