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A Conversation With Hilary Hao, Global Shaper and Climate Reality Project Leader

Hilary Hao is a Global Shaper under the Manila Hub in the Philippines and is a Business Development Associate at AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippine-based conglomerate Ayala Corporation, that develops and invests in strategic projects to meet the growing infrastructure needs of the public and private sectors in the areas […]

Hilary Hao is a Global Shaper under the Manila Hub in the Philippines and is a Business Development Associate at AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippine-based conglomerate Ayala Corporation, that develops and invests in strategic projects to meet the growing infrastructure needs of the public and private sectors in the areas of mass transportation, urban mobility, and logistics. 

Hilary is also a Climate Reality Project Leader and has worked with Global Shapers and Ayala Corporation to amplify the current climate crisis and implement solutions in the Philippines. 

Aside from infrastructure development, Hilary is animated and committed to broaden and deepen discussions on food and plant-based nutrition following a stint as Brand Associate working on brands like Aussie brand Nudie Juices and UK-based green-protein brand, Quorn. She microblogs on these topics on her Instagram page, @nihaohilaryhao

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you on this specific path? 

Early in my career I was creating marketing plans and campaigns for cooking seasoning and sauces for a large local FMCG company and one weekend, the question “what kind of world will my children and grandchildren live in?” popped into mind. Looking at the direction the world was heading, I concluded that I can and should take a more active role in shaping how the future may be…and I did!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.

  • Be brave

The best experiences come from stepping outside one’s comfort zone. My favorite travel experience so far? Accepting an invitation to attend the wedding of a person I had met only twice prior in Sumatra, Indonesia and the resulting last-minute five-day solo trip. It was my first time traveling alone, my first time in Indonesia, and my first time attending an Islamic Indonesian wedding. It was a rare chance to observe the pre-ceremony and wedding ceremony that happens in the bride’s home and the town feast that happens right after and I wouldn’t have experienced if it I didn’t say yes to this invitation.

  • It’s never too late to reinvent yourself

I’d like to detail this out but I recently came across this Harvard Business Review article that summarizes the thoughts I have better than I could.

  • Surround yourself with the people that inspire you 

At the minimum you spend 1/3 of your workweek with your team: colleagues, bosses, or subordinates, and you’re more likely to see more of them than anyone else in your social circles. You’re the average of all the people who surround you so make sure that those people inspire you to be the self you envision yourself to be. 

  • Be wary of strangers (and vampires!), but don’t hesitate to make new friends

Our world has its dark places and the bad guys in movies and TV also exist in real life (I personally have met someone who was proud to have spied on a company for a competitor and other scope of work of a similar nature) so approach each new person with some caution…but at the same time, the world is filled with a greater share of decent and fantastic human beings so if you shut yourself off from meeting new people, you also fail to meet some of the most kick-ass people out there!

  • Above all, be kind 

Kindness, especially the authentic kind, is the world’s most under-appreciated and under-utilized super-power. Try to remember the last time someone was kind to you, I’m certain that brightened up your day somehow. 

So I urge you, next time you see a person whose outfit you like in the elevator or who is running to catch the elevator you’re on, give him or her a compliment or hold the door for a few more seconds, no matter what kind of day he or she might have been having, you just gave that person that extra lift to power through the rest of the day.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

My baseline principles are to treat every single person with respect and dignity and to live out my life with integrity. But my guiding philosophy would be the concept of “…yet”; keeping in mind that one’s possibility is boundlessly varied and that we each have the potential to succeed in whatever we commit ourselves to at any point in our life (See answer #2) opened up my mind to the limitless opportunities out in the world.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Instagram—or more specifically my food are on Instagram, @nihaohilaryhao!

Happy to talk about food or sustainability and readers can also connect with me on LinkedIn (please, please connect with a note with either your why for connecting or that this article lead you to my profile!). 

With all the talk on Climate Crisis, how are you trying to live more sustainably?

I’m a newly minted Climate Reality Leader and I’m working towards living a Zero Waste lifestyle, significantly reducing my animal-protein consumption, and—since I travel around to eat—I bring my own utensils, water bottle, and food containers everywhere I go.

I still haven’t gotten the hang of presenting in big crowds so unfortunately I was not able to join 24 Hours of Reality but I am working towards being able to give a presentation by next year! 🙂

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