Your success starts here: Celeste Zeng

“I don’t define success: I am continuously pursuing a sense of achievement that comes by creating new solutions for every problem.” – Celeste Zeng

Creating Solutions

Energetic, positive and curious, Celeste brims with the zeal to find an answer to every question. Being a troubleshooter is second nature to her and she revels in her current role of promoting startup buyers for Global Sources.

Celeste finds success to be conceptual and a fix that gives temporary satisfaction. Fixing problems with innovative solutions gives her a greater sense of achievement.

Apply marketing lessons to real life

Celeste Zeng is a twice-recipient of the Hinrich Foundation scholarships. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, major in Marketing, at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) in 2015. Currently, she is taking up her MBA at the prestigious National University of Singapore and is scheduled to finish in 2020. In between classes, she is an intern at SAP Singapore, where she is involved with supply chain/procurement ERP strategy & innovation projects as well as SAP’s social responsibility projects under the President’s leadership.

Her journey started in 2011 when the scholarship selection committee awarded her Hinrich Foundation scholarship soon after her second year of studies at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. She spent two years studying her favorite courses in marketing and psychology at HKBU.

During her time in school, she worked with fellow scholars at bazaars organized by the Hinrich Foundation to sell products made by disabled workers in Cambodia. She believes in Frank Boreham’s quote “We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us,” and feels thankful that she made the right decision to join the Hinrich Foundation family in 2011.

Your success starts here: Celeste Zeng
Celeste Zeng (far right) shares a moment with (from left to right) Global Sources COO Brent Barnes, former Global Sources CEO Spenser Au, Hinrich Foundation Alumni Association (HFAA) member Roger Li and HFAA President Laura Xiao at a Hong Kong Charity Bazaar in 2014.

Before her college graduation, she served as an intern for Global Sources, a business-to-business media company. Her first role was with corporate marketing and a special project team.

The trade show visitor marketing team offered Celeste her first full-time job, which was project coordinator. She was trained to recruit international buyers to join the exhibition and manage on-site projects.

There was no looking back as she moved on to a job at Global Sources Direct and shifted from event management to a startup-like business unit, where she was exposed to a wide variety of people and chalked up valuable experience.

“Marketing is a very big concept, and how to apply marketing lessons to help others in different countries with diverse cultures is what is thrilling for me,” Celeste said.

Your success starts here: Celeste Zeng
Celeste and fellow Hong Kong Baptist University alumna, Amy, pose for a photo to remember their graduation ceremony in 2011.

Out-of-the-box thinking

Celeste views herself as a troubleshooter. Finding creative solutions to problems is her strength.

In her current role as an opportunity creator, Celeste wears many unusual hats. One important area of significant responsibility she excelled at was when she was the executive assistant to the Global Sources CEO. In this role, she supported corporate-level project planning, communication and research, and various other roles that involve out-of-the-box thinking.

Celeste enjoys talking with people from diverse cultures. “It’s a people-centric industry,” is how she sums up her obvious enjoyment of being part of the trade sector.

“I believe marketing is analyzing, understanding and influencing customers and it can be applied to anything we do,” Celeste emphasized. She likes to apply the concepts within the trade industry and likes the part it plays in transforming peoples’ lives.

Your success starts here: Celeste Zeng
Celeste listens to buyers during the Global Sources’ Startup Launchpad tradeshow in 2015 at the AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong.

Clients’ successes become winning moments

“When I hear a client’s success story, it’s a winning moment for me and my team!”

Celeste is a passionate crusader for the Global Sources Startup Launchpad, Asia’s largest hardware trade show that facilitates global distribution between startups and renowned online and offline retailers. The event showcases 300 startups to more than 63,000 global buyers from 149 countries and regions. Held twice a year in Hong Kong – Asia’s trade hub – the Startup Launchpad showcases ideas, innovations and a plethora of topics by industry experts that go into making a successful startup.

“My current work title is opportunity creator and my role is to meet different people and establish different entities in the trade ecosystem to continuously build Startup Launchpad as the go-to show for hardware startups,” Celeste said. Her role allows her to build partnerships for the Startup Launchpad B2B show to help hardware startups materialize their inventions with Global Sources’ buying community. From collaborating and liaising with active partners in Greater China, to educating and developing the necessary global distribution mindset in hardware startups, to finally bridging the gap between buyers and mature startups, Celeste plays a pivotal role in adding value to the trade industry.

It gives Celeste extreme gratification to interact with different people, connect with them and create new opportunities where once there was none.

Celeste has been a public spokesperson representing her team in front of 300 startups at the Startup Launchpad. She has shared the concept of Startup Launchpad and the dreams of many innovators in the form of case studies at the event. An inspiring speaker, she has been instrumental in strengthening the Startup Launchpad brand by sharing valuable inputs for startups through her experiences. She feels a great sense of satisfaction every time a client wins.

Your success starts here: Celeste Zeng
Celeste (far left) poses with speakers representing technology companies and startups such as Microsoft, BraveSoldier Venture Capital, Brinc, HWTrek and Clarity after giving them tokens of appreciation during the Startup Launchpad tradeshow in 2016.

Heading towards a common goal

Celeste believes that every person in a team is unique and brings their individual core competencies to the table. She is of the opinion that, “a team can come together as long as they head towards the same goal, and they are willing to help and support each other.”

She recalls the time when she had first joined the Startup Launchpad. She and her team had faced big challenges internally and externally due to massive competition. “We worked extra hard and rendered overtime to get the show on the road, and when it opened we saw we had a full house and received great media coverage!” She attributes the success of the show to great teamwork.

Living harmoniously in a diverse world

Hinrich Foundation has brought in a lot of opportunities for this young woman from China. “Education, employment and numerous learning chances in a different field,” she summed up gratefully. But for Celeste, the most valuable gift from the Foundation has been the network that allows her to interact with people from different parts of the world.

“[People from the] Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, the US, Canada and we are all so different. That makes me believe that we are living in a diverse world, and we need to observe and listen to peoples’ lives and stories, but never pass judgment on our inherent differences.”

It is this cultural diversity that appeals to Celeste and makes her willing to travel and go far and wide for an education. “This does not immediately contribute to my success, but it has had a huge impact on my value system and I deem it the biggest role Hinrich Foundation has played in my life,” she said.

Lead my team to growth

Celeste shows the makings of a great leader. She loves finding creative solutions, has the patience to stay calm amidst a crisis and has the emotional intelligence to find common goals within a culturally diverse team.

“I’ve always wanted to lead my own team and help them to grow,” Celeste said. Her vision is to lead a small but united team to create something worthwhile that makes a difference to the trade industry.

Be open to exploration

“Always try something different!”

Celeste regrets not exploring enough as a student and is trying really hard to make up for it in her current position. She feels that as students, we are sometimes cautious and follow our minds more than our hearts. “Perhaps more scholars need to take the road less travelled,” she concluded.


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