Chris Howard

Senior Director, Account Management, Asia Pacific


“I think we all have a duty to give something back to society, however small. On a wider basis, that’s especially the case when I am working for a company that is so committed to ‘doing the right thing’ – the ever-increasing accountability for all the social, environmental and economic areas that our operations touch on.”

Chris, who is also the chair of Building Pride, JLL’s LGBT+ support group in Hong Kong, brings a slightly unconventional perspective to the cause as a heterosexual man, but that hasn’t stopped him from being the face of the network and raising awareness about the community’s needs.

Since 2019, Chris has organised firm-wide training for staff at JLL Hong Kong through collaborating with Community Business, an Asia-based non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing responsible and inclusive business practices. What intrigued him most from the learnings was the concept that sexuality is a spectrum.

“We often talk about binary concepts – heterosexual or homosexual – but in reality, people’s sexual identities and orientations are complex and resist easy classification. The sexuality spectrum provides a way of talking about sexuality in terms of many possibilities, and allows for greater fluidity of sexual identity and expression, which might also change over time,” he says.

Originally from the Yorkshire Pennines in the UK, Chris only became more aware of how critical and necessary practising diversity and inclusion can be when he moved to the melting pot that is Hong Kong, and became immersed in a city where people of different races, cultures, ages and sexual orientations live and coincide.

“I think it’s only when you spend time in such an environment that you start to see how fantastically interesting it can be. The outputs of this variety – the ideas, values, even the food – have only ever served to enrich my life here. My wife and I are currently obsessed with all things Italian. We’ve been learning the language whilst in Hong Kong, trying pretty much every Italian restaurant here, and making friends in the Italian community.”

Hong Kong isn’t Chris’ first home abroad though. He first entered the project management profession with a UK-based design and build company after university, which took him to Spain, Denmark and Lebanon, before first arriving in Hong Kong in 2002.

2020 and the pandemic, in particular, has shed light on how critical the management of risk is for project management professionals like Chris and his team.

“A global pandemic and its consequences was not something the construction industry had prepared for. Even so, Hong Kong fared quite well in this regard. We had a brief hiatus and then quickly got back to work under socially distanced and enhanced hygiene conditions,” he says.

Chris has also resumed playing rugby, a sporting interest since childhood, at the Hong Kong Football Club most weekends. To him, the sport embodies the values of teamwork, camaraderie, respect, discipline and sportsmanship.

“The ability to follow raw aggression with convivial bonding over a beer or two are things that make the game truly special. Most of my closest and lifelong friendships have come through the game.”