Our series of online people profiles covers a wide range of backgrounds, careers and personalities of individuals in Hong Kong. TIFFANY BROECKELMAN is the current AWA Vice President of Memberships, and her jam-packed days include everything from organising fundraising events to smashing out dragon-boat sessions or hitting the hills for a hike.
Where are you from originally? What do you miss about it?
I’m from Overland Park, Kansas, which is part of the Kansas City Metro area in the geographical centre of the US. My husband, son and I lived there for the 20 years prior to moving to Hong Kong; but I was raised in a small one-stoplight town of around 2,000 people in Kansas. Most people know Kansas for KC Chiefs football, world-class barbecue, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and farmlands. Coming from a small town originally, I miss the genuine smiles you get while walking down the street from friends, neighbours and even strangers. And of course I miss the amazing barbecue!
Tell us about your expat “trail”. When did you first come here? Where else have you lived?
My husband and I moved here in December 2016 for a two-year contract. This was our first expat assignment and we were excited about the adventure.
Is Hong Kong “home”?
Hong Kong is definitely our home for the foreseeable future. We sold our home last summer and my husband’s job will have us here long term as we’re now on a local contract.
What do you do here? Tell us about your role within the AWA?
After 17 years as an outpatient physical therapist back in the Kansas City metro, I’ve had the great opportunity to not work here in Hong Kong and focus on volunteering and self-care. I’ve been a three-year member of the AWA Globe Paddlers dragon boat team, been a member of a hiking club, become a mahjong addict and spent time exploring the city.
This July, I became a member of the AWA Board as the Vice President of Membership for a two-year term following three years of volunteering on fundraising events. Soon after joining the AWA in June 2017, I became involved with the AWA Charity Bazaar committee, which led to being the co-chairwoman for the past three years. We’re currently still working to hold our 33rd annual AWA Charity Bazaar on 11 November.
Along with this, I’ve also been involved with other large-scale fundraising events over the years such as Art on the Line (our women-only art sale), the East Meets West Fashion Show and our much anticipated Under the Sea Gala that had to be cancelled due to COVID this spring. I enjoy helping to be a part in the raising of the much-needed funds for our over 25 charitable partners each year; this past year, we were able to award over HK$1.9 million.
Give us an insight into a typical day for you.
Typical days include: a physical activity that can vary from dragon boat practice two days a week, a group hike, or a home workout; home activities including grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning; a social activity such as lunch with friends or mahjong; and AWA activities such as working on AWA Bazaar or Board duties. I stay very busy!
What have been the surprises and challenges of working with the AWA in HK?
The lifelong friendships I’ve made with women from all corners of the world has been amazing. There are so many talented women who all bring something unique to the table in terms of friendships, philanthropy and social activities. The biggest challenge I’ve personally had working with the AWA is saying “no” to requests for help as I so enjoy working with others and feeling like I’m contributing to the greater good in Hong Kong. I often wear “too many hats” in the organisation.
What neighbourhood do you live in, and why did you choose it?
We lived in Kennedy Town during our first two years in Hong Kong and have lived in Wan Chai for the last nearly two years. We picked both areas for their more local feel while still being on Hong Kong Island with easy transportation. My husband works at the ICC in Kowloon, so proximity to buses and MTRs that can deliver him to work in 30 minutes or less is very helpful. We have loved both areas!
What are three things you like about your neighbourhood?
* The local feel of being in the midst of auto-repair, sheet metal and welding shops with owners/workers who always give me a smile and a wave when they see me each day – even when they’re out in other areas of the neighbourhood.
* The variety and multitude of restaurant options in the area.
* The cultural activities that happen frequently either at the Pak Tai Temple, or the Blue House down the street on Lee Tung Avenue.
Describe your home to us.
Our one-bedroom flat is on the top floor of a local 5th-floor walk-up. We have a rooftop and windows with lovely views out over the Pak Tai Temple and Wan Chai Gap. The flat is cosy and spacious for a one-bedroom flat in Hong Kong.
Outside of your work with the AWA, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
I love dragon boating, playing mahjong, hiking, travelling and exploring the city.
Quick questions about Hong Kong: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? Xoco Mexican is a weekend regular with friends.
Date night restaurant? Le Blanc, Wan Chai.
Bar? McSorley’s in Soho.
Local food? Peking Dumpling Wong on Jaffe Road in Wan Chai.
Thing to do with visitors? It depends on the length of the trip and the fitness level of the visitors. We love to show the varied aspects of Hong Kong: a walk in Central with street art, the HSBC waterfront history and Hong Kong Park followed by dumplings; a Lantau day with Big Buddha, Ngong Ping and Tai O; an outer island day on Cheung Chau or Lamma; a hiking day to either Monkey Mountain, Dragon’s Back or South Lantau Country Trail; a rainy day at the Hong Kong History Museum; and, of course, the eclectic 10,000 Buddhas, the beauty of Nan Lian Garden with the vegetarian restaurant or tea house, and Stanley for kayaking, dragon boating with my team, and shopping the market.
Thing to do with kids? We had friends visit with little kids last spring and were able to do many of the activities listed above, while allowing for extra playtime, breaks and travel time. They loved even just playing at the playground in Hong Kong Park, which has a multilevel slide that wore them out. And of course they loved playing on the beach!
Nearby holiday destination? Anywhere new! We’ve had the pleasure of visiting multiple locations in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Nepal and Indonesia – and loving all of them. We love to travel and the next best destination will be wherever we are finally able to get away to when travel becomes an option again after COVID.
See more in our Living in Hong Kong section