15 Mar 2024

Inspiring Speakers on International Women’s day

The Girls Rising group hosted four outstanding speakers on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2024. The speakers, all from very different backgrounds, told remarkable stories of overcoming challenges and how they became stronger because of it.

Each week we will introduce a different speaker. This week we meet Actor and Director, Emma York. York explained how she has learnt to embrace failure and rejection from the unpredictable entertainment industry and “bask in their beauty.”

York trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and ArtsEd London.  She is one of the founding leaders of Faust, an international youth theatre company. Since 1999 she has directed and staged hundreds of shows. Her experience includes leading workshops, choreographing, and directing productions small and large, as well as working alongside professional touring productions such as the Hong Kong leg of Annie the musical (West End tour) and AC Productions tour of Waiting for Godot both here in Hong Kong and Singapore.

York has had many glorious moments as an actor but she explained that rejections are an inevitable part of the profession. She said,  “It is the excitement of the opportunities that come a long that makes her keep wanting to do it.”

“When things do not go your way it is rarely down to you not being good enough. There are so many things beyond our control that means that things do not go the way we might like.  It is important that you reframe the experience and stay focused on what matters the most.”

York told the audience stories about her audition for The Crown and how she struggled to make a room full of drama students laugh.

She said, “Rejections that can start as a feeling of complete failure can be turned into something much more positive in the end.”

“The skills you learn along the way will help you create some other form of magic.”

“Your passion and your drive will get you where you need to be in the end.” York said that a good friend once told her that, “wherever you are right now is where you need to be.”

“Embrace failure and rejection in whatever form they turn up in. Let’s bask in their beauty rather than fly away from them. Find the strength in them and allow their presence to push us forward.”

In the following weeks we introduce:

  • Christy Chan – Hong Kong Rugby Captain,
  • Nicole Chik – Ultramarathon Runner and
  • Dr Shannon Chan – Assistant Professor and Head of Upper Gastrointestinal and Metabolic Surgery of CUHK.