Claire Ling Chi Martin (Chin) ’79 is a freelance HR Director now living in London and working on her first book, about the psychology of slimming. In 1967 Claire was the first minority ethnic pupil at The Queen’s School.
Having been found on the doorstep of 63 Berwick Street in Kowloon, Hong Kong by police and estimated at two days old, she went into at least two orphanages before being adopted by Doris Hall, a trailblazer and role model. Doris had married Bo Chin, a Chinese man born in Cardiff, in an era where inter-racial marriages were rare.
Her mother’s sudden death when Claire was 12 had a considerable effect on her and her father – not least in the area of family meals, so food and nutrition became an area of considerable interest. However, Claire’s university applications finally centred on Chinese and Mandarin and she went to Durham to complete a Chinese Studies degree.
As a Cantonese-speaking part-time receptionist for a Chinese newspaper The Silk Road News, Claire learned marketing, advertising, sales, recruitment, arts administration and, unbelievably, acting. (Her theatre group performed Monkey King at the Liverpool International Garden Festival and even The National Theatre.) A move to London and a transition into what was then called ‘Personnel’ marked the start of what she calls her ‘proper career.’ By 1992, Claire was Head of Human Resources for the Financial Services arm of General Electric and by 2000, one of the first Chinese HR Directors in the UK.
Claire declares that her journey from orphanage to boardroom was helped enormously by a sound education and the reputation of The Queen’s School, Chester. She is always astonished at how many people in executive level roles have heard of our school. And her advice? “Know your stuff, sell it with confidence and, above all, Honour Wisdom.”