Millionaire Mentor: George Ross, Trump Organisation, The Apprentice Judge

How To Transition from Law To Business

So I had the pleasure of interviewing George Ross, Donald Trump’s Right Hand Man and Chief Legal Counsel of the Trump Organisation (for 42 years!).

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He was also a judge on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. Yeah, he’s the guy on the left.

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I can’t imagine how much experience he has, but I thought I’d take the chance to find out his thoughts on transitioning from law to business.

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To all my lawyer friends, don’t say don’t have!

To be honest, he doesn’t say anything groundbreaking, but it’s good to know you’re on the right track if you’re doing what he says you should since he’s done it before.

First steps to transitioning from law to business

Overcoming the fear or apprehension in transitioning from law to business

 

 

 

2017

The Year of Change

 

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Being an entrepreneur is not just about what a person does for a living. It is a mindset and a way of thinking – an approach to life.

And sometimes, while you’re figuring things out, you have to make certain changes to fulfil existing responsibilities because life doesn’t stop.

So this year, I’ve decided to close the door on the health supplement and skin care business that I’ve been in for the past 6 years because a change is long overdue.

I’m getting a job while my entrepreneurial activities take a back seat – for now. The thing about being an entrepreneur is this: your mind never really switches off from it. There are always enterprising ideas and questions you ask yourself when you look at different businesses, like “Is this shop really making money selling just this? I wonder what their margins are? This bubble tea thing is not going away!”

I feel like the past 6 years of my life have been a kind of baptism in business by fire. As a lawyer, your knowledge about business is limited, even if you are a corporate lawyer. Your job is to protect your client’s interests, and to document, document and document.

As a business person, your job is profitability. It doesn’t look like a big word, but in many businesses, it can be illusive, even with huge revenues. You can come up with the most creative ideas, but if your numbers still say you’re in the red after your best perceived marketing efforts, then you have failed.

And yes, it can be extremely brutal.

But this is how you become resilient. And this resilience in business, somehow is transferrable to other areas of life.

While I am focusing on getting a job, I’m still doing the things I like to do like spending time with my family, my new Treaterrific! lifestyle hobby business, contributing to women’s empowerment and volunteering where I can (because everyone needs hobbies!).

I’m keeping my inner circle tight and kicking out the trash.

2017 for me, is about change.

Because how we change is how we succeed.

 

Mr. Lim Siong Guan, Former Group President of Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC)

Interview with an Industry Rockstar

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If you have ever Mr. Lim Siong Guan, you’d be staggered by his *amazing* CV. Click here for his wikipedia page. I got to interview this figurative giant of a man during one of our Intelligent Millionaire Network meetings and I have to say he didn’t disappoint.

It was great to hear insights from someone who used to work closely with the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and to see the world from his perspective, given his vast experience as the top man in verybigcorporations.

Here are 3 videos, enjoy!

Video 1: How To Manage Energy & Overcoming Biggest Challenges

 

Video 2: Quick Tips on How to 1) Establish Rapport with People 2) Quickly Gain Insights on Where an Organisation is and 3) Implement Changes

 

Video 3: Keys to Success for Business and Personal Development

Kids: Kaius & McDonald’s 

Me: OK kids, nap time! Go lie down and I’ll go get my book. 

Kaius: You mean your McDonald’s book? 

Me: (amused) How did you know it’s a McDonald’s book? 

Kaius: Because I saw the McDonald’s sign and I was reading it just now. 

Wow. My son is a lot more observant than I give him credit for and he’s growing up fast. 

How can I not fight to be a good example for him? 

Kaius with Grinding It Out. The Making of McDonald’s by American businessman Ray Kroc. He was responsible for making McDonald’s into the world’s most iconic fast-food brand. 

I Scored 207 for PSLE; I Still Became a Lawyer.

You decide your future.

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I’ll never forget the day I went to collect my PSLE* results.

I walked up to my form teacher nervously. She looked at me with disappointment, shook her head and said,”You could have done so much better.”

Those words burned into my head.

(This is the same teacher who did nothing but tell my whole class that we girls were “so complacent and so conceited” throughout the year. Maybe we were, maybe we weren’t, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the right way to motivate a bunch of 12 year old girls. But I digress…)

Of course, there was the mass comparisons of PSLE results happening around the school hall, but not on a scale as large as now, what with the availability of social media.

