Member Spotlight - Helena Chan

Helena Chan - Founder of fine jewellery company HYC Jewels


Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am an entrepreneur, angel investor and mentor. I am CEO of HYC Jewels, which creates high-end bespoke jewellery.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

I get to do what I love, connect with people and help them celebrate a special occasion or memory. No two days are the same, I am constantly challenged and I have control over my schedule.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

I have lived a life without regrets. (There may be small ones, such as ‘I should have called my parents more often this week’, but nothing major.)  I try to live my life to the fullest and follow my passion, even when sometimes common sense dictates taking a job or choosing a profession that is more practical or secure. I followed my passion and worked for the United Nations/non-profit sector for a decade (instead of becoming a lawyer, doctor or accountant – which would have made my Asian parents very happy). Then I decided to follow my other passion, jewellery, and had a complete career change. Each time, friends and family asked if I was sure about taking such risky decisions. Each time, I followed my gut. Nothing was, or is, guaranteed, but your biggest regrets in life are not the things you had the courage to try and failed at, it’s the things you didn’t have the courage to try.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?

Fail fast and fail often. That is how you learn and improve. (‘Perfection is the enemy of progress’ is the other side of that coin.)

Why do you think it’s important to support other women? 

Our society is already structured in a way that it is biased towards men – it’s important that women support each other so we can bring more balance. If more women’s voices are heard and more women are in senior roles and decision-making seats, the world may look quite different. It’s important to be happy for each other’s successes and pick each other up when we need help, so we can build a more inclusive, loving community and world. 

Which living person do you most admire? 

So many choices! I would say my mother. She has shown me, through action, what it means to live a life of integrity, grace and strength. 

Who inspires you?

Again, so many people! The one that comes to mind immediately (because I just watched the documentary Free Solo a few days ago) is Alex Honnold. He follows his passion, asks nothing but excellence of himself, trains and practices without fail and knows his limits – when to start and when to stop. He set a world record, not for ego but for himself, and for his true essence. He follows what he loves, stays true to himself and proves what the mind and spirit can achieve. 

What is your motto? 

Follow your passion. 

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the AllBright?

Every woman I have met is open, intelligent and interesting. The membership attracts a certain type of woman and I love being part of this tribe. I have met some incredible women that I know I will be friends with for life. 

What does sisterhood mean to you, and who’s in yours?

Sisterhood means supporting each other, raising each other up. If someone is more successful than you, be happy for them and help them on their journey up. There will always be someone smarter, stronger, better. Life’s journey is about competing against yourself, doing your best, and helping each other so we can all achieve new heights.