MANAGEMENT
Team

MEET THE MINDS BEHIND THE GAMES!

Gay Games is a registered charity organisation, lead by a passionate Management Team of volunteers and a Team of volunteers.

Would you like to join us? You can read more about joining GGHK here.

DENNIS PHILIPSE

I just moved to Amsterdam when Gay Games V was held in 1998.

This was the first time Gay Games held outside North-America. I didn’t participate, but attended the Opening Ceremony and several Art Festival events. It was a very hot summer and there were gay people all over the city. The event felt very inclusive and everyone was happy. You could feel the magic in the air.

In 2014 I founded Out in HK, the LGBTQ+ community in Hong Kong for sports, fitness & outdoor events. The community has grown to 6,100+ Facebook members now, and we have organised more than 750 events, building an active LGBTQ+ community together. It’s a great way to connect people, building life-long friendships and change people’s lives.

I started thinking about what else we can do in Hong Kong with this group. I remembered the Gay Games from Amsterdam and I thought it would be a great idea to bring this inclusive event to Hong Kong, the place I love and live in, to unite the community together. I did some research and realised that the Games were never held in Asia. I reached out to the Federation of Gay Games and we had an introduction call in 2015. I grouped several people together, and in 2016 we signed up for the bidding process, which we won in 2017 

I volunteer at GGHK because I believe that GGHK will have a massive positive impact on Hong Kong/Asia, uniting everyone in- and outside the community. The Games are a perfect way to showcase that LGBTQ+ people can do also sports. For many participants it will be an opportunity to participate in an event that’s bigger than themselves, creating a never-to-be-forgotten experience, which will help to create “Asia’s Stonewall moment”. The bid stage already created a positive ripple effect on our community, our team of volunteers and our supporters. It really brought everyone together, and helped us realise our dream to host the first Gay Games in Asia!

I feel very proud and privileged to work together with an amazing team of passionate volunteers to organise GGHK. We all have been working very hard, sometimes it feels like ‘we’re building an airplane in the air while flying it’ as we have many milestones to hit until November 2022!  

Most of my professional life I worked in Technology. Now, I work full-time, as a volunteer, on GGHK and Out in HK. Besides participating in ultra-trail running races, I enjoy organising and participating at Out in HK events to stay fit and meet new friends. I also love to spend time together with my boyfriend, our friends, playing the piano and going to the cinema.

I really love the variety of the city: on one hand you have the 24-hours concrete jungle with skyscrapers, office towers, restaurants and bars, shops, theatres and on the other hand you have the beautiful outdoors with stunning trails, mountains, beaches and islands.

Do you know that 75 percent of Hong Kong’s territory is green and that there are 263 islands? You’ll never get bored in Hong Kong!

SABRINA YANG WEN

I first learnt about the Gay Games from a fundraising event in 2016 where the team was trying to bid to host the Games in 2022.

I still remember the first time I went to an LGBTQ+ event six years ago and how scared I was to introduce myself because I had always been very closeted at work and in life. People welcomed me with warm hearts and hugs and helped me accept who I really am. Ever since I have always wanted to give back to the community, so I organised weekly lesbian sports events, social gatherings and started to be more vocal on social media about LGBTQ+ rights. I believe in the power of sports and community. Gay Games is the perfect platform to bring people together and I know it’s time for me to contribute to an event that’s bigger than myself.

Even though I have not been to the Gay Games before, I have heard from past participants how inspiring it is and I am in a wechat group of participants from the Greater China region (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), where people talk about their memories of the Paris Games almost every day and about how excited they are for the 2022 Games. Then I know I will impact more people’s lives than I can imagine.

I am already myself inspired everyday working with the Gay Games 11 Hong Kong team and the Federation of Gay Games, speaking to sports leads from all over the world dedicating their free time to build and grow the LGBTQ+ sports scene in their home countries. I know from now to 2022 and beyond, more people from Hong Kong, Mainland China, and across Asia will be united because of what we are doing out of the spirit of sport and love.

I am managing a Hong Kong based food tech company called Spoonful, a virtual cafeteria group that specialises in food production and delivery service. I live with my wife Jacqueline, who is a history tutor and gym instructor. We got married in Guam last year over Easter and we have a three-year old cat named Kafka.