I remembered feeling upset, thinking I was stupid.

And I felt worth less.

I carried these feelings with me for a long time. Always an invisible barrier to the success that I wanted.

Ok, let me first take responsibility for my results first. Did I study hard? No, I’ll be the first to admit. But I was busy enjoying my childhood. I was busy playing, learning, asking questions and laughing.

I had a happy childhood.

But my point is – it didn’t matter that I was doing so well in other areas. I was netball captain. I was a school prefect. I did all sorts of creative stuff like putting up the P6 concert and participating in our 150th anniversary concert.

All it came down to was 3 numbers at the end of my primary school endeavours.

I was placed in Express stream in St. Margaret’s Secondary School. Went to Nanyang Polytechnic to get my business diploma. Went to Curtin University and obtained my business degree with distinction. Then completed my education with a law degree from NUS. And finally, got called to the Singapore Bar.

I managed to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer with sheer determination and my family’s support.

I am married to a wonderful man, and we have 3 beautiful children.

Standing where I am now, I really feel for the kids who are considered “low PSLE scorers” and labeled as such. I feel their own disappointment at their results, and even worse, their parents’ disappointment at their results.

As a kid, the worst thing to me was to disappoint my parents. (I actually don’t remember my parents saying anything, they probably felt sad with me. But I remember my grandmother’s disappointment.)

 

Why do we need to place kids in boxes and categorise them as “high achievers” and “low achievers” at such a young age?

Isn’t it more important to ignite curiosity in a child and to let him/her discover who they are and what they are good at? Isn’t it more important to equip children with the right tools to survive and thrive, which includes a strong sense of self-worth and self-confidence? Isn’t it more important to let the child know that he/she is loved completely whether they do well or badly in school?

Instead of crushing their confidence and dreams so early on and allowing them to think they are not as smart or as good as someone who did better than them when that is complete and utter bullshit.

My children are all under 5 years old at the moment. And I am dreading putting them through the local primary school system because it might not develop all my children to their fullest potentials. They are all different. Some might thrive under this system, some might not.

Don’t get me wrong, as a type A personality, I am all for the spirit of competition and doing well and I encourage it.

But not at the expense of my kid’s self belief in his/her own abilities because I have learnt without self-belief and confidence, there is nothing.

*For my non-Singaporean friends, PSLE stands for “Primary School Leaving Examination”. It’s a huge exam which streams kids into different categories for Secondary School/High School at 12 years old. And their academic talents are nurtured accordingly from then on.

GIRL TALK: Penny Low, Founder, Social Innovation Park

Why CSR and Social Innovation is Everyone’s Business

So in September, I attended the CSR and the Social Innovators Forum.

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I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised when I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Penny Low, founder of Social Innovation Park, an impartial, not-for-profit organisation based in Singapore that incubates social entrepreneurs worldwide to bring positive innovations to lives and societies.

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Excerpt taken from Social Innovation Park’s book Top 50 Social Innovations Changing Our World.

Of course, the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, lent some star power mega star power to the event.

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I had never thought about Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation prior to this, despite being in business for the past 5 years. Mainly because I had always had the impression of it being something that only applied to large corporates because of the extent of their influence.

But, at this forum, I learnt quite the opposite. CSR and Social Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. And to make any significant kind of change, efforts have to be made from the “ground up”. This means the responsibility is yours and mine.

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CSR and Social Innovation can be as simple as participating in Food Bank initiatives.
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Like this Food Bank Project X-pired –  Converting Food into Fashion!
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Me and Penny

Find out more about the inspiration behind Social Innovation Park and what entrepreneurs can do to contribute to this cause, watch my interview with Penny here:

Date Night: Of Art, Dinner & Great Company

At the National Gallery Singapore Gala 2016

Instead of the usual dinner and a movie, date night this week was at the National Gallery Singapore Gala, thanks to our friends Jean & Pauline. It was such a lovely tour of the National Gallery.

This year’s Gala was held during the opening of the opening of Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies which marks an important collaboration between the Gallery and Tate Britain.

We were invited to a private viewing of the Exhibition and all funds raised for the Gala would be going towards enabling the Gallery to deepen their curatorial research, as well as grow, preserve and present their collection to the world. It also funds community and education programmes that inspire audiences of all ages.

