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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Cal - Stanford Big Game viewing party Hong Kong -tradition and linkages continue in Asia

Dear Cal Alumni in Hong Kong,
I realize my blogging is long and infrequent but then again if you want to follow what I ate for breakfast you can track me on Facebook, Twitter, CampusFork, and Foursquare.  I like to think of my blog as a thoughtful archive of significant Cal events. Haha. But in the social media style I'll loosen up tone a bit.  Look here is a smiley for you. : )

The annual Cal - Stanford Big Game viewing party in Hong Kong certainly fits the profile for a Travis Darrow blog update.  This year the event took place on Friday, Nov. 26, from 7pm to 10pm at Bulldog's, G/F, 17 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong.

This annual joint gathering of the Cal Berkeley and Stanford alumni clubs always attracts a great fun crowd.  It takes place at Bulldog's in the center of Lan Kwai Fong where we have a private room so we can watch, network, eat, drink, and make noise!  I have been involved with the event since 2005.

Of course, the Big Game is the annual American football game between University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. The first Big Game was held on March 19, 1892 on San Francisco's Haight Street grounds and it is the tenth longest rivalry in NCAA Division I football..

"The Play" also took place in this rivalry at the conclusion of the 85th Big Game on November 20, 1982 becoming one of the most remarkable plays in college football history.  In what is now known simply as "The Play," four Cal players lateraled the ball five times on a kickoff return with four seconds left on the clock. Kevin Moen, who was also the initial ball carrier, ran for a touchdown while knocking down the final Stanford "defender," trombone player Gary Tyrrell, who had run onto the field with the rest of the band to celebrate prematurely.

The Play was famously covered by KGO radio announcer Joe Starkey which he hailed as "the most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heartrending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football!"  We were delighted to host Joe Starkey in Hong Kong in 2007.  Here is the video:

Notice we call our event the Hong Kong viewing party above?  Yes, given the game is played in the US when it would be 4:30am in Hong Kong we generously supported by international relations and the athletic department with a DVD to watch one week after it has played live in the US and we still attract a great crowd of 50 or more every year.  Photos from over the years but you can see all of them here:

Wow, looking at my Flickr stats I see there were 686 photo views from our latest event on Nov 26 (to Dec 1), so some interest in seeing what took place at the event too.  Great.  All time photo views 105,174. Cool. Attendees of note in 2010 were Rayfil Wong, Christine Su (seen below), Cheryl Lo, Raymond Kei, Zhenzhen Qi, Carmen Mak (and friends from HKUST), Flora, Tak Chow, Jeff Sze, Scott Hagerman, Jeanne Zhao-Clot, Barron Sun, Barry Ko, Peter Yu, Flora Kong, and Alex Eiranova.  We nearly had an appearance of famous alumnus John Deng, CEO of Vimicro who was in town and I had seen earlier in the day but he had another meeting.

Let's not talk about the game this year.  Since I've been organizing this event in Hong Kong Cal won the game and axe in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 so we lead the series 4 games to 2.  Impressive!

Sure Cal and Stanford have a rivalry but we also have a lot in common.  In fact AnnaLee Saxenian who is professor and current Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Information, in her book Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128, discusses such key Bay Area and business links to explain why California's Silicon Valley was able to keep up with the fast pace of technological progress during the 1980s, while the vertically integrated firms of Route 128 fell behind.  Considering our common history and neighborhood background when far away from campus in Hong Kong and we a much smaller alumni base here we can find a way to get along.  Or at least do so for the annual happy hour.  : )

Past Cal - Stanford Big Game viewing party Hong Kong photos here:

Best regards and Go Bears!

Travis Darrow
Berkeley Club of Hong Kong
External Relations Officer
M: +852-6718-1339

Berkeley Club of Hong Kong (and friends) Facebook:

My Berkeley club of Hong Kong pix on Flickr:

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Thanks and go bears!" Travis Darrow receives the Bradford S. King award -first outside the US

"Thanks and go bears!"

On April 24, 2010, from 6-10pm I was delighted to be one of those honored and awarded at the Charter Gala held at the historic San Francisco Ferry Building.  The Charter Gala is the University of California, Berkeley's signature event commemorating the founding of the University of California in 1868. Hosted by the Cal Alumni Association for nearly 100 years, the Gala celebrates the contributions of the University and its alumni to the State of California and the global community

Along with the 2010 Alumnus of the Year Richard N. Goldman '41, philanthropist and co-founder of the Goldman Environmental Prize and the Goldman Fund, I was among six distinguished alumni honored for incredible professional achievements, dedication and service.