What excites me the most about Hong Kong is its beautiful and diverse offering of people and scenery. You can work in the busiest financial district during the day and at night take a boat home to a remote island and grow your own vegetables. You feel free and safe like nowhere else and everyone you meet is open and well-travelled, and therefore inclusive and kind nature

TOMMASO PANERAI

I feel honoured and thankful to join this team and bring my creative experience to help craft this historical international event that is the embodiment of inclusiveness and peace in the name of athleticism: for everyone and open to anyone. This is an accomplishment that not so many decades ago could have been considered too dangerous to even dream of.

Creativity often eludes a specific definition. It can tie together ideas, imagination, and expectations with surprising and unexpected messages to make people feel at ease and intrinsically happy. It can also be leveraged to boost critical conscience by speaking a language nobody has heard before.

This may be our definition of creativity for the Gay Games 11 2022 in Hong Kong. We will translate the spirit of tenderness, cooperation, and fairness into images, colours and imagination, integrated into the courage, fun, and resourcefulness of a city that – for the first time ever in Asia – will officially celebrate our unity in diversity, revealing its real soul beyond sports, borders, and rainbows.

BETTY GRISONI

I first heard about Gay Games when I was living in San Fransisco and then when it was held in Sydney, Australia. I heard of the event’s by name and size but at the time I didn’t quite understand the major impact it has on a community. 

Volunteering for my community has been very important during my entire adult life and being a part of one of the world’s most recognisable and international LGBTQ+ event is truly an honour. The Gay Games 2022 will be held for the first time in Asia, my adopted home and I am humbled and excited to be part of this passing this  legacy of ‘participation, inclusion, and personal best’ to a new region and its youth. Our team is like a family that is growing everyday with amazing and diverse individuals. Individuals dedicated to bringing this positive event that has been breaking down prejudices since 1982.

I am originally from France and after travelling for a few years, I moved to Hong Kong in 2001 with my Singaporian partner. Besides a career in marketing and communications, a real passion for volunteering for the LGBTQ+ community prompted us to create a queer women organisation with which we ran monthly events for over 13 years. I am also the director of Hong Kong’s largest LGBTQ+ festival called Pink Dot. Sports never had a big place in my adult life, until last year when I realised the importance of ones’ physical and mental health and I began a weight loss journey. A year later and over 53kg lost and the discovery of swimming as an almost daily sport I brought together my new passion for sports and the LGBTQ+ community, perfect for my responsibilities and commitments to the Gay Games Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is now my home and I love this amazing place dearly. It is an amazing place with the perfect blend of old and new. A unique place with a great history including a fairly young but eventful LGBTQ+ history. 

CHARLZ TREVOR NG

I saw Dennis (Co-chair) posting about it online back in 2016 looking for help to curate the bid book. I was immediately drawn to it given its reputation of the world’s biggest LGBTQ Sports and Cultural event, and after hearing how events like this can help to encourage more people to be their true self I decided to reach out to Dennis, Co Chair Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 to offer my support. 

A part of me has always wanted to do something to help but didn’t know where to start, until I heard about the Gay Games. That’s when I thought…”this is the time to make an impact.” 

My background comes from events, from attending to organising, I have always loved bringing people together and delivering quality experiences. However, Hong Kong doesn’t really have a lot of places, safe havens if you may, for our community to connect and find acceptance. When people gather, it’s usually about parties, glitter, sometimes drag queens.  These are all important parts of our community, but I felt there could be even more.

While these are great there isn’t a true means of inclusion between the allies and us. What resonates me the most is Gay Games’ core principles: “Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best™”, it brings together people from all over the world, with diversity, respect, equality, solidarity, and sharing. Hong Kong is one of the most diverse cities in the world but we lack communities, initiatives, and resources to promote and penetrate LGBTQ equality across the city. There I thought, if we win the bid as the next host city, this will be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where I can apply what I do best to create that impact I have always wanted to create. There are literally no reasons why I should NOT join the team. I want to share my story, tell people what my identity means to me, and let those who are struggling to know that they are not alone. It is the first step to changing the hearts and minds of those not yet on board with LGBTQ acceptance.

