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Cat Williams-Treloar, CEO and Founder of Humanisation

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Cat Williams is injecting humanity into brands and businesses through her marketing business, Humanisation.

What’s your story?
I’m Cat Williams-Treloar, CEO and Founder of Humanisation.
Before starting Humanisation, I worked in senior insight, strategy and marketing roles around the globe.
My first passion was as a researcher. I spent hours spotting trends and understanding behaviours using quantitative and qualitative techniques ranging from ethnographics to user testing, to leading a network of 40 trend hunters globally. Along the journey, data became cool so I took the opportunity to start applying our insights for brands and I started experimenting with customer journeys, technology and ways to change customer behaviour. I’ve been doing this as a marketer ever since.

What excites you most about your industry?
As marketers, we’ve always been builders of brands and now we are builders of growth. We are beginning to recognise that marketers can come from diverse disciplines and backgrounds and that all of our skills are valuable.
Likewise, we are just finding our voice as customers. We know more than ever, we can discover what we need and buy it when we want. We are are now relearning that consumers are people.
Today, we have so much knowledge about behaviours and what real humans want. I am excited about the potential to truly build human-centric businesses.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up in Australia and started working across the region as a researcher helping Australian brands launch into Asia. The move to Singapore came about after working on a project in Pakistan and meeting in Singapore to present the recommendation. I adored the place when I first visited and was lucky enough to be transferred from London. My grandmother also spent time in Singapore as a child, so it holds a special place for our family.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Ambition, drive and openness to the region. When you live in a smart nation, it keeps you on your toes.
I also love doing business in Hong Kong for the pace, Ho Chi Minh because of the soul and Seoul for the innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Feedback is a gift.”
When you get feedback from a customer, a colleague or even a friend, it’s because someone cares. The more feedback you can elicit from customers, the more you will grow.
I feel this is critical as a 21st Century marketer because we need to be the champions of feedback. We need to listen and inspire action. If we don’t champion the customer or people inside the business every single day, I don’t know what we are doing.

Who inspires you?
Both of my brothers, Chris and Peter inspire me. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I was the only one to hold a real “job” until I started Humanisation eighteen months ago. Chris founded Natural Solar in Australia and is breaking through every growth ceiling possible. My brother Peter has just started a new wellness business and is about to revolutionise health.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I saw a demo from Noveto – it’s a startup in Israel that beams sound from your device directly into your ears. No headphones. No wires. It spots where your eardrums are and sends the sound just to you. For example, let’s say you are on a webex or Zoom and in an open room – only you can hear the conversation. Or you are driving and you only want to hear the conversation, not the other passengers. Take a look at their latest demo video – they’ve been working on this for a number of years and when I saw the latest I watched it again and again because it’s just so incredible. Clever.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Remember the movie “Sliding Doors?” You can’t play the game, thinking that you missed out on Plan A. I don’t have any regrets.  The only thing I’d do differently is turn my mobile off on holidays. I was the first girl in high school to have a mobile at 14 – because no one else had one, the only people I could message was mum and dad to say I was getting on the train. I’ve been attached to that device for too long and I am glad I put it on silent over 15 years ago, but would have felt better if I turned it off on holidays.

How do you unwind?
I’ve been practicing mindfulness. I do Yin Yoga a couple of times a week and I am starting to meditate and practice being in the present. I think it’s so important to get sleep, clear your head and refresh in a chaotic, always-on world. It’s how I feel human. When that fails, my two mini schnauzers are also mood boosters.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
We got married in Bali. My husband comes from Adelaide and I’m from Sydney.  It was the perfect spot to celebrate. Balinese culture is incredible. It wraps you up like a big warm hug and my body completely relaxes as I exit the airport. I first visited Bali in 2000 and have been a regular ever since. Hearing the Gamelan music, getting a massage with the waves crashing and watching the sunset at La Lucciola is bliss. We’ve travelled across Bali and we find, as areas become more developed our holidays move out of the hustle and bustle to reconnect with the Bali we know.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Winning the Story Wars – Jonah Sachs. It’s about the importance of storytelling and how brands with a purpose can drive meaningful change.  My second answer is – write your own book. It doesn’t have to be one that you publish. Just keep a record of your feelings, observations, ideas and thoughts. Not only does it help to empty your head, it’s also something you can go back over to reflect or inspire.

Shameless plug for your business:
My business is called Humanisation. We’re a Marketing and Business Consultancy that helps brands launch, scale and transform. Our secret sauce is Human-Centered Marketing. Humanisation was born to uncover how businesses can be more commercially successful by putting humans first. We’re here to help inject humanity into brands and businesses. We partner with tech and digital brands as Asia-Pacific Marketing Consultants to help hunt for growth across the region anywhere from Australia to China to Indonesia and everywhere in between.

