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Nadya Saib, CEO of Wangsa Jelita

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The more transparency there is in the food we eat and the products we put on our skin the faster will be the demand for higher quality and the better off we all will be. Fortunately we have entrepreneurs like Nadya who is creating her own beautiful dynasty out of Indonesia.

What’s your story?

There was a debate among two friends and I about “natural personal care products,” you know, products which are labeled natural, but once you read the ingredients, you’ll be like, “natural? Really?!” Later we found out that there is actually no pharmaceutical regulation in using the word natural, which inspired us to run the business with the true concept of natural. We choose very carefully what should be put into the formulation—based on its benefit to skin, plus the extra rule—100% no harmful chemicals! We call the business Wangsa Jelita, literally means the Beautiful Dynasty.

What excites you most about your industry?

I’m a firm believer that business is an act of service, and apparently Wangsa Jelita’s main beneficiaries are women—whom I very much can relate to. To me personally, it is very exciting (or fulfilling rather) because the more I learn about them (in order to serve them better), the more I learn about myself. I think one of Aristotle’s principles fits this well, that “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” There are so many other things which I’m grateful for but I feel blessed enough just with that one particular advantage.

What’s your connection to Asia?

Bred, born, and raised. Both of my parents come from west Sumatra, I was born in East Borneo, and raised in Java. So far, I’ve spent my whole life in Asia—Indonesia to be precise (except when my family moved to France for a few years when I was a little kid, but I can’t remember a thing so I don’t think that counts). Not to mention, my palates always have deep love for Asian food.

nadya saib 3

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?

I’ve often heard that Singapore is good, but let me answer from experience: Bandung! Especially for startups, because bootstrappers will find Bandung very convenient (testified!) And also because the sharing environment allows entrepreneurