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Profile: Learning curve

Alvin Lam

Rotary Club of Innovation Hong Kong

In high school, Alvin Lam was active in Interact and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, but it was Rotaract that turned him into a leader. When he learned in May 2016 that his Rotaract Club of Kowloon North West was shutting down along with its sponsoring Rotary Club of Kowloon North West, Lam and other Rotaractors were disappointed. Then Eugene Fong, 2013-14 governor of District 3450, asked Lam to help charter a new Rotary club. 

Alvin Lam says Rotaract gave him platform to develop and practice personal skill sets and professional knowledge.

Photo by Theodore Kaye

Lam had previously been a member of the Rotaract Club of City University of Hong Kong when he was pursuing his degree in computer studies. He says he tried to live by the club slogan To Serve, to Learn, to Lead. “I did learn how to lead during my Rotaract service,” he says. “It gave me a platform to develop and practice personal skill sets and professional knowledge.”

Lam and Fong got to work recruiting potential members, and today the Rotary Club of Innovation Hong Kong has 21 members who range in age from their mid-20s to mid-40s. They’ve embarked on a number of projects, including support of a district program that works with young people who are homeless. They’ve set up a program using kendama, a type of cup-and-ball toy, to help children with autism build their self-confidence, improve coordination, and develop concentration. They’ve also organized a Rotary information day to help students learn more about careers in everything from mobile app development and e-commerce to digital photography and art therapy. 

Today, Lam, 40, is an IT and telecommunications professional with a master’s degree in e-business management, and he credits much of his success to his early experiences in Rotary, including his time as a member of the Interact Club at the school formerly known as the Shau Kei Wan Government Technical School. “I was involved in all kinds of Interact activities, including fundraising and community service projects,” he says. 

Lam is currently his club administration chair and deputy district secretary, and he serves on his district’s innovation, IT, and public image committees. 

“Rotary is a place where you can learn a lot when you devote yourself to serve,” he says, “and the good will come back to you.”

— Anne Stein

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