MentorMission – EVENT INVITE: Jamiyah’s 24th Exemplary Mother Award

Honouring Extraordinary Mothers with Awards, High Tea & Fashion.

As you might know, I have the privilege of being mentored by Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Holdings. A mentoring lunch turned into a mentoring afternoon because she brought us (me and another mentee, Amu) to a press conference at Jamiyah Singapore after lunch.

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From Left to Right: Amutha Saravanan COO of the Da Vinci Group, Our mentor and original Supermamapreneur, Claire Chiang, and me at Jamiyah Singapore.

This is where I learned about the Exemplary Mother Award (“EMA”) and the Award ceremony that will be held on 22 October 2016. This year’s award presentation ceremony and high tea also comes with a Charity Fashion Show.

Every year, the EMA Committee receives different inspiring stories from mothers of all walks of life, races and religions and who have contributed to the community. Claire was one of the judges. These mothers have been extraordinary in being a role model for their children, by nurturing them with strong moral values, persevere for a better life and education for their children. Their exemplary attitudes continue by going the extra mile to contribute their time and energy through involvement in career and community services, without compromising their parental roles at home.

Thus, this meaningful event promotes inter-faith and multi-racial bonding and enhancing reverence for mothers in general. It also places paramount importance on filial piety.

This year, there will also be a very special fashion show by 3 local designers, Adlina Anis, Kavita Thulasidas and Sylvia Lim, who will all use batik prints by Batik Master, Sarkasi Said, in their designs.

On a personal note, when I asked Claire how and why she is involved in so many community projects, she told me that she learned the need for support when she was very young.  She grew up on Race Course Road with the Malay and Indian community and her mother would often get her to bring food to their neighbours. And when her mother had a stroke when Claire was 17, her neighbours helped them out by buying food, for example.

This gotong-royong* concept of mutual help and reciprocity and the Kampong** spirit was how she grew up. I don’t think I’ve ever thought as much about the community around me until now.

Event Details: 

Date: 22 October 2016, Saturday

Time: 2.30pm to 5pm

Venue: Mandarin Orchard Hotel, Singapore

Ticket price: $100

Guest of Honour: President of Singapore, His Excellency Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam

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If you’re interested in giving back to the community and supporting this meaningful event or even if you’d just like to make a donation, please contact Nora at nora_r@jamiyah.org.sg or call 6743 1211.

*gotong-royong is a conception of sociality familiar to large parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. The phrase has been translated into English in many ways, most of which harken to the conception of reciprocity or mutual aid.

*Kampong means village in Bahasa Melayu.

Supermamapreneur Sighting: Claire Chiang, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Co-Founder

An original Supermamapreneur

When you meet Claire, you know right away that you’ve met a Woman of Substance.

And it’s not because of her many awards or that she is the better half of one of Singapore’s high profile power couples.

Claire possess what many people don’t: a fire-in-the-belly type of passion for what she believes in, a presence that will make you sit up and pay attention (you’ll know she has arrived when she walks into a room) and a contagious, fun energy – the kind of energy that only comes with being truly interested and wholehearted about what she is doing in and with her life.

Claire Chiang and Lise Chew

 

Google her and you’ll find countless articles on who she is and the things she has done.

Claire has been at the forefront of many things, like being the first woman on the Council of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry and helping AWARE set up their helpline.

She’s married. Has 3 kids. Was former Nominated Member of Parliament. Her World Magazine’s Woman Of The Year 1999. Amongst many other things. Business. She is by all counts an original Supermamapreneur.

One of her businesses is Banyan Tree Gallery, which retails art from indigenous artists and Asian botanical blends. The idea behind this business was to retail items to empower local communities and their trades. I thought this was an excellent idea, given their already established platform that is Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts.

I finally got to meet her at the Shirin Fozdar Programme Annual Lecture At The Frontlines of Change: Women Who Dared (By Dr. Noeleen Heyzer) last Friday. She invited all her mentees to this event and I must say it was thought provoking.

Claire speaks with conviction and it is clear she is an ambitious woman.

And when she pulled all 4 of her mentees in for a photograph with Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, she said to us, “You better be on stage in 15 years!” She’s even ambitious for us.

When I went up to her and introduced myself, she received me with a warmth and enthusiasm that I didn’t expect. And when I mentioned that my mother used to be her neighbour, and when she realised who it was, she started speaking to me in Hainanese like I was long lost family.

I am so very lucky to have her as my mentor and I’m looking forward to learning from her.

 

 

FabFriday: Dr Noeleen Heyzer – Women Who Dared

Social Scientist & Former UN Under Secretary-General.

I have taken many things in Singapore for granted.

