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Genevieve Seah, Singer & Musician

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Music has carried Genevieve Seah through the ups and downs of life and is now her career.

What’s your story?
I am a student by day and singer by night. Currently a jazz vocal performance major at LaSalle College of the Arts. Started piano when I was 5, but ended up disliking the strict and mundane lessons, so I ventured out into pop on my own. The radio was my best friend and I’d always try to figure out how to play current songs on the piano by ear. Also ventured into dance through my teenage years, but later went on to being a professional singer at 18 and have been singing ever since. Music has carried me through the ups and downs in my life and is an outlet for me to express myself in this crazy world that we live in. As long as my music and voice has had the privilege of touching one heart and changed one person’s life, I would be grateful.

What excites you most about your industry?
People and conversation. There is never a mundane day in this industry. Every day presents new possibilities and experiences. I love that I am able to meet different people everyday, talk about their life stories and be able to connect with them as I sing. Working with such passionate people who are so passionate about music really keeps you inspired and motivated to reach for new heights. As a performer, you never know what someone at your performance is going through, and your songs may touch them and bring them comfort during their toughest times. I have been fortunate to have people come up to me and tell me that my singing has brought them emotional relief and that I should continue doing what I do.

What’s your connection to Asia?
My connection to Asia is definitely Singapore and my Peranakan Chinese roots. Growing up in Singapore, the cosmopolitan and multi-racial city has led me to have an open mind with regards to social interactions and understanding people and the different cultures available on this little island.

Genevieve Seah sings

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. As cliched as this might sound, I still feel that I am able to go about my work with maximum productivity and unwind in this very city. It definitely helps that it never takes more than 40 minutes to get from destination to destination. All of my contacts and resources are within reach when I am working here.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have been fortunate to have received loads of advice from different people at different stages of my life. In school my teacher told me to “keep at the right thing.” Whenever I’m stressed or worried, my parents would remind me to pray and that God would always save the day and make everything okay. I had a friend who told me when I was struggling with fitting in with friends, “why do you try so hard to fit in, when you’re born to stand out?” This is just some of the advice I’ve received that has stuck with me and made me who I am. But to date, if I had to choose the best advice, it would be that you should never sacrifice three things: your family, your heart and your dignity.

Who inspires you?
Many people. From the obvious like my mother and father who worked tirelessly to raise my two siblings and myself up, to my other half who dares to fight for his dreams and passion. His name is Feng Lee and he is one of the bravest, biggest hearted humans I have ever met. I find it rare these days to find someone who automatically assumes the best in everyone he meets and comes across. As a child he scored straight A’s and had offers to study Psychology and Computer Engineering, but chose the unconventional path of music instead. Today, he is a Berklee College of Music graduate and is working as a music producer and a guitarist to some of today’s leading acts including The Sam Willows and Nathan Hartono. His humble, patient and nurturing soul makes him someone who is easy to talk to whenever you need advice on music, or life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
JAZZ. For the past 5 years, my genre of music has very much been focused on pop and rock. Last year, I decided to pursue a degree specialising in Jazz music and everything I am learning is so new, insightful and refreshing.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a believer of having no regrets and that everything happens for a reason. I am, however, a pretty timid person. So maybe, if I could have my time again, I would probably want to be less timid of things.

How do you unwind?
I like to stay home. Sit around with a pot of hot tea and watch the world go by. And netflix. Thank you to whoever created Netflix.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Pai! Its somewhere in Thailand, up in the mountains. I recently went there for a few days and although small and quaint, the sunrise, cool air, friendly people and beautiful scenery is an ideal destination for relaxation.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Tuesdays with Morrie. I know it’s not a business-related book but hey, it talks about some of the things that matter like courage and wisdom, which I think will come in handy at some point in life, for sure.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you need a singer for your corporate events or wedding functions, you can look for me @genseahmusic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I will bring along my team of A-list musicians and give you the best party you have ever experienced!

How can people connect with you?
You can write on my wall or leave me a direct message on my Facebook page and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I love hearing from people and being able to help them the best way I can. Also Instagram. I’m almost always reachable on Instagram so write away to @genseahmusic!

