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Karen Aroney, Founder of ExecFuel

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A fascination with human behaviour and a trying time led Karen Aroney to her venture. Now she helps others get on top of their nutritional needs and helps them to re-energize themselves!

What’s your story?
I was not always a nutritionist, however, I have always been fascinated by human behavior, both the physical and mental. After graduating with a psychology degree, I ‘fell’ into the world of corporate, specifically telecommunications. It allowed me the ability to work with people in a field of technology that was fast paced and enjoyable. I had gained financial success, however, I was unfulfilled. My own weight fluctuated constantly due to excessive work stresses, as did the health of my colleagues. I suffered from hypothyroidism (so was always fatigued), and eventually my focus became more on myself and ways to eat and exercise better, so that I could feel great again.

My early 30’s were a trying time. I was a mum of premature twins, my own mother passed away from an autoimmune disease that she had been battling for four years and I was transitioning careers. After consulting to various clients as a qualified nutritionist, I decided to specialize in nutrition for executives. Not just because I used to be one, but in working with both male and female executives over many years, I have seen the dangerous consequences that gaining high body fat or living with hypertension leads to.  Serious complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as not feeling energized or under-performing at work. These can all be avoided by applying the right strategies. Therefore, I developed the ExecFuel,  an online 6-week nutrition and fitness program so that busy individuals can apply these strategies to their daily lives, at their own pace and feel energized almost immediately.

What excites you most about your industry?
New research in science and the new technology that is constantly being released to support the research. As an ex-corporate from a tech background, it excites me to be able to combine nutrition and technology. I have therefore focused my energy on being part of that market with ExecFuel.

What’s your connection to Asia?
My 4 year-old twins. They were born in Singapore, speak Mandarin fluently and know the national anthem! As an Australian, who has now lived in Asia for 6 years, I am tempted to bring out my patriotic side at times, but Singapore and Asia are home for them and I want them to feel like they are always home.

ExecFuel logo PNG PVNC High-Res-PNG-logo TM

The bonus to staying in Asia is that the opportunities are available for programs like ExecFuel, and they are embraced. I beleive Asia likes to see new and upcoming technology, particularly in the area of health and fitness.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
At the moment it’s Singapore. This is where I have invested my time and energy with my nutrition consultancy, PureVitality Nutrition Concepts Pte Ltd and with building and launching ExecFuel.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
No matter how often you revisit the past, there is nothing new to see.

Who inspires you?
My friends who have given up their cushy desk jobs to get out there and become entrepreneurs! I regularly meet with these different groups and individuals and always leave feeling energized, supported and ready to get on with it!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I have recently learned that there is a lot you can outsource that, as an entrepreneur, can actually allow you the work-life balance that you typically would not have. There are various platforms and resources that can really help free up some time that you can spend on yourself to regroup a little.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would plan my business goals to be crystal clear and more specific, before starting the business. It would have saved me some much needed time and energy.

How do you unwind?
Exercising and dining out! Two completely different things, but both serve a function for me. Exercising helps me to stay strong, clear my mind and keep me fit and dining out allows me to experience the joy of eating different foods and socializing with the people I love.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. There are 2 places I prefer to stay at, an adults-only boutique hotel in Seminyak when I fly on my own or our friends Villa in Jimbaran when we take the family.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life, by Richard Carlson.

Great read and nothing to do with business, finance, entrepreneurship, strategy, planning. Sometimes it’s good to use the other parts of your brain to gain an objective perspective.

Shameless plug for your business:
We are excited to officially present to you ExecFuel, the only 6-week online nutrition and fitness program that empowers busy individuals to feel energized, by achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle! With 24/7 access and the flexibility to start and resume the program when desired, ExecFuel shows you how to be in charge again and regain some control at your own pace.

I am committed to creating a dynamic, vibrant, and effective support community for people like yourself who are busy, but who are also now also fitter, stronger and healthier. With over 6 (easy to follow) modules with 9 videos, and more than 20 videos demonstrating fast, effective exercises, from three specialist Fitness Professionals, this practical step-by-step program to help you meet your health goals
Visit www.execfuel.net for more details on the benefits of the program.