And until last Friday, I wasn’t aware of the many things that were done for me by women who have gone before so that I didn’t have to fight for it.

Did you know polygamy for non-muslims was still legal in Singapore until 1961 when the Women’s Charter was passed? This meant that many women did not have fundamental rights prior to that. A lady named Shirin Fozdar was instrumental in pushing for such change in Singapore.

Before my mentor, Ms. Claire Chiang, invited me to attend the Inaugural Shirin Fozdar Programme Annual Lecture at the Singapore Management University, I had never heard of her. But now that I have, I wonder why they didn’t teach us about her in school!

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Ms. Claire Chiang giving her welcome address
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Q&A session moderated by SMU Provost Professor Lily Kong.
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From Left to Right: Ms. Claire Chiang, Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Professor Lily Kong and Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President of SMU.

The topic of the Annual Lecture was At The Frontlines of Change: Women Who Dared By Dr. Noeleen Heyzer. Dr. Hayzer is a Social Scientist and Former United Nations Under Secretary-General. She was the first woman

  • to serve as the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; and
  • from outside North America to head the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) becoming its longest serving Executive Director for 13 years.

Her lecture highlighted the contributions of well-known women leaders around the world like Hillary Clinton, who could possibly be shattering one big glass ceiling in November, and local ladies like war heroine, Elizabeth Choy, and issues of inequality that women still face in parts of the world today.

Dr Noeleen Heyzer and Lise Chew

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Me and Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts. He also sits on the Board of Trustees for SMU.
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Left to Right: Myself, war heroine Elizabeth Choy’s daughter, Bridget Choy, and some lovely ladies who went to St. Margaret’s too.

 

Claire Chiang and Lise Chew

Here are 3 points that resonated with me:

  1. “If you teach a woman to fish, she’ll not just learn how to fish, she will change the whole fishing industry.” – Dr. Noeleen Heyzer

  2. When asked what are the conditions we need to have in Singapore to have a female Prime Minister, Dr Heyzer said there need to be firstly more women on boards (only 9% in Singapore) and in Cabinet; and secondly, women will need the men to support them and push them into positions of power.
  3. For there to be any kind of sustainable change, everyone at all levels of society need to be stakeholders to push change forward. Whenever people use the word “stakeholders” I’m always a bit befuddled because why does it sound like a corporate governance lecture and nothing to do with me? But then I’ve realised that for anyone to truly care about anything, they need to have some skin in the game.

Hence. Thus. Therefore.

Psst…

Here’s what’s to come!

Y’know things happen in my life a lot faster than I can write. Plus, it was Birthday Week a few weeks ago, so I’ve been a little drunk on too much Moscato D’Asti. (I have not found a Champagne that I would drink over Moscato D’Asti. Though I do appreciate the different purpose of these 2 beverages. And yes the “D’Asti” is important. A moscato without “D’Asti” is N’Asti. And now I bet you won’t ever forget that I said this LOL.)

Anyway, here’s a summary of what I’ll be posting in the next few days, not necessarily in this order:

  1. Birthday FreakingAwesome Week
  2. Galboss Asia where I met and learned from the best. It was also held on my birthday so that was super! Look out for interviews with:
    1. Celebrity, actress, businesswoman and Co-Founder of Galboss Asia, Andrea De Cruz;
    2. Beauty industry disrupter, Skin Inc Global Founder and Co-Founder of Galboss Asia, Sabrina Tan; and
    3. Founder of iconic streetwear brand, 77th Street and serial entrepreneur, Elim Chew.
  3. My first Meet & Greet at CRIB with Co-founders Tjin Lee and Mei Chee
  4. Meeting up with Bandwagon Founder, Clarence Chan.

Stay tuned!

 

Breakfast With Billionaires – Sir Richard Branson

3 Lessons Learnt From The Ever Zany Billionaire Entrepreneur.

3 Lessons Learnt From The Ever Zany Billionaire Entrepreneur

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Lesson #1: Hiring & Managing Employees

When it comes to hiring, personality is so important. And sometimes having one or two people to be “a little bit off the wall” thrown into the mix would be highly beneficial.

He also believes in giving employees second chances. There was once an employee who was caught stealing records from one of his stores and he gave him a second chance. This employee turned out to be most loyal in the end and discovered Virgin’s most successful bands like Boy George, Culture Club and Genesis.

Lesson #2: Screw it, Just Do It!

Set yourself a seemingly impossible task and then strive to get there. If you just tumble along day after day, it may be good but not much fun. Set yourself new challenges to try and overcome.

Lesson #3: Life is More Fun When You Say, “Yes!” Than If You Say,”No.”

