Connect with us

Callum Connects

Jessica May, Founder of Enabled Employment

Published

on

Jessica May started Enabled Employment providing job opportunities for people affected by discrimination. There unique model doesn’t accept government funding.

What’s your story?
Unfortunately I experienced discrimination in the workplace after disclosing my disability which led me to research what is available to assist people facing disadvantages to get employment without government support. I thought of the idea for Enabled Employment, providing job opportunities to all people affected by discrimination in trying to land a job. We built a company which I’m really proud of. Unlike other disability employment providers , we don’t accept government funding. We operate on the premise that skills and qualifications come first, and then we negotiate reasonable adjustments as needed on the job after a candidate is successful in applying.

What excites you most about your industry?
I think the recruitment industry in general is really ripe for disruption. We’re not only providing job opportunities to people who are disadvantaged, we’ve built an automated system of our own to turn the industry on its head. Using machine learning and automation, our system saves at least half of our operating costs by cutting down the hours spent on administrative tasks. We have automated invoicing, payroll, candidate matching, references and we are able to implement changes to our website instantly, putting our technology ahead of the field.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have always loved Asia, and I’d love to live there! I have travelled through Asia extensively, and I have been able to continue to conduct business from anywhere in the world. I was honoured to be named Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia and New Zealand at the Stevie Awards in New York in 2016, which I was surprised to win as there are so many amazing startups in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Anywhere that has internet access – which is better in Asia than we have in Australia a lot of the time. I can work from anywhere, as our website and the technology we’re building is entirely cloud based, which means I can work from my laptop or my phone. I think my dream would be to work from Bali, which is a beautiful place with wonderful people.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I’ve been lucky enough to have great mentors, both at the GRIFFIN Accelerator where we were fostered as a startup, and by the female founders mentoring organisation Heads over Heels. I think the best piece of advice I received was to listen to every suggestion or piece of advice you are given but not necessarily follow it if it doesn’t feel right for you.

I think in the startup world you are constantly bombarded with people trying to help you along the way but you often know what is best for your business, so trust your gut and go with what you know will work for you.

Who inspires you?
Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs, who was never afraid to speak out in her role to protect human rights in Australia. I also look up to Graeme Innes AM, who is now Chair of the Attitude Foundation, and also a former Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner. Their courage to speak out about disability discrimination, and on human rights, is inspirational to me. They are changing attitudes, which needs to happen if we are to have a more inclusive world.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I have been studying artificial intelligence and machine learning to complement and extend my diploma in software development. I have been blown away by how much of these capabilities we already have built into the system and also the areas we can do more. Recruitment is very much an area where applying machine learning and artificial intelligence can remove the conscious and unconscious bias we see towards our candidates and hopefully remove discrimination in the future.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Not a lot, actually. I’m happy that we’ve established a new technology which is my passion, and that we are standing up for human rights in employment. It may have been a long road, but it all adds up to make me more determined to change the way we think about employment, and employment conditions as part of reasonable measures to enable people to work.

How do you unwind?
I unwind by spending time with my kids, and having a glass of red wine. I make sure I take my breaks, and I love to travel. I remind myself to only check in once a day with the business though – otherwise I’d be looking at my phone and not at the beautiful things around me!

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Definitely Bali! I have had some amazing holidays there, and met some lovely people. My kids love it there, and it is so peaceful and the culture is beautiful. I can sit by the pool and watch my kids, stay in a beautiful hotel, and eat amazing food and see the beautiful culture and countryside. I love the lifestyle in Indonesia, and I’d love to live there one day.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Eight Steps to Happiness” by Alison Leigh and Dr Anthony M Grant
Keeping on top of your mental health in business is so important and this book takes you through steps to understand who you really are and what’s important to you.

