From a young age, Emily Lam-Ho knew she had to walk her own path. Her parents, tycoon Peter Lam and Taiwan-born actress-turned artist Lynn Hsieh, cast a long shadow, and it was always going to be difficult to get out into the light. She was determined to strike out on her own, to become independent and successful in her own right.
She laid the foundation with not one but two degrees from the University of Southern California—the first in communications and the second in East Asian language and culture. Emily then completed a master’s at New York’s Columbia University. When she returned to Hong Kong in 2009 ready to make her mark, her father hoped she would join one of the family businesses, which include Lai Sun Development, Lai Fung Holdings and Media Asia Group Holdings. But his strong-willed daughter stuck to her guns and instead took up a marketing position at investment bank CLSA.
The first week wasn’t easy. Emily overheard a group of young employees gossiping about her, calling her a rich little princess and predicting she wouldn’t last more than a week. “It really hurt my feelings,” she says as she sinks back into a cushion-laden window seat in Caprice Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel. “They judged me on my family name without even trying to get to know me. I felt like walking out, but when I called Mum, she said, ‘You’re not a quitter. You’re my daughter; you are strong.’”