How can people connect with you?
Be human and say hello! My email is [email protected] or take a look at www.Humanisation.com.
You can also reach out via LinkedIn too here – https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherinewilliamstreloar/

Twitter handle?
@Cat_Williams

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

Callum Connects

Norman Tien, Founder of Neuromath and Early Math Matters

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From a young age, Norman Tien, found his passion helping students as a math tutor and went on to translate that into a successful business.

What’s your story?
From the age of 14, I knew I would be in business for myself and started designing my company logo.

Growing up in a poor family, I worked part time while I was in school. That’s when I started tutoring and realised I had a gift to help students “see” mathematics. I delivered good results, and my students started to love math as well.

A turning point was when I was down with dengue fever and I realised I had to grow my business to the next level. I started a learning centre and that was the beginning of Neuromath. The initial years were tough as costs went up while my personal income took a dive. I almost gave up, but I pushed through.

Today, we have 3 specialty math enrichment centres managed and delivered by my dedicated team of teachers.

What excites you most about your industry?
“How to win” has always influenced how I position myself in the industry. I researched the psychology of learning, why some students are so naturally good at math, while others struggled. I managed to find the connection, and have always sought out niches to position myself so I can win.

In the beginning, I fused academic delivery with psychology to differentiate my services. Now I have a good team of teachers fully equipped with a psychological skillset.

In the next evolution of our business, we will incorporate technology into education in order to customise each student’s learning experience based on his or her needs.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and educated in Singapore. One key driver why I started a business was, as a youth, I witnessed how my dad struggled daily as a taxi driver trying to make ends meet.

That said, I am very blessed to be in Singapore and to be given the right education. I see this as a very important factor to my success today.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore – well, for one, most of my businesses are here. Singapore is convenient for business and is very well governed. There are rules and systems that make the entire entrepreneurial journey more secure here. One big plus is the location: Singapore is a hub that allows us to connect to the world.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
船到桥头自然直 –
There is a Chinese saying that when a boat goes near the pier, it will automatically align itself (with the current). It means we don’t have to worry too much, that things will take care of themselves.

A mentor once challenged me: “But who can guarantee you can even reach the pier?”

It is such a highly competitive world we are in, who can guarantee success? This is the ONE question that has been etched in my mind for decades. The Chinese saying always comes to mind when I am positioning, designing and strategizing for my business.

Who inspires you?
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew – The fact that he started ruling the country just like a startup. With limited resources, he was able to find a strong positioning to differentiate his country from the rest of the of Asia. With hardwork and proper planning, he transformed Singapore from a fishing village to a prominent financial hub in Asia.

Because Mr. Lee Kuan Yew positioned Singapore so well, government owned companies, such as Singapore Airlines, have emerged as the best in the world.

His story inspires me, spurs me to understand that success is not by chance but by design – every little step, all the strategies are all planned out. Not at all by chance.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
My business coach, Marshall Thurber, shared with me the power of the “Trim Tab” – a small part of the rudder system in a ship. This Trim Tab, despite its small size, is able to influence the entire ship’s direction by turning it.

This metaphor helped me see that a man can influence the entire world if the right effort is applied. We are now living in an entirely new world, the way we commute with an app on the phone – that’s the power of the Trim Tab at work.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would embark on the same journey but I would seek a mentor at a very early age.

I have been through many hard knocks along the way, and I definitely could have shortened the learning curve if I had a mentor to advise me on the many aspects of entrepreneurship.

How do you unwind?
Driving down long highways helps me unwind, that’s when I let my mind relax and wander.

I love long distance driving and riding. My wife gave me a Harley Davidson Tourer for my 50th birthday and we intend to embark on riding holidays together in Asia.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hong Kong – I love the fast pace and the vibrance of the city. I love the cars there and it’s a very unique and exciting experience for me. And of course, I love the food there too!

Everyone in business should read this book:
One Minute Millionaire – this book highlights the mindset of an individual that is the key determinant for success in whatever we embark on. As long as we know we have a very strong reason why we need to do it, we can do it!

Shameless plug for your business:
I am the CEO and Founder of 2 Math enrichment brands:
Neuromath is a Specialist Math Learning Centre that helps students from Primary 1 to Junior College, empowering them with strategies, skills and a strong desire to learn and problem solve. We use technology to train students to avoid careless mistakes reclaiming 30 marks or more in Math exams and achieve their full potential in math.
www.neuromath.com.sg

Early Math Matters is a premier Mathematics and Cognitive Development enrichment centre for preschool children aged 3-6 years old. Through purposeful play and our renowned EMM approach, we help learners build a strong foundation for problem solving at an early age, and instil in them a passion & love for math that will stay with them for life.
www.earlymathmatters.com

We are actively seeking passionate teachers, entrepreneurs and investors who are keen to grow the education business with us.

