Belinda’s passion for marketing and consulting led her to leave the corporate world and do her own thing.

What’s your story?
Born and raised in a small village in Austria, I always knew that I belong in a bustling city and in the past 12 years I have lived and worked in Spain, Philippines, Australia and now Hong Kong for the second time.

After working in marketing and consulting across many sectors around the world, I decided last year to leave the corporate world and “do my own thing” and started Springboard Group – a marketing and consulting agency based in Hong Kong. I also started a second company called NextGen Network, which is a non-profit mentoring network for high school and university students.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s ever changing and there’s never a dull moment. Marketing can be complex but yet so simple and it allows me to let my creativity flow. There’s something special about creating a brand – from starting with a name to creating a whole identity including website and logo!

Consulting gives me the opportunity to help bring my clients closer to new innovations. It excites me to see projects flourish by combining the right strategy with effective execution and innovative tools. I love to facilitate startup and innovation bootcamps as it also takes people out of their comfort zone.

What’s your connection to Asia?
My mother is from Hong Kong and during my Bachelor’s degree, I spent a semester studying at Hong Kong University, which is when I fell in love with the city. After my degree, I worked and lived in Austria, the Philippines and Australia, but finally ended up back in Hong Kong because I missed the vibrant city life.
I feel connected to Asia not only because I love the food and I speak fluent Cantonese, but also because I’m drawn towards this certain element of chaos that you can find in Asian cities.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hands down, Hong Kong! After a while, it feels like a small village and it won’t take you long to meet the key stakeholders and to “get things done”. Hong Kong is where East meets West and there’s a reason why it’s referred to as the New York of Asia. It’s also next door to Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley, so it’s also very relevant for the IT and manufacturing industry.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Who inspires you?
Activists – people who are not afraid to speak their mind and are trying to actively change the current status quo. Apart from my personal network, I get inspired by random encounters in so many ways – people and their stories fascinate me.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
To avoid the comparison trap: we are used to looking at successful people and only seeing the great things they have achieved but we don’t see the struggles and the rocky road that led to this success so at one point I just stopped to compare myself to others.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have strived to learn more in my younger years. When you’re young and at school, you think you have all the time in the world and you only realize as you grow older how you took time for granted.

How do you unwind?
I love to cook. It really helps me relax and it means I also get amazing food! And Muay Thai is a great relief for any stress and tensions.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Remote islands in the Philippines; as the beaches are breathtaking, the dives are great and the internet connection is terrible so it forces you to relax and have a digital detox.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Apart from the usual suspects I recommend “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.

Shameless plug for your business:
Springboard Group is a full-service integrated marketing and consulting agency bridging traditional and millennial thinking to drive new and innovative approaches. We help clients find the right combination of strategy and tactics including branding, digital, media relations, creative, content and social outreach – from startup to corporate, through the critical milestones or events. From universities to businesses to non-profit organizations, we create tailor-made and purpose-built workshops on marketing, innovation, startups, and women’s empowerment.

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/esterhammer
Website: www.springboard.group
Instagram: www.instagram.com/belindaesterhammer and www.instagram.com/dimsumjungle

Twitter handle?
Not a religious Twitter user but you can follow my Instagram’s www.instagram.com/belindaesterhammer and www.instagram.com/dimsumjungle

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com