Besides the wining and dining, there was a live auction and a silent auction as well. I believe they managed to raise over $1million that night.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take as many photos as I would have liked because I was minding my gown whenever I walked.

But I felt so pampered the entire evening – perfect for date night! Right from the time we pulled up in front of the National Gallery where the valets took over our car and we walked up the stairs (so New York!), disappearing into the one of my favourite buildings in Singapore, taking photos at the entrance…

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Arrival at the gala

and we went up more stairs and breezed through the exhibits, arriving here for cocktails…

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..taking wefies with the beautiful background..

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Minister Grace Fu was the Guest Of Honour. 
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The gala was presented by Vacheron Constantin

 

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Weihong with  Jean Nasr, Managing Director of Mouawad Singapore

..and of course meeting up with our gracious hosts for the night, Pauline Chan and Jean Nasr…

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Our lovely company for the night

…to dinner with great people…

….To the end of the night where we were whisked away to another room in the National Gallery and exquisitely spoiled by a dessert table that offered turkish delight, giant trifles (one had coffee jelly in it instead of the typical jam jelly – so good!), berries, cakes, and gorgeously coloured meringues…

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And this wasn’t even the biggest trifle bowl!

AND a cheese table. Any kind of cheese you could imagine, it was there!

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Mmmm cheese!

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What a night!

This was a great way to spend a Friday night – with the husband, good food, great company and a worthy cause!

GIRL TALK: Andrea DeCruz

Celebrity, TV Presenter, Actress, Businesswoman and Co-Founder of Galboss Asia

Meeting Andrea DeCruz is like meeting celebrity royalty.

gba1There, I said it.

It’s true though. I mean, I’ve seen her on TV since I was a teenager. And I do recall she was one of the most popular actresses at the time.

So of course I was quite excited to meet her in person – she is so easy to talk to! She’s also always smiling, welcoming questions and very kindly obliged when I asked her for an interview at Galboss Asia.

Having moved on from her acting pursuits, Andrea now owns CINQ Studio at Scotts Square and is a Co-Founder of Galboss Asia.

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In this interview, I ask her about:

  1. Her inspiration behind Galboss Asia; and
  2. What were her biggest business challenges and what she did to overcome them.

It really is a privilege to meet people like Andrea and learn from her. Besides her acting and business career, I think it’s amazing how she pulled through from her liver transplant operation all those years ago.* I suppose to me, it also made her more real.

By the way, a friend of mine will be undergoing the same operation to give her dad part of her liver for his liver transplant, and Andrea and her husband, Pierre, very kindly spent some time with them, sharing their experience.  I thought that was really great of them!

*For my friends who are not in the know, Andrea needed a liver transplant about 13 years ago and her then-fiancé now-husband, gave her part of his liver. It was the most romantic story ever to rock the headlines in Singapore for sure. 

Supermamapreneur Sighting: Tjin Lee, Award Winning Mercury Group of Companies

Serial Entrepreneur, Wife & Mother.

So I met Tjin at Crib Society‘s Meet & Greet. I joined CRIB because I heard about it at Galboss Asia when Tjin was sharing on a panel. (I tell ya, Galboss Asia is like a gift that keeps on giving!)

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Us at Trehaus, a Co-Working space with child minding facilities in the heart of town. Yeah, one of Tjin’s businesses too.

She has 9 businesses, founded Audi Fashion Festival, Singapore Fashion Week and CRIB (amongst other things), and is married with 2 sons. She founded her first business in 2000 (Mercury Group of companies) and built it up to what it is today. Tjin is also the winner of the inaugural Singapore Tatler Young Achiever Leadership Award 2010.

I love that I’m constantly meeting all these great women, and particularly those that are supermamapreneurs in their own right. I have so much to learn!

Being an entrepreneur can be downright brutal at times. Or most times. And it’s really important to be surrounded by the best if I want to be the best. It’s not just about having the mindset of successful entrepreneurs, but also the support that is crucial to raising businesses. (And babies).

Women like Tjin show me that it is possible to have a vision, work your ass off for it and come out the other side, alive and thriving.

I’m really glad that there are more and more organisations and events that are about women empowering and supporting other women.

I’m excited to get to know all these very cool women better. And I’m even more excited by what is to come.