I was awarded the Bradford S. King Award for Excellence in Service by a Young Alumnus.  This award honors young alumni who have made significant contributions of voluntary service to the Cal Alumni Association and/or the University within their first 15 years following graduation. The award pays tribute to Bradford S. King, who died in 1983 at the age of 28. King devoted countless hours to revitalizing University traditions.

Here is the announcement from December. The Cal Alumni Association Announces The 2010 Alumnus Of The Year:, and the nice things they had to say below.

Travis Darrow '98

"In 2001, when Travis Darrow transferred to Hong Kong as a regional sales manager for a Silicon Valley company, he immediately reached out to the Cal community abroad. Now Darrow is the Berkeley Club of Hong Kong's External Liaison Officer, serving as a prominent face and voice for Cal alumni in Hong Kong and the region.

With a community that is 1,000 strong, one of the largest alumni groups in Asia, the Berkeley Club of Hong Kong hosts Cal guests touring the region—Nobel laureate Steven Chu visited before being selected as Secretary of Energy. The club also organizes social and networking events with alumni groups from other universities—the Big Game viewing with the Stanford club is a big draw. Currently Darrow balances his time between his club duties, his job as a client director for a Fortune 500 company, and his last year of earning his MBA."

Cal Alumni Association Awardees 2010, Travis Darrow:

It is great to be among other successful young alumni winners including most recently:
1999 Mike Wondolowski ’86
2000 Steve Chan ’86
2001 Suszi Lurie ’88 and Theresa Ting Forster ‘94
2007 Gloria Diaz Ventura ‘00

I know of some of these fellow leaders including Nicole Harris, Chuck Ng, Mel Ochoa, Michael Foulkes, and Nora Sandoval and their good work over the years.  Chuck Ng of the Berkeley Chinese Alumni International Association is even based in Beijing now.  While Cal is a very globally recognized University with a diverse student body especially in the grad school ranks, I seem to be the first internationally based person to win this award so it's impressive to see Berkeley's famous brand name extend this award internationally.

After I won the award they asked me a few questions on Feb 11, 2010.  Of course not everything made the cut for the magazine and the announcement so I include 2 answers.

"1. Quote regarding my experience at Berkeley and what sets Cal apart for me:
What sets Cal apart for me is the culture of openness and opportunity to show your passion and get involved in the campus. As a student I was involved with the CAA mentorship program, Hermanos Unidos, the Undergraduate Minority Business Association, the Leadership Award Program, EAP in Sweden and of course had season tickets to Cal football and basketball.

After graduation I continued to go to games, was involved with the mentorship program, became a lifetime member of CAA, and went camping at the Liar of the Bear where I met my wife, Haas BS'99 Tricia Tran. I continue to carry this sense of community involvement with me in Hong Kong (where I currently live), so it was natural for me to try to create a similar Cal culture to welcome any alumni or friends of the University living abroad with my involvement in the Berkeley Club of Hong Kong.

5. Anything else you are excited about with your work, with the Club, new developments, on a personal note, etc.
Since I moved to Hong Kong years ago, I am now a Client Director for a Fortune 500 company and manage IT/Telecom/Networking projects across Asia.  I'll also finish my MBA from Hong Kong University (HKU) this year and my first child will be born! : )

I now work with the group in an External Relations role as we look to partner with other elite universities and groups.  I'm delighted to receive this award and even more excited to see how the group here is so well established with a full committee and even a new President to keep things going with events that continue to impress and welcome new alumni coming to Hong Kong."

My goal with the group was simple
1. Improve the group's customer focus by responding to anyone and everyone who contacts me and try to help them along and 
2. Raise the group's profile through new channels. I can relate to David Siver's piece on, "How to start a movement."

There are too many people to thank for their support that contributed to the group's growth and success.

  • Over 1,000 member of the Berkeley club of Hong Kong members especially most recently the executive committee Dave Wong, Clara Lo, Lisa Lum, Jennifer Haigh, and Winson Tai.

  • Amazing leaders on campus Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, Dean Rich Lyons, Scott Biddy, Amy Ambrose, Tenny Frost, Leslie Kanberg, Kim Cannon, Erin Proudfoot, Christina Sponselli, Erin McDevitt, Julia Hsiao, Maya Goehring-Harris, and Marcy Porus-Gottlieb.

