Our series of online people profiles covers a wide range of backgrounds, careers and personalities of individuals in Hong Kong. In this instalment of HK People, we meet Irishman John Keane, who works in education and life coaching, and who hasn’t met a weight that he didn’t want to lift!
Tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from originally?
I was born in Ireland and lived there for over 25 years before moving to Hong Kong. I’m proud to be Irish and enjoyed every moment of my life back home. I studied in the National University of Galway prior to moving to Hong Kong.
I’m lucky to be blessed with such wonderful parents, and two wonderful brothers, who have supported me every step in my journey so far. I travel back to Ireland at least once a year and I look forward to going back once travel resumes.
Where else have you lived, and what did you do there?
Hong Kong was my first time living away from home, so initially it was a big move for me. But I settled into life here very quickly; I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of wonderful people, who really helped me adjust to life in HK. Now I’m trying to help others do the same.
Is Hong Kong “home” for you?
It has definitely become my second home over the past few years. The lifestyle and work environment suit my hard work ethos, and I felt right at home here from the beginning. My fiancée is from Hong Kong and she has really helped me and made me feel at home here. This is a unique city of opportunity, and the lifestyle is very attractive for expats.
What do you do here? Tell us about your business
I’ve worked in an international nursery and kindergarten here for the last five years, most recently as Assistant Centre Director.
I have also recently launched my own business (lifecoachingwithjk.com) after becoming a PTCT Certified Transformational Coach, from Paradigm 21, based in Hong Kong. I look forward to gaining my ACC accreditation for the International Coaching Federation (ICF) in the coming months. I’m keen to raise the standards of the coaching industry in Hong Kong, and I’m excited for what the future holds for both me and my clients. I’m also an Expat Coach, helping expats build a happy, healthy fulfilling life abroad.
Give us an insight into a typical working day for you.
A typical day for me is working at my school to ensure we provide the best possible experience for all of our students and families. After work, I lift weights at least five to six days a week; it gives me the energy and drive to succeed in all areas of my life.
Once I finish my gym sessions, then I’ll work on my own business. I conduct most of my coaching sessions in the evenings – it’s usually the most convenient time for my clients too. I schedule extra coaching sessions on my days off for clients that prefer day-time sessions.
What have been the surprises and challenges of doing business in HK?
The coaching industry in Hong Kong is still relatively new, but it has been a challenge worth overcoming. Coaching is successfully used in a lot of the major corporations here, and it’s my ambition to help make coaching more accessible and appealing to every person, especially within the expat community.
What neighbourhood do you currently live in, and why did you choose it?
We have recently moved to Kai Tak; it’s a very convenient location for both of us, with the new MTR line opening last month. All the apartments are new and have great facilities, and it feels similar to my previous home in Park Island Ma Wan.
What are three things you like about your neighbourhood?
The clubhouse’s facilities, the easy accessible MTR and bus, and the close proximity to my workplace.
Describe your home to us.
It’s warm and welcoming and reflects both of our personalities. I like to keep a lot of exercise equipment at home so I can fit short workouts in even when I have a busy schedule. We also have a small office space for my coaching sessions and business-related activities.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
I play football for Maccabi FC; we were recently promoted to Division 1 in the Yau Yee League; I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead next season!
I also like socialising with friends, and keeping in close contact with my family members and friends back home. And I enjoy reading books and listening to podcasts – I like to take notes on what I can use and apply in my own life and my coaching business.
Quick questions about Hong Kong: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? NeNe Chicken.
Date night restaurant? The Golden Orchid in Kowloon City.
Bar? Flaming Frango.
Local food? Barbecued pork with rice.
Thing to do with visitors? Go hiking and explore some of the wonderful islands.
Nearby holiday destination? Thailand is by far my favourite destination for travel. I look forward to my annual trip there once travel resumes.
Like this? See more instalments of our HK People series in our Living in Hong Kong section