My real name is Lam On Ki, but for easy reference I am known as Maggie Lam. I grew up in Hong Kong and still very much love the island even though I now live in England. I worked for over 11 years in the beauty industry in Hong Kong as this had been my ambition since I was a young girl. I started as a trainee and worked my way up to become a senior beautician until due to skin allergies to both plant and chemicals commonly used in facial treatments I could no longer perform the therapeutic beauty treatments demanded from my chosen profession. I then became a teacher in a Hong Kong beauty school, teaching ITEC and CIBTAC Laser and Light courses, as well as Facial Electrical Treatments.
I eventually decided to bring my profession to an even higher level and English language proficiency was a central part of this next career step. The UK seemed like the ideal place to study and then potentially work as everyone speaks English and it was easy to get a visa being from Hong Kong. I also liked their culture as Hong Kong was previously a British colony, so I felt a natural affection for the country and its people. And the fish and chips were an added a bonus!
I studied English intensively for four months at a private school in England, and supplemented my courses with a tutor for one month to help with my listening abilities which I struggled with when people spoke too quickly.
At the same time I also became a CIBTAC Student of the Year 2014 Finalist which was an amazing honour. Although I did not win, it was a credible asset that really helped me secure a first-rate job in the UK to allow me to further refine my English language speaking, listening and writing. This spa therapist position also helped me to solidify and expand the treatment techniques I used in Hong Kong.
Working as a spa therapist in the York Hotel in Leeds, England has been a rewarding experience, but because of my worsening skin allergies I opted to learn the managerial skills necessary to become a spa manager, director or someday even an owner. I chose the CIBTAC Level 4 Diploma in Spa / Salon Management offered at the Bali International Spa Academy in Sanur. I had gotten to know the school’s Founder, Penny Ellis, at the last two CIBTAC award ceremonies and believed she would be a compassionate teacher who could use her many years of experience in Asia to help me propel my career into management ranks.
The two week course proved to be quite intensive, especially being a non-native English speaker, but with Penny’s patience and my devotion, I passed the exam with high marks. I am incredibly proud of myself and thankful to those along the way who have helped me, especially Penny Ellis and her team at Bali BISA. I am not sure what the future holds for me, but I go forward with renewed confidence and optimism. Maybe I will even be the CIBTAC Student of the Year 2016 which Penny has nominated me for due to what she calls my “amazing” assignments.