Shameless plug for your business:
Enabled Employment is a unique recruitment company, presenting candidates that represent true diversity. Every hire you make through Enabled Employment increases your diversity and inclusion rate, leading to better business outcomes and driving innovation. We represent skilled candidates who are people with a disability, former Australian Defence Force members and their families, carers, senior Australians 55 years of age or over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from culturally diverse backgrounds, refugees and members of the LGBTI community.

How can people connect with you?
Our website is www.enabledemployment.com where you can get more information about why we do what we do and how we are breaking down barriers to employment. We also have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EnabledEmployment/

Twitter handle?
@EnabledEmploy

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

Elizabeth Wu, Co-founder & COO of Trehaus

Published

on

Elizabeth Wu is making work-life integration a reality for working parents in her new family friendly coworking space.

What’s your story?
I co-founded a coworking space in Singapore that comes complete with a child-friendly facility. We’re the first of our kind here and we’ve been making work-life integration a reality for working parents since we opened.

What excites you most about your industry?
We are the first of our kind, and there’s no other coworking space like us. Sure, there are plenty of coworking spaces in Singapore, but we are the pioneers of championing ‘BYO-kid’ to work by creating a conducive workspace and enriching kids play, all under one roof.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I’m a local through and through.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, of course! It’s safe, well-regulated and has a diverse community. Barriers to entry for starting up a business is low, and generally there is good support for small to medium enterprises and startups, which is great.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Life is short. Do stuff that matters.” I think I decided to do “stuff that matters” a long time ago and that’s why I became an educator. When motherhood beckoned, I decided again, to do “stuff that matters” by staying home to be with my kids. Then, I began to desire a meaningful career while raising my kids. So, I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, because I am governed by wanting to “do stuff that matters!”

Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me. My members at Trehaus inspire me with the things they do and the changes they make. But if I have to pick someone, it would be Elim Chew, founder of 77th Street; who is a seasoned entrepreneur. She started from humble beginnings, went through setbacks and never said never to new journeys in entrepreneurship. I love that she always looks for ways to give back to society and mentor the next generation with her wealth of wisdom and experiences.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I learned the 5-by-5 rule recently: That is, ‘if it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it.’ This helps me puts things in perspective, and I try to remember this every time the urge comes to dwell, to brood, to beat myself up or to sweat the small stuff.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely be more careful with the people I hired to build the team. I’ve learned that it is important to find and build an entrepreneurial team that will plough and work hard alongside the founders. Like Jack Ma once said, “Don’t hire the most qualified candidate. Hire the craziest.” I should have done that right from the start. It would save us so much time and heartache.

How do you unwind?
I take long walks to clear my or I go for a fruitful session of self care, like yoga or a massage.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I really enjoy getting out of Singapore to the outskirts of Bangkok to live amongst the locals. My family of 5 used to do that each December; just taking off to live amongst the locals where street food is aplenty and warmth and hospitality is everywhere. I enjoy their slow pace of life and how simple things can be.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

Shameless plug for your business:
Trehaus is Singapore’s first ever family-friendly coworking space that lets you build a career while prioritising family. If it takes a village to raise a child, then Trehaus is the modern village where you will find a robust community and supportive ecosystem that lets you be an involved parent – never missing a single milestone in your child’s early years – and at the same time do efficient and productive work. We’ve made magic happen in what we’ve created!

How can people connect with you?
[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

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Mark Winterton, General Manager of InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay

Published

on

Mark Winterton has dedicated his life to achieving unparalleled and extraordinary guest experiences in the hospitality industry.

What’s your story?
I’m a seasoned hospitality professional with over twenty years international experience launching luxury brands, repositioning existing brands and driving innovation for some of the world’s most successful hotels.

As General Manager of InterContinental® Singapore Robertson Quay, I’m responsible for the strategic positioning of the property as the next generation of the InterContinental hotel brand and have been spearheading the hotel since its opening in October 2017, with the goal of achieving a unique and unrivalled market positioning as Singapore’s most luxurious residential hotel.