Richard has a big fear of saying no and regretting it later. He’s never regretted saying yes even when there are times he’s fallen flat on his face. Cue the bet he lost with Air Asia boss Tony Fernandez and had to dress up as a stewardess on Air Asia’s charity flight.

Manic (Mentor) Monday

Claire Chiang, Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

OMG.

I woke up to exciting news today!

Claire Chiang, Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is going to be my Mentor!

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I recently became a member of the Young Women’s Leadership Connection (“YWLC“) because I wanted to be connected to a network of women who want to make a difference and who are about something.

YWLC is committed to connecting, nurturing, and empowering young women leaders between the ages of 21 and 35 with the aptitude and attitude to lead and serve. (If you’re 35 when you join, you’ll still be able to be a member until you’re 40).

Besides their many awesome events (I got to see Annie Leibovitz live because of them! Read my post here.), they run a yearly prestigious Mentorship Programme where their members get the chance to be mentored by power women in Singapore. For example, Senior Ministers of State like Indranee Rajah and Josephine Teo, Managing Director of UBS Wealth Management Singapore, Christine Ong, Managing Director of IBM Singapore, Janet Ang, and of course entrepreneurs like Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President of Banyan Tree Holdings. The Mentor list goes on.

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Picture Credit: Banyan Tree

The Importance of Mentors

I’m a firm believer that the right mentors are important to help you get to where you want to go. Mentors who have achieved what you want to achieve and who can save you from costly mistakes before you make them. In short, because of their experience, the right mentors provide valuable shortcuts to your success.

The Importance of Someone Like Claire Chiang

As an entrepreneur, I meet and hear about a lot of big businessmen who are really successful, and they have happy families also. But right away I can’t help but think – BIG DEAL, because these businessmen weren’t the ones raising their families. More often than not, it’s because they had a wife who didn’t need to work who was at home looking after everything there.

And in terms of balancing raising a business and a family from a woman’s point of view, what these businessmen could teach me was limited. I don’t have a wife at home to raise my family. I am the wife. And so is Claire Chiang. She has a husband, 3 kids and a super successful business so she’s really someone I want to emulate. She’s an original Supermamapreneur!

I can’t wait to start learning from her. I’m beyond thrilled! Can you tell?

On a side note, I told my mother about getting Claire Chiang as a Mentor and apparently my mother knows her. They used to be neighbours and Claire Chiang is Hainanese also (I’m half!) and my mother used to play on their piano before they got their own.

OMG. This. shit. just. got. serious.

MUC Lunchtime Lessons: Rayney Wong

3 Top Business Principles To Survive & Thrive

The Millionaire Underdog Club (“MUC”)
(Singapore) had the pleasure of hosting lawyer and savvy property investor Rayney Wong.

Besides really sharp international property investing insights, it was also highly informative and thought-provoking from a business point of view.

I learned so many things and here are the 3 top business principles that stood out for me and they centre around survival:

1. The importance of not accepting failure as the final state of things. Resilience and tenacity are difficult lessons to learn but are extremely important.

When Rayney first started his own legal practice he did not have much experience and it was extremely challenging. What ultimately enabled him to succeed was his refusal to accept failure.

2. Any business is tough and competitive – succeeding just depends on what you are prepared to do to ensure the business succeeds.

Deciding that he was not going to fail, he built his business from the ground up by visiting the hospitals to get personal injury clients and also found a way to add value for these clients. His business grew from there.

3. Evolve, find your niche and dominate.

Rayney mentioned they recently had to change the way they did business because of how competitive the legal industry is. Now they only take specific type of cases at his law firm because it provides better profit margin.

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Learning about property investing & business

As a young lawyer, I never thought about the business side of running a profitable law firm because I was more concerned about how to be a good lawyer. All I needed to do was my boss’ bidding.

But it’s necessary for every lawyer to learn about business eventually – whether it is to add value to their clients and/or run a successful legal practice.

It was really interesting for me to have a glimpse of what it is like for a senior partner in a law firm. Besides being an accomplished excellent lawyer so that you can attract the right clients and command and justify your higher per hourly rate (usually at least $800/hour and up), you’d also need to be competent in business to make the practice profitable.

I wonder – where do these lawyers get their business education from and is it enough?

That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed myself during this lunch just listening to Rayney talk. His network is really incredible and in my opinion, something to aspire to – I mean, how many people can say they felt a little embarrassed telling some people in their network that they made $200,000 on 1 property deal, because these people just made millions on their own property deal? And how many people have access to a network of people who are able to invest $50 million in a deal and call it a “small sum”?

Well, I’m one step closer to that now because Rayney’s now part of my network too.

😉