I co-founded an event and marketing agency named Hybrid Group with focus in the fitness and wellness space. We organise a few events such as IRIS: Your Escape which is a local Fitness & Wellness Festival, and Spartan Race, an obstacle course challenge. Both events together attract 60,000 attendees in total and take place twice a year. We also help other companies to create both online and offline marketing campaigns. On the side, I have a boutique gym in Sheung Wan called House Of Fitness which I train 2-3 times a week there, and I have started practicing yoga as my new year’s resolution (in 2020) and have been going on average 3-4 times a week.

What excites me about Hong Kong is the eagerness to change and to become better is almost a life-goal for everyone here. The citizens will get behind you if you are promoting something worthwhile, and I am most excited for how the Games will only mark the beginning of the largest LGBTQ revolution in the history of this urban jungle.

SHAWN GRIFFIN

I was initially asked if I was interested in joining the team by a former colleague who was already involved with the Games. I was first brought on to Gay Games as a photographer during their initial bid in Paris. I stayed on ever since and assumed various roles as photographer, social media content creator, and Arts & Culture Performance curator before taking on my current role.

I joined the Gay Games in the Arts & Culture role to promote worldwide exposure of young creators in Hong Kong and Asia to a larger audience. Working in Hong Kong’s art scene for the past 7 years has introduced me to the immense talent and wealth of creativity in the region by young artists and LGBT artists who are frequently underrepresented. Gay Games 11 Hong Kong provides a safe, highly visible, and accepting platform for these young LGBT visions to be expressed and I am very excited to be a part of its facilitation.

I live in North Point, which is considered the “old side” of the island. I initially moved to Hong Kong to pursue my MFA in photography and ended up staying on as a permanent resident after graduating. I currently run my own creative services company which puts me in various roles as a photographer, video producer, and copywriter. I am also active in the Hong Kong arts scene and a member of the Hong Kong Arts Collective, contributing to the gallery exhibitions and participating in performances around the city. I am not really involved in team sports, but I remain an active weightlifter and try to keep up with a daily 5k run.

The energy of the city and the attitude of the local residents excites me in Hong Kong. It has a very unique vibe that was instrumental in my artistic inspiration and living in the city is like living in an art piece. The generosity, open-mindedness, and colourful heritage of the city has captivated me for nearly a decade and I am very excited to be a part of bringing The Gay Games to Asia’s World city.

JOHN COLLINGWOOD-SMITH

From an early age theatre and the arts have played a central role in my life, I’ve always felt privileged to be part of a community that connected me with people from all walks of life and backgrounds.  

Making new friends and connections is important for us all and, from the outset, the passion and enthusiasm of the team pulling together Gay Games Hong Kong has been inspirational.

I’m thrilled to be part of this exciting program which has led me to an empathetic revelation for each person’s life story. I feel confident the plans, values and vision for the games will bring participants to a place where they can be heard and recognised.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies provide the perfect platform to shape stories that will resonate and play a role in the bigger picture for the future.

Hong Kong is excited to welcome the LGBT World Community to our city and our promise is to deliver a Gay Games experience that will continue to have a positive and uplifting influence in your life long after you return home.

JACKIE VIEROW

Having started as a Project Lead for the sports sector, my role has expanded to include the wider organisation. 

I have always been passionate about sports and when I found out that Hong Kong had won the bid, I immediately looked for ways I could get involved. The Gay Games provides such an inclusive and accepting environment, which will be hugely beneficial to the people of Hong Kong. 

Sports have an amazing ability to foster a sense of community and provide role models who empower others to find their voice. I hope to be a part of this empowerment by helping to increase awareness and participation across Hong Kong.

I have always been extremely enthusiastic when it comes to sports, as I jump at the opportunity to try anything new. In my 10 years in Hong Kong I have enjoyed cycling, running, swimming, triathlon, softball, rock climbing, badminton, tennis, basketball, sailing, and golf. Hong Kong may be known for its densely populated city, but sports enable people to experience the beautiful nature that Hong Kong also has on offer. 

