OWN Academy is made up of an intimate team coming from different industries and parts of the world. Our diverse backgrounds with different education systems guide how we design experiences for our students.

 

Natalie Chan

Natalie Chan

Founder & CEO
BIO
Natalie Chan is an educator, engineer, film producer, adventure-seeker, entrepreneur and a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Natalie’s education background ranges from a local Chinese school, international school, boarding school and university in the United States. Natalie’s curiosity in education was sparked from the realization that there is a misalignment between the focus of schools and the real-world expectations. After three years in the corporate world, Natalie spent six years in education before founding OWN Academy in 2016 with the goal of solving the gap between schooling and employment, help students find their purpose in life and equip them with the skills and mentality to success.

 

Thomas Tran

Thomas Tran

Innovation Strategist
BIO
Thomas Tran is a designer, artist, and educator. From small town Tiffin, Ohio, USA, Thomas is a first-generation Asian American who understands the complexities of growing up within conflicting and differing cultural mindsets and expectations. His personal navigation to understand these complexities has led him to pursue creativity and the arts as a means of expression. Thomas studied as a fine artist before focusing on design where his curiosity in object and spatial experiences led him to be a product and environments designer.

He has worked within consultancies designing for top named brands such as Samsung, The North Face, Gatorade, Microsoft, Intel, and others before bringing his understandings into the field of education. As an educator, Thomas worked as a Director of Innovation Center in Singapore, creating a space that delivers and develops programs that support young people in creativity, critical and process-centric thinking, and skills training for an international school. His understanding of design and design thinking has led him to support schools globally in the idea of instilling a mindset within young people that can help them navigate the worlds potential challenges. Through education, his hope is to support young people in developing a mindset to navigate their personal identities and be able to understand their value and share them with others to be valued as well.

Chloe Fung

Chloe Fung

Program Designer and Assistant Operations
BIO
Recent graduate of Middlebury College (VT, USA), Chloe is an avid language learner from Hong Kong, who is deeply curious about spatial learning and cross-cultural facilitation. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she designed and conducted research on East Asian refugee policy with Hong Kong’s only refugee legal aid organization, participated in service learning in Japan within rural and urban contexts, and studied Arabic for over three years with a semester in Amman, Jordan.

She has been involved with teaching, tutoring, and curriculum design for the past seven years, whether as a volunteer in high school, a peer tutor in college, a teacher in an NGO for urban refugees in Amman, or a seminar leader in a bilingual Japanese program for Japanese high school students.

Given the intense pressure of grades and other limitations of our education system, she is curious to explore how education can be reimagined or adapted to empower students to realize their own motivations. At OWN Academy, she works on curriculum development and designs the programs and experiences for students.

Daniel Eun

Daniel Eun

F&B Mentor
BIO
Daniel Eun has built his legacy quietly by being a key player in the craft cocktail movement for the past decade. As the first head bartender of Please Don’t Tell (PDT) in New York City, he was fortunate to be a part of the bar’s early success and popularity. PDT, of course, now has an incredible legacy—including a James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program—and it continues to be an iconic global bar. With the opening of The Varnish, in Downtown Los Angeles, Daniel moved back home to continue building this movement—this idea that mixed drinks could and should be an elevated experience done with integrity and attention to detail. The Varnish also became a mainstay of cocktail culture around the world and was recognized as the Best American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards. After signing up for the wrong Bar exam and becoming an attorney, Daniel came back to the industry with The Normandie Club and The Walker Inn, which in its first year was voted into the World’s Top 50 Bars as Los Angeles’s only entry on the list. He’s now helming the program at 11 Westside and The Wilshire in Hong Kong.
Ho Yin Cheung

Ho Yin Cheung

Social Media Mentor
BIO
Ho Yin is a seasoned entrepreneur, product manager, and a digital marketer. His core passion is to help businesses grow in a scalable way with software tools that we develop. He has over 6+ years of experience in digital marketing and e-commerce and loves to remote work, technology, board games and crypto.