How can people connect with you?
Email [email protected]
LinkedIn https://sg.linkedin.com/in/karenaroney

Twitter handle?
@KarenAroney

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

Denise Morris Kipnis, Founder & Principal of ChangeFlow Consulting

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Denise Mossis Kipnis’ curiosity in people and the world, lead her to set up ChangeFlow Consulting.

What’s your story?
I’m driven by curiosity. Having been the only one in a room who looks like me for most of my life, I developed a curiosity about who stays, who leaves and who thrives in minority/majority situations including when and how connection and collaboration happen. I was a systems thinker long before I knew what that was, always asking why and so what; and seeing the pieces, the whole, and the places in between. So helping people and organisations move through the complexity of transformation feels natural to me.

What excites you most about your industry?
I see change and inclusion as two sides of the same thing; I don’t practice one without the other. Some people see change as death, as loss, as exhausting. And it can be. But I see in the work I do as an opportunity for something new or hidden to emerge. When an organisation understands that it is first a group of people, who themselves represent and belong to groups of people, and it begins to tackle what it would mean to understand and learn from all that talent, all that diversity, to have them all working for and not against the organisation, to truly unleash all that their people have to offer; that’s magic.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Change and inclusion are personal values as well as professional strengths. For me, living and working outside of the States was a bold experiment to see whether any of the stuff I’d learned about change and inclusion would work outside of the US. My husband and I targeted Asia specifically: it would be the greatest contrast, culturally speaking, for me; and a unique career springboard for him.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Although I’ve practiced in other cities, I am biased towards Singapore. In some ways it’s what Los Angeles is to the rest of the United States, a microcosm of sorts. The regional/global nature of it means that so many different nationalities and cultures are represented. As a result of this mix, you never know what you might get. In some situations, cultural dynamics are obvious, sometimes subdued. The variability is compelling.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” Michael Rouan.

Who inspires you?
Often it’s a “what” not a “who.” I can get inspiration from a passage in a book or a situation in a movie, as well as a turn of a phrase or watching people interact. I often make the biggest connections between the various threads I’m working on when I’m sitting in someone else’s event.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m honestly not blown away by much. Instead, I’m struck how circular things can be: ideas often come back around with a slightly different twist and I watch the way it shakes things loose for people. I recently sat through a workshop on Self as Instrument, and despite being thoroughly versed already, I learned something. In preparing for a panel on design thinking, I unearthed a new language to describe things.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
You’ve caught me at a good time. I’m sitting in appreciation and gratitude for all my experiences, because I wouldn’t be who I was today if all that has happened, didn’t. And yet one thing comes to mind: It wasn’t until I redesigned my website two years ago (shout out to Brew Creative!) that I realised I hadn’t made explicit agreements with my past clients as to what I could share publicly about our engagement, or whether I could use their logos in my promotional materials. In my business, confidentiality is so important, and yet I need to be able to talk about the work as reputation and experience leads to the next success, and so on. It turned out a lot of the contacts I had known had left the organisations where the work was done, so they couldn’t help at that point. So the practice I’m carrying forward is to get those agreements up front, and to make sure my relationships in client systems are broad as well as deep.

How do you unwind?
Science fiction, puzzles, wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Home. I don’t travel to relax, I travel to learn and explore.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Built to Change, by Ed Lawler and Chris Worley. To my knowledge, it’s the first pivot from advising organisations away from stability and toward dynamism, from strategic planning to strategizing as an action verb; to blow up the traditions and rigidity that impede organisations from developing change capability.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re taught that there are two kinds of people: those who see forests, and those who see trees. There is a third type, my type, and we see the ecosystem. Worms, climate, birds, the spaces in between. This is the perspective organisations need to be successful in solving complex problems and thriving in change.
ChangeFlow uniquely blends four disciplines (two of which are multi-disciplinary in themselves): organisation development, culture and inclusion, change management and project management.

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChangeFlowConsulting/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dmorriskipnis/
LinkedIn Company page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4862954/
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.changeflowconsulting.com

Twitter handle?
@ChangeFlow

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

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

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

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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