Twitter handle?
@genseahmusic

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy

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Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (https://www.chillicrab.com/nationalday)

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/djtehkh) or visit www.rebirthacademy.sg for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @ www.tinyurl.com/dexclar

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

Arthur Lam, Co-Founder of Synergy

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Arthur Lam’s business, Synergy offers B2B energy saving solutions.

What’s your story?
I am Arthur Lam, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman at Synergy (1539.HK). I was born and raised in Hong Kong until I was 13. Then, I lived in boarding schools in Melbourne and California during my high school years. After that, I attended the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 2008.

Upon graduation, I came back to Hong Kong and worked for a hedge fund. The financial crisis in 2008 wiped out a big part of the industry and gave me a chance to rethink and reposition myself. After the financial crisis, companies stopped spending and everyone was on cost-cutting mode. As an entrepreneur with an engineering background, I co-founded an energy management company called Synergy, offering B2B energy saving solutions. The idea is simple – clients don’t have to pay anything upfront, we do all the engineering and upfront capital investment. In return, we share part of the savings we create for the client over a period of time. We first started with energy saving lighting technologies based in Hong Kong. We are now also in the field of cooling & refrigeration, solar PV and battery storage with operation in over 10 countries. Synergy is one of the first and few energy management companies listed on the Main Board of The Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
On the side, I started a student co-living space with about 80 rooms.

What excites you most about your industry?
Sustainability, renewable energy and energy efficiency are some of the few industries that can ensure the continuity of our existence! We do not need to quantify the potential market size to justify our effort to provide a more sustainable future for the next generations. Practically every nation and business leader have pledged to work collaboratively, trying to undo the harm we have done to the planet for the past century. As a result, more energy efficient technologies and solutions are always in demand.

What’s your connection to Asia?
My great grandparents were from Chiu Chow and Shunde. I was born and raised in Hong Kong until I was 13. I spent 3 years in Melbourne during middle school before heading to US for high school and college. With Synergy, I was able to travel and work in China and most of the major cities in Asia such as Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok. Besides Cantonese and English, I speak Mandarin and took 4 years of Japanese during high school. I’m also trying to pick up Bahasa slowly.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Every city has its own merits and it is extremely interesting to learn about the intricacy of cultural diversification and different ecosystems. As a business owner, I believe in top quality service. No other city would exemplify world class service better than Hong Kong with respect to speed, quality, effectiveness and robustness of the financial and legal system.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Life is a journey – you come to this world to enjoy life, to be happier and healthier – Jack Ma

Who inspires you?
Elon Musk

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I am always amazed by the rapid advancement of technologies and innovations around the world. Everyday there may be a breakthrough coming up in different areas. One thing I learnt recently is the possibility of extracting clean water from air anywhere! Previous technologies require very high energy input, high cost and certain environmental conditions such has high humidity levels to extract water from air. However, MIT and The University of California provide a new method which has the potential for use in any locations. They developed a foam-like material that draws moisture into its pores and is powered entirely by solar heat. Today there is another commercially available product which is also a self-sustaining system, using sunlight to generate electricity to drive a cycle of condensation and evaporation that can produce 2 to 5 litres of clean water per day. People now may obtain drinking water anywhere with no external energy usage and this may solve severe water shortages in some areas in the future!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would love to learn more languages and learn how to code better. These are two important skill sets which I find very useful wherever I go.

How do you unwind?
On weekdays, I try to visit the gym at least 2-3 times a week after work. A good workout definitely helps to de-stress. Occasionally, I have the luxury to play a round of golf with my father or friends after completing a major project.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Sipadan, Malaysia is an amazing place for scuba diving.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Book of Changes “I Ching”. I make most of my business decisions based on the philosophy from the book.

Shameless plug for your business:
Victoria Park is one of the most famous parks in Hong Kong and it has about 3,500 trees. The amount of energy we have saved in the past 8 years is equivalent to planting 1,000 Victoria Parks worth of trees from the carbon emissions we saved.
Synergy is ranked 2017 top 100 most potential public listed companies in China by Forbes.

How can people connect with you?
Linkedin: Arthur Lam
Email: [email protected]

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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