  • Special active friends I've found through the group Jeffrey and Helen Chan, Scott Matlock, George Ho, Rey Espineli, Daniel Yu, Herman Hu, Helena Koo, Peter Tung, Lister Chang, Ernest Ng, Chris Lee, Vicki Chan, Rayfil, Ben Happ, Antonio and Karen Vitti, Dave and Amy Chang, Peter Yu, Albert Chang, Alan and Barbora Seigrist, Terence Yin, Patrick Lee, John Cullen, James Man, Joyce Hsu, Bill Shaw, Winnie Leung, Michelle Segal, Jiffriy Chandra, Michael Scown, Tristan Koo, and Pedro Woo.

  • Visitors to Hong Kong Steve Chu, Nobel laureate (before he became Energy Secretary), David Robinson and his doing business in Asia class, Professor S. Shankar Sastry, Dean Richard Newton, student groups like the Haas China Trek and even the Cal Bears broadcaster Joe Starkey.

  • Inspirational students I've come in contact with Hannah WilsonAndrew BoyceConnie WuFreeman DingViola Tang, Bernie Murphy, Keith and Kenneth Tsang, Carmen Mak, Margaret Rhee, Todd Horwath, Tiffany Cheung, Fred Charles and Carmen Mak. May they all remember me when they are rich and famous. : )

  • So many great friends Xunyoung Wang, Scott Keller, Billy Lee, Min Yoo, Jennie Tung, Roy Ng, Tricia Tran, Paul Cruzan, Vince Hsu, Eddie Chen, Kat Lo, and Amy Lee who used to be the only ones who would come to my events.

    I'm glad this is not my acceptance speech because that is one long list of names above.. I'm not close to that 1,000 membership number so I'm sincerely sorry if I missed you. Let me close with a thanks, xie xie, and go bears!

    Travis Darrow
    Berkeley Club of Hong Kong
    External Relations Officer
    M: +852-6718-1339

    Berkeley Club of Hong Kong (and friends) Facebook:

    My Berkeley club of Hong Kong pix on Flickr:


    California Alumni Association, UC Gala pix:

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Hong Kong Haas power! Travis Darrow supports the Annual Cal/Haas Banking and Finance event with alumni and MBA students

    Dear Cal and Haas Banking and Finance Executives,

    Happy new year 2010! For several years we've hosted a great event for our Banking and Finance executives in Hong Kong when the Berkeley Haas MBA students visit on their China trek company visits. This has ranged from a dinner talk by Waverly Ding, in 2007 at the Yellow Door, and happy hour at Armani Bar in 2008. Hong Kong Haas power gets stronger every year! : )

    During their Hong Kong visit the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business MBA students this week are meeting with Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Nomura, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and Citi to discuss their internships in the summer and jobs after graduation. Their first day meetings was capped off by catching up with banking and finance alumni at this event!

    On Jan 5 from 7pm - 9pm we rocked the Chater House, Armani Bar. Some of the (about 50) alumni guests from the HK Banking and Finance field included:
    • Catherine Ho, Nomura
    • Geetika Pannu, HSBC
    • Kong Wong, China Everbright
    • James Man, Director, Inter-Asia Venture Management
    • Jake Turner, The Lawyer, Citi Asia
    • Jiffiry Chandra, Partner CIO, Income Partners
    • John Yu, Director, Keywise Capital
    • Phil Tran, Private Equity
    • Raymond Kei, MSCIBarra
    • Stewart Ballard, MD, Sindicatum Private Equity
    • Tricia Tran, AVP, Credit Suisse
    • Winston Cheng, MD, Goldman Sachs
    • Zhenzhen Qi, MSCIBarra
    • 14 MBA students from Haas and Ainka Fulani from Career Services
    • Travis Darrow, Berkeley Club of Hong Kong : )
    • Conspicuously absent?  MBAs Freeman Ding and Bernie Murphy

    We actually were not the only such party at this venue that night. NYU Stern had a big sign projected on the wall in the back lounge and a little sign in front of the entire bar entrance. Supposedly MIT was also having an event at Armani bar too. But both those sections were fairly empty compared to our display of Haas power. There were even reports of MIT and NYU students asking to join our event. However, I did not see or hear this first hand myself. No problem for us if they want to join. Berkeley is famous for having an open culture and confidence without attitude. Also the US top Universities alumni associations in Hong Kong have much love for each other here. Obviously the overall pool of US alumni here is smaller than in the US so it makes sense but also the alumni association culture seems to be more active with US Universities compared to other regions Universities. It’s an interesting phenomenon I should write about more..

    After this week, their next stop is Shanghai which makes sense as I’ve written about the ShangKong finance connection in the past:

    Along with the requests from companies to get in touch with these students about summer and post graduation employment their visit also reconnected me with them related to the Haas Asia Business Conference 2010 and working with one of this year’s organizers, Siong Ang.

