Emma & Kiri
By Emma Dale. Posted in Blog

Throughout my more than 20-year career, I’ve witnessed first-hand the barriers that many professionals, especially women, face in advancing their careers. One thing that comes up again and again is that “if you can see it, you can be it”.

Everyone has their own professional journey and encounters unique challenges along the way. However, inspiration and motivation can come from hearing about the experiences of someone who has achieved their professional goals. One person that I have found particularly inspiring recently is my coaching client and friend, Kiri Sinclair.

On 28th March, I hosted a fireside chat with Kiri, Agency Founder and CEO of the award-winning strategy communications firm, Sinclair. More than 30 professional women from all industry sectors joined in the conversation at Soho House in Hong Kong.

During the event, Kiri shared the story of her journey towards the C-suite. She recounted the highs, the lows, her learnings and advice for other female professionals looking to make their mark in Asia.

Kiri began her career in journalism. With her unrivalled knowledge of the Hong Kong market, she became a sought-after advisor to business owners navigating a period of geo-political uncertainty.

Within male-dominated business environments, Kiri succeeded in asserting her credibility thereby earning her place at the boardroom table. She subsequently established her own firm which today boasts an award-winning team of professionals in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Singapore.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to career success, there are some important takeaways from Kiri’s story that can be applied to almost any professional:

1. No man (or woman) is an island.

Kiri recounted numerous times that she relied on the support of others. She credited the encouragement from family members, practical advice (and a little competition) from fellow entrepreneurs, and practical guidance from me, her coach, with being integral to her journey.
During my conversations with professional women, I often hear some embarrassment or shame associated with asking for help. Many have preconceived notions that they should be able to handle everything themselves. They believe that to ask for help is a sign of weakness or incompetence.

Kiri’s experience – which echoes my own – is the exact opposite. There is strength and power in leveraging the perspectives, experiences and expertise of others.

2. Balance is vital.

Kiri shared times that she felt burnt out and struggled to gain the perspective she needed to effectively lead the business. Having built her business from the ground up, only recently has she been comfortable delegating some of the important responsibilities. Doing so has enabled her to truly step into the role of CEO, and even plan a vacation!
The step into a leadership role is challenging for many of my clients. Having worked their way up the ladder, shifting their mindset from a do-er to a leader requires a conscience effort and tangible steps.

Kiri spoke about having a trusted team member on her team, and differentiating between the mission-critical and everyday work. But these are not exhaustive, there are many practical steps that can be taken to become an effective leader and create balance.

3. Celebrate the wins.

Kiri observed that the fast pace of life is not conducive to reflection. Therefore opportunities to pause, celebrate achievements and identify areas for improvement should be grasped with both hands. She observed that this fireside chat was one such opportunity.

Many business leaders I coach have a process for recognising the achievements of the team ingrained in their culture. But when you’re at the top, there are few people who will call out your achievements and congratulate you. Coaching provides an opportunity to celebrate your wins, examine your mistakes and set a course to learn from both.


A big thanks to everyone who joined this event. And a special thank you to Kiri for being so generous sharing her experiences and insights.

Contact Emma to find out how coaching can help you achieve your career goals and build the careers of your team. Also, follow Prospect on LinkedIn to join us at future events and receive the latest industry trends.