The delightful and elegant Ashley Fong – IGT’s Field Marketing Manager, Asia – talks to IAG about gaming, Macau and her love of music.
By Raquel Dias
Raquel Dias: Did you always plan to follow a career in gaming?
Ashley Fong: I was born and bred in Macau. Gaming always seemed like the best bet to make, so I always thought of going down that path.
RD: How did you first become involved?
AF: I first joined the Melco-Crown preopening team around 13 years ago. After a while I decided to join Wynn and from there I moved to the other side of the industry and have been with IGT for 10 years. I’m now involved in all of the company’s marketing activities in Asia. From product launches to events and trade shows, I do a little of everything.
RD: What do you like the most about your job?
AF: Oh I love trade shows the most! It is there that I meet new faces, exchange contacts and have a chance to present my company’s products. It is always an exciting environment. Second to that, I have to say I love product launches. Being at the venues in person is the only way to see people’s reactions to your product. You get to see how they interact with the product and how they respond to it first hand.
Working as I do, travelling to all major gaming shows in the Asia-Pacific region, gives me the opportunity to understand different markets. I get to understand how different people in different countries play and that is very interesting to learn.
RD: Does being a woman in a man’s world ever make it harder for you?
AF: Actually, I have to say that according to my experience there has been no difference in how people accept me. I do agree that when I started 13 years ago there weren’t many female faces around – especially when it came to high level executives. Nowadays it is becoming normal to see women in these positions. I don’t think there is any discrimination, everyone has the same shot.
I do have to add that I only felt different when traveling to some countries where I believe women need to be more aware of danger, whereas men can behave more freely. Other than that, it is only unfair that we have to wear high heels and men don’t!
RD: What do you do to relax and get away from the stresses of work?
AF: I am a musician in my free time. I have a band, Quicksand, and we perform at weddings and other events. I play the guitar. We have some originals but because we play at our clients’ events we need to perform anything that people request, so we do a little bit of everything. Our favorites are punk, rock and funk.
RD: How about when you go out?
AF: Our office in Macau is just across the street from AIA tower so on Friday night we usually go to Sky 21 to relax and enjoy a glass or two of red wine. I also love to drive, but unfortunately traffic in Macau means it is not as much fun as it used to be.
RD: Since you grew up in Macau, what do you feel are the good and the bad elements of the city’s development over the past decade?
AF: Let’s start with the bad – that’s easier. I think the worst was the development’s impact on the local housing market. Apartment prices and even car-parking spaces are reaching unprecedented prices!
For the good things, of which there are several, I believe that the number of integrated resorts that translate into more job opportunities for locals is the main benefit. There is now a myriad of choices when it comes to career paths that simply did not exist before.
RD: What do you envision for your future?
AF: I would definitely like to stay in Macau where I have my husband and my two lovely cats. I really like my job and what I am doing right now, but perhaps somewhere along the way I would prefer to spend more time here than travelling.