How can people connect with you?
I speak regularly at workshops for schools, parents and platforms demonstrating the use of technology for peak performance in education.

Do contact me at
www.NormanTien.com

Alternatively, you can connect with me:
www.NormanTien.com/facebook
www.NormanTien.com/linkedin

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

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Callum Connects

Mikyung Kim, TV Commercial Producer

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Mikyung Kim is a savvy producer who runs her own TV and print production business, based in Hong Kong.

What’s your story?
I am a TV commercial and print producer working with advertising agencies and brands to bring their communication needs to the screen. My background is in film production and I started my career in Hollywood working with Oscar winning directors Michel Gondry and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Before starting my own company last year to produce content directly with agencies and brands, I was with Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong for nearly five years as the Senior Producer and Head of TV running the film production department.

What excites you most about your industry?
How it’s constantly evolving! Every day is different and it’s certainly never boring. I love that it’s a creative industry and that my job involves talking to people with creative minds on how we can bring a story on paper to life. It’s exciting that the advertising industry places high value on the creativity and effectiveness of content. I’ve produced a few commercials that creatively push the envelope with fun and sometimes wild ideas that have converted into positive brand awareness. Ever heard of KFC Finger Lickin’ Good…Nail Polish that yes, tastes like chicken? https://www.adweek.com/creativity/kfc-just-made-edible-finger-lickin-good-nail-polish-yeah-tastes-chicken-171245/

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Seoul and raised in Hong Kong until graduating from high school at HKIS. I spent my university years in Boston at Emerson College and worked in Los Angeles at Anonymous Content and Partizan Entertainment. But on a brief visit back to Hong Kong in 2010, I decided to move back and continue my career here, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is my home so it will always be my favourite city for business and for me personally. What I love about Hong Kong is that while I am based here, I can actually work with agencies and brands from anywhere in APAC. If I need to attend an important meeting, I can just hop on a quick flight easily. I spent most of 2017 working in Seoul with Korean agency Cheil and Samsung, and currently I am working with Japanese agency ADK and Toyota based in Singapore.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Fake it until you become it,” from Amy Cuddy’s TED talk. Worth a watch. This helped me early in my career when I felt like I was under qualified for the job I was in. I learned to fake my confidence and fake a powerful body language until I truly felt that confidence became something real. It was nerve wracking at first but it worked and now I don’t have to fake it.

Who inspires you?
My friends. Noelle who worked part time jobs while being a full time student to pay her own tuition while we were in college together. Osti who is a lawyer focused on supporting developing nations and a board member of Redress, an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Vanessa who runs a real estate company, co-owns the gym Crossfit Asphodel, started a health foods business called Quo and NGO The Keep Moving Project to promote wellness in our community. Cathy who will be the first Asian woman to direct a big budget superhero film starring Margot Robbie with Warner Bros and DC. And too many more to name!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
5.2 million plastic bottles are thrown away in Hong Kong every day. Plastic pollution is a major issue for the environment and we as responsible citizens can do our small part by reducing our consumption of unnecessary plastic. I do mine by having a water filter at home and carrying my own reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. I love the brand Hydroflask because the stainless steel material keeps water hot or cold for hours, so I don’t feel tempted to buy a cold water at 7-11 on those hot, humid days we have here.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
About five years ago I purchased my very first stock and put one month’s salary into it, which at the time was a lot of money for me. Knowing how that stock has performed now, I would have put all my savings into it.

How do you unwind?
Exercise is essential in my daily life to help clear my head and de-stress. My go to is a workout at Crossfit Asphodel, running outdoors, yoga and hiking. But a glass of red wine and live music at Soiree in Soho on Sunday night works pretty well too!

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
One of the best trips I ever took was to the island of Lombok in Indonesia. Two girl friends and I did a 3 day 2 night hiking and camping trip to summit the Mount Rinjani Volcano. It was physically challenging but mentally relaxing. There was no cellphone reception, no distractions, we had the company of nature and nights with skies full of shooting stars. It was pretty magical. We then went to the Gili Islands for a few days of scuba diving, yoga and sitting on the beach doing nothing but sipping on coconuts. That was pretty relaxing too.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel and “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. Essential reads for every working woman and/or man who wants to know how to support the working women in their life.

Shameless plug for your business:
I am a TV commercial and print producer that can plug into an existing advertising agency or brand team to produce their communication needs. Many advertising agencies these days are scaling down so they have creative directors and account services but may not have an in-house producer, so I can fill that gap by becoming a part of the existing agency team. For brands that want to produce content directly without involving an agency, I can also bridge the gap by bringing my production knowledge in-house and working as part of the marketing/brand team and liaising with the other departments in the company such as product team and ecomm.

How can people connect with you?
They can email me at [email protected]
or visit my website at mkimproducer.com

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

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