There are few places in the world where you can enjoy the city, mountains, and ocean almost all at once. You can wake up and take a dip in the ocean before work and enjoy a mountain trail hike on the way home to your apartment in the middle of the city! On top of that, Hong Kong is rich in culture with an incredible food scene that includes local street food all the way through to elevated cuisine from all over the world.  

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GREG MORLEY

I joined the GGHK team in 2018 and have the pleasure of working with this great group of people to attract, onboard and motivate a great team that will deliver a once in a lifetime event for the people of Hong Kong and Asia.

My husband and I travelled to Paris to participate in Gay Games.  We had lived in Paris and returning there is always special to us.  Participating in Gay Games in Paris was and incredible experience from travelling with friends, to entering the stadium to the closing party, it was a week filled with amazing moments. 

I met several people from Mainland China at Paris Gay Games. It was the first big gay/inclusion event they had ever joined. I was touched by how much it positively impacted their view of the gay world and of the positive life they could live being gay. I had to be part of sharing that kind of experience with people across Asia.

I moved to Hong Kong 15 years ago.  With my husband and our dog, we love hiking, yoga (sometimes with the dog) and gym sports.  Shawn swims competitively. 

 Hong Kong is dynamic, fast paced and cosmopolitan, accessible to the rest of the world.  It is also a village of 7 million. I have never felt more at home anywhere, seeing people every day on the streets whom I know.  It is home.

DAVID VOWLES

Hi, my name is Dave, and I will be leading the Customer Service Experience Team for Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022. My Team is responsible for taking care of all the participants attending the games and ensuring that everyone has the best and most positive experience at GGHK.

I have been a member of ‘Out in Hong Kong’ for many years and followed Dennis and the teams bid for the 2022 Gay Games. It was an inspiring day for everyone involved winning the bid for Hong Kong to be the next host city.

I am from Alderney, Channel Islands, in the UK, but proud to call Hong Kong my home for over 20 years. Hong Kong is a fantastic city that has transformed my life beyond expectations from the people and friendships I have made to the opportunities the city has offered me. I have lived here most of my adult life and ‘came out’ in Hong Kong, which was a terrifying time for me, but everyone from the LGBTQ community was so kind and supportive to me, which I will never forget, so it’s now my time to give back.

After meeting up with Dennis over a few cups of coffee and expressing how I’d like to volunteer and be a part of such a fantastic event, I am now privileged to lead the customer service experience team. Providing excellent customer service is very close to my heart, something I learned from my aviation career. The personal stories people shared with me from the Paris games were so touching, my goal with the customer service experience team is to work hard for our participants to give them the best Gay Games yet!

I am so excited to share my home, Hong Kong, with all the visitors that will attend the games and hope that through small changes, we can make a positive, long-lasting impact for the LGBTQ community in Hong Kong and Asia.

After a 27-year career in aviation, I am taking a break and dedicating my time to support the Gay Games. When I am not doing that, I love being outdoors and adventure travel. Last year I completed an expedition to Antarctica and trekked to Everest Base Camp, and I am currently planning a journey to the North Pole in June 2021. I plan to enter the 10k run in the games, I have completed one marathon and several 10k races. When I am not doing that, you will find me at home playing my cello.

Hong Kong always excites me because it is a fantastic melting pot of East meets West cultures. I love the people with their ‘can-do’ attitude towards everything, the compactness, and efficiency the city offers. Where in the World can you go from the Financial CBD to blue water beaches in less than 45 mins? Hong Kong is a sensory overload of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that will touch everyone’s heart who visits her.

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DAVID WONG

I was approached to join the Hong Kong bid team in summer 2016. I hadn’t heard of the Gay Games until then and it seemed such a wonderful opportunity to be involved with.

So I was asked to help on the bid submission, this was a 300 page document simply saying how amazing Hong Kong is, how we could bring change to so many people, and of course, how we could host such a world class event, the first time in Asia. Since then, the team has always been busy, winning the bid, “Taking the Flag” from the last games in Paris and now all the plans to make the Hong Kong games the best ever.

I also help with another NGO with their events. It’s a contrast to the corporate world of my previous jobs and rewarding in many different ways. On the sports side, I get to put my running shoes back on and in the Paris Gay Games competed in the running events.