    Congratulations to the HAN-Hong Kong Organizing Committee: James Man, Fred Lam, Richard An, Amy Fung and Beidi Zheng.

    Here is also a link to the event pix and many previous year's events.  Enjoy:

    Best regards and go bears!
    -Travis Darrow

    Berkeley Club of Hong Kong
    External Relations Officer
    M: +852-6718-1339

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Travis Darrow attends, Haas Alumni Network Shanghai with the Berkeley Shanghai Club

    Big Names, Big Turnout

    This month, I was lucky to be in town for some financial services and communications and media meetings and able to attend a great event in Shanghai with many Haas and Cal alumni and friends.

    80 some attendees gathered at Haas alum Min Yoo’s famous Hong Kong and Shanghai Billards Club, Racks in Xintiandi which included the following special guests:

    · Dean Rich Lyons, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley

    · Professor Frank Schultz, Haas Economic Analysis and Policy Group

    · Professor Paul Tiffany, Haas Business and Public Policy Group

    · Jeanne HuangLi, Senior Development Director, Haas School of Business

    · Bernie Murphy and Freeman Ding, Haas School of Business new admits

    · 20 current students from Haas in China with Professor Schultz for a study tour

    · Travis Darrow, Berkeley Club of Hong Kong : )

    Haas Prof Shares Performance Insights

    Despite the challenging task of speaking in a lively bar environment Haas Professor Schultz gave an excellent and actionable talk on "Deliberate Practice: Achieving Outstanding Performance for Individuals and Organizations."

    Dr. Schultz’ research interests focus on the strategic decision making of CEOs and senior executives, the methods of balancing stakeholder interests and the manner in which the mental models of executives influence the evolution of firms and industries. Deliberate Practice is an emerging concept that strives to illuminate the secret ingredients of outstanding performance -- across all areas of life. As successful regional sales manager, basketball player and Berkeley Club of Hong Kong community leader I’ve always been focused on constant improvement and innovation so I definitely look forward to his book on the subject.

    Dean Rich Lyons, inspired us in his high level talk about things going on at the Haas School these days and it’s strategic focus on Asia. In outlining some of these Haas values I found they also really resonate with many Asian cultural and business values.

    · Being part of a community and valuing diversity

    · Adding value in team-based, collaborative ways

    · Managing ambiguity and uncertainty (which is so common in the fast moving China market)

    · and perhaps most important confidence without attitude

    He closed with reaffirming the School’s commitment and focus on Asia and that while the term "American Century" was coined at the end of World War II by Time magazine founder Henry Booth-Luce, the current and future world we live will be strongly influenced by Asia.

    ShangKong -- A New Partnership Strategy?

    This also brings me to the question of this new concept of, ShangKong (Shanghai – Hong Kong), and what might it mean for an Asia strategy? ShangKong is this idea of an emerging new financial center of Asia, possibly the world: a partnership of Shanghai and Hong Kong. Part of this arose after China’s State Council announced on 25 March a decision to speed up Shanghai as an International Financial Center by 2020. Jeffrey Garten, former of the Clinton administration wrote about this ShangKong concept in the Financial Times, just last month. In his view enhanced ties between the two cities are underway, and combined with China's creditor status, the weakness of the dollar and other factors, we have the rise of ShangKong as a new world financial center. Of course it begs the question if Shanghai can be an “IFC” without full convertibility of currency and a more transparency regime. While Shanghai’s stock market PE ratios are high and there is liquidity, Hong Kong still leads on the big IPOs now and in the past like Bank of China, CITIC, and China Pacific Insurance of which I had a chance to work on, but the Shanghai Stock market is one of the best performing in the world in 2009.

    From a Haas Berkeley Shanghai and Berkeley Club of Hong Kong perspective we are thinking about this trend. I connected with new leaders Justin and Rong, and reconnected with Ann and Louisa (who I had even worked with on the Haas Asia Business Conference when she was co-chair back in 2002!). So expect to hear more from us and our ShangKong connection in the future.

    Congratulations to the HAN-Shanghai Organizing Committee: Ann, Justin, Rong, Louisa, Haibin, Sharon, and Zhaohui.

    Thanks again to Dean Rich Lyons, Professor Frank Schultz, Professor Paul Tiffany, Jeanne HuangLi, Bernie Murphy and Freeman Ding for their special attendance you continue to inspire and support us so much.

    Here’s to more ShangKong events in the future.

    Best regards and go bears!

    Travis Darrow

    Berkeley Club of Hong Kong

    Annual Berkeley of Hong Kong Scholarship Ball 2009

    posted by Travis Darrow