Jaclyn started at the firm as a trainee in 2007 and describes herself as “A&O born and bred”. During her time here, she has embraced many opportunities and has had an extremely fulfilling career to date.
Jaclyn’s goal has always been to “take our Greater China Debt Capital Markets practice from strength to strength.” She sees being a partner as an opportunity to take charge of the clients you want to work with, the products you are passionate about and the direction of your team. Promoted to partner in the summer of 2020, Jaclyn now reflects on the journey with A&O:
“The process of becoming a partner is a few years in the making. To be true to the nature of what it means to be a partner, you first need to build your client portfolio and recognition in the market as an expert in your field. You also need to spend time understanding yourself and be able to tell your story to the selection panel, so they can buy into you and your proposition.”
Jaclyn has always been grateful for the encouragement and guidance from colleagues both within region and globally. Of course, she is also very aware of the increased responsibility and accountability that comes with the progression to partner, as she explains: “There is pressure on performance. I have to work towards winning more mandates, consider the profitability of my deals and get the structure of the team right, but I have other partners who I can pass my ideas by and run sanity checks with, if I need to. By the same token, I’ve been able to harness and leverage on the relationships that I’ve been building for over a decade within the A&O network, to drive multi-jurisdictional and cross-departmental collaboration on various fronts.”
As a partner, Jaclyn also enjoys the access she now has to the rest of the partnership. “It’s enriching to now be part of the conversations that take place at partner level. It helps me to better understand where the opportunities and challenges lie for other partners and to see how we may collaborate and leverage our collective experiences and connections.”
Jaclyn has recently relocated from Hong Kong to Singapore to be nearer to her family, but her role and focus at the firm remains unchanged. She continues to collaborate closely with the Hong Kong-based partners and advise on debt capital markets matters, with a particular focus on transactions involving Mainland China and Hong Kong SAR issuers, whilst also integrating with the Singapore partnership. As she explains: “The overwhelming support that I’ve received from A&O regarding my relocation makes me a poster child for flexibility and our regional practice.”
Although less than a year into the role, Jaclyn is clear about the type of leader she wants to be: “With my clients, I want to be their first port of call. I want them to feel they can come to me if there are issues or to bounce ideas off. Ultimately, it’s about establishing and maintaining trust and that hasn’t changed since I started here as a trainee. With my team, I want to enable them to stay motivated, develop their skills and cultivate their talent. I see this as a career of longevity, so supporting their wellbeing is a top priority too.”
According to Jaclyn, there is nothing new in this approach; it’s intrinsic to A&O’s culture. “This is how I was treated in the past and how I am still being treated today,” she says. “Partners over the years have been very generous with their time and sharing their experience with me. Being a partner is about giving back and paying it forward. That reciprocity is particularly important to me. It’s now my time to pass on my expertise and be a champion of A&O’s core values.”
Although Jaclyn has spent her entire career at A&O, there’s always been so much to learn and experience. In such a supportive and nurturing environment as A&O, anything is possible.