As a Founder of three companies, he loves scaling companies. With experience in scaling three high growth companies from zero to multi-million dollars in revenue. Ho Yin developed his expertise in creating and developing a B2B sales team, product management, and growth marketing (PPC, SEO, content marketing, funnel optimization).

Harris Chan

Harris Chan

Coding Mentor
BIO
Former Microsoft engineer, tech veteran and entrepreneurial leader with a strong passion for technology and empowering children to become future ready through coding education.

Harris is fascinated by how technology is transforming our world and what it means to our future generation. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Harris received his primary and secondary education from La Salle and graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a degree in Computer Science. His career began as a software engineer at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Harris also held senior leadership roles at Yahoo! Hong Kong as Head of Business Development and Director of eCommerce. Prior to founding Cobo Academy, Harris was the Director of Central Marketing Organization at Microsoft, in charge of commercial and consumer marketing in Hong Kong.

Outside of work, Harris loves spending time with his family and inspiring the growing minds. He was a Microsoft “Hour of Code” Instructor, Business Advisor for Junior Achievement Hong Kong, Programming Consultant at the University of Washington and CyberCamp Instructor in Seattle, Washington.

Rocky Yip

Rocky Yip

Creative Design Mentor
BIO

Rocky worked as a designer in London, Hong Kong and Beijing before starting kith&kin. He studied product design at London’s Central Saint Martins, where he developed a hands-on approach to design and became fascinated by materials and how we interact with them.

kith&kin is an award-winning, multidisciplinary design studio in Hong Kong. Their mission is to give life to their work by putting people at the heart of it. They help brands of all sizes, established or new, to create connections to the real world. Their winning formula always starts with listening, by putting ourselves in our client’s shoes to understand not just what they want but what they truly need. Each piece of work is tailored made with care and love, customised for pertinence.

Ilya Belikin

Ilya Belikin

UX Design Mentor
BIO

Ilya is currently the senior product manager of Lalamove. He believes that technology is shaping the humans’ world. It is the medium. It has the potential to augment the best in us. He also helped in starting a training ground for UX design students called Posit. This is a network for professionals teach, learn, and collaborate for a better future.
Dickson Ma

Dickson Ma

Mobile Payment Mentor
BIO

Dickson is currently the deputy director of Alipay. A driven strategic thinker with diverse experience in commercial, partnership and finance. Strong entrepreneurial skills are matched with experience in implementing innovative and impactful brand solutions. Resourceful and efficient, with the ability to work autonomously although enjoys the dynamic of team environments. An empathetic leader who uses emotional intelligence to motivate, develop and nurture a team. He is an avid triathlete and marathon runner, having competed in races locally and abroad. On his rest days, he spends his time on yoga and his 1.5-year-old baby boy.
Divya Samtani

Divya Samtani

Marketing Mentor
BIO

She’s been called everything from marketer, content creator, communications consultant, storyteller, brand strategist and much more – but what she loves doing most is bringing passionate people together around powerful ideas, and creating shifts in thinking that have the potential to change lives forever.

Whether working with the greatest Fortune 500 companies or budding one-man startups, sharing meaningful stories and transforming mindsets has always been at the heart of her work, and her goal is now to bring this experience and expertise to the education sector.

As the founder of Savvy Sapiens, an empowerment platform for teenagers, her aim is to help them get access to the content, connections, and experiences they need to define and design their lives on their own terms.

Matthew O Connor

Matthew O Connor

AI and Tech Mentor

Co-founder of Reboot.AI, Hong Kong’s premier AI & ML solutions provider. He is a modern data scientist, former algorithmic trader, and certified Agile leader with experience transforming business units, automating enterprise scale workflows and overseeing distributed teams as large as 60.

For a decade he has solved large scale business problems with data-driven solutions, including as the senior member of the algorithmic trading desk for the world’s largest hedge fund by AUM. He is frequently invited speaker on AI and tech leadership.