Hong Kong is full of energy. It’s a 24-hour city that’s always on the go. There’s also the abundance of greenery, beaches and hiking routes to perfectly balance the intensity of the neon and hustle bustle. On the same lines, there’s the mix of sky scrappers with the tiny temples tucked in between, the mix of East and West, all making Hong Kong a kaleidoscope of facets.

WILLEM HOEKSTRA

I enjoyed participating in the Amsterdam and Sydney Games, and I am very happy to be able to be part of the team bringing the 11th edition of the Games to Asia for the first time in history.

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LISA LAM

I learned about the Gay Games from my friend, who is a HR recruiter.

The Gay Games is a great cause, if only one individual would feel inspired by what the Games stands for, it’s all worth it.  I have always been interested in skills-based volunteerism, so it seems logical for me to say “yes” when they asked me to join the team as their legal counsel.

I spend about ⅓ of my time on my legal consulting business, ⅓ of my time on various “self-improvement” matters (e.g. exercise, taking courses and volunteering, etc), and ⅓ of my time just “whiling away” (e.g. mostly on traveling or hanging out with friends, etc).

I have not been a very active person, but I enjoy swimming (open waters) and hiking with my dogs.

Hong Kong is my home. I love the city because it’s full of contrast, it’s resilient and… it has lots of great food! Without Hong Kong, I would not have become the person I am today.

CHRISTOF WITTIG

My job is to work with partners, from top tier brands to grass root supporters, to help them achieve their goals while raising the funds and value-in-kind contributions required to make the Games possible, for everyone, with little or no regard to the financial means of the participant.  Find out how you can help at Ways To Support!

I have been a participant of the Gay Games 10 in Paris 2018 in triathlon, half marathon and 10K.  I have seen first hand, how important it is to show visibility in large numbers to foster our values of Participation, Inclusion and Diversity, and what an important role sports and this huge event can play to achieve this.

I volunteer for the Gay Games 11 to further goals that I work on in various roles.  I believe in building communities, which protect and nurture vulnerable communities.  Participatory sports can play a big role, but I also believe in technology.

In my daytime role I am the founder and CEO of Hornet Networks, a Gay Social Network with 25 million users worldwide.  While Hornet is a different platform and a different medium, it has exactly the same goals: building communities, which protect and nurture vulnerable communities.

I can combine my work, which is often remote or includes a lot of travel around the globe, with endurance sports.  I am many times marathon finisher (with all World 6 Majors), a three times AIDS/LifeCycle rider and fundraiser (riding 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to END AIDS), a three times 70.3 Ironman, and recently picked up one of Hong Kong’s unique sports: Trail running, when completing my first UT at the Lantau 70 in fall 2019.

Hong Kong has a lot of energy, a fascinating if not always easy mix between East and West, and the unique co-existence of the most breathtaking vertical high rises with some of the most untouched seaside landscapes, best explored in trail running with good friends, often after nightfall.

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NIGEL LEE

While hiking with out in Hong Kong I was chatting to Co-Chair Dennis who told me about the Gay Games in Amsterdam and his idea to bring the games to Hong Kong and Asia for the first time.

I joined early-on as part of the bid team.  I started wanting to help out some friends, but GGHK team is now my second family and the biggest passion in my life.  I have seen the gay games change peoples lives and make them happier and more fulfilled. I want to share this opportunity with as many people as possible in HK

Sadly my work brought me back to the UK but I am still working with the GGHK team from here.  Helping with outreach events in London, working with the FGG and working on insurance needs for the event. 

My day job is as Operations and Compliance Director for an insurance business.  I swim before work and run at weekends. I am running a 10k each year up to 2022 with the aim of raising HK$10k per year for the GGHK Scholarship fund.

I loved living in HK for 5 years – walking to work, the gym and the forest to walk my dog while the beach was only 20 minutes away.  Mix of wonderful people, foods and culture. A must see place to visit on everyone’s bucket list. I want to make HK my home again one day soon.

Join Us!

You can read more about joining the GGHK Team by visiting our Vacancies page.

GAY GAMES 11 HONG KONG 2022

#GGHK #UNITYINDIVERSITY

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