I started my career with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) in 1995 and have since been dedicating myself towards achieving perfection. I find immense fulfillment in leading my team towards achieving extraordinary and unparalleled guest experiences.

What excites you most about your industry?
The hospitality industry boasts an extremely dynamic landscape, and we are always seeing new hotels opening alongside the entry of burgeoning brands. This growth has, over time developed positive competition and generated positive driving forces that have elevated the overall standard of the industry in Singapore. The industry has a dynamic landscape. There are many opportunities to bring the right people together and create amazing teams to launch or reposition hotels. The process of creating teams, inspiring individuals and then working together to bring a project to life is where I find the excitement lies.

What’s your connection to Asia?
The lure of Asia has always been very strong for foreign economies and companies, with great accessibility to new opportunities, customers, consumers and clients. My first foray into Asia was back in 2007, when I launched Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in Singapore. Following that, I was also based in Bangkok for a couple of years for the rebranding of Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park. Over my years in Asia, I have had the opportunity to truly immerse myself in new cultures, establish new connections with key counterparts and friends; and these have further solidified my interest in and strengthened my connection to Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Singapore. Commonly known as the gateway to Asia, we’ve been blessed with a stable government, a sound political economy and a comprehensive infrastructure for reliable business operations. With tremendous efforts put in by the Singapore Tourism Board towards elevating the city as an attractive venue for visitors, the growth of Singapore as a key MICE destination, coupled with a cosmopolitan pool of talent, Singapore remains my favourite city in Asia for business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“You can never be 100% ready for a new role.” I believe that there will always be room for growth and learning on the job. As long as a person is 80% ready for a new role, the opportunity should be extended. I am a strong believer in the development of people and the grooming of talent, and this piece of advice has allowed me to take more chances on people I’ve worked with and developed over the years.

Who inspires you?
Simon Sinek, a speaker with TED Talk.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I don’t think I can pinpoint just one lesson learnt recently, as learning is an ongoing process. No matter how small a piece of knowledge may seem, it should be valued. Everyday is a journey of learning and development.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing at all. I don’t believe in regrets and everything that has happened thus far, has had a part to play in who I am and where I stand today.

How do you unwind?
Spending time with friends over relaxed conversations and wine or working my green fingers in my balcony garden.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. It’s one destination where I’ve always returned to, simply because it offers me the same level of comfort and familiarity each time I return. It’s where I can feel most relaxed, yet still be able to enjoy the vibrant dining scene.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.

Shameless plug for your business:
Officially opened on 12 October 2017, InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is the first international luxury hotel brand situated at Robertson Quay. Set amidst a dynamic, sophisticated neighbourhood along the Singapore River, known for its dining options and arts houses, the luxury residential-inspired hotel has been carefully curated by world-­class designers, architects and culinary purveyors. Located minutes away from the CBD, the hotel still maintains a stylish but laid back, relaxed feel in the leafy, upscale neighbourhood of Robertson Quay. The hotel offers 225 luxurious studios and suites, including an expansive Penthouse, which has unparalleled views of both the Singapore River and vibrant city via floor-­to-­ceiling windows.

The residential-­inspired property combines elements from Robertson Quay’s industrial and intriguing past with sleek contemporary finishes whilst seamlessly blending into the residential surrounds. Light-­filled room interiors have been designed to magnify the familiar comforts of home where guests may enjoy bespoke amenities such as a specially designed in-­room cocktail kit.

Established as part of a holistic dining and lifestyle destination, the hotel boasts a wide range of restaurant and bar concepts. Flagship restaurant Publico, representing the central core of Italian culture, is a multi-­concept dining destination comprising a variety of Italian experiences under one roof – a neighbourhood deli and bar and a ristorante with adjoining terrazzo by the river. Other highlights throughout the hotel include New York institution Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, and a bar and dining concept from the team behind Izy Sushi. Over 40 other dining options await at the hotel doorstep, in The Quayside precinct.

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markwinterton1/

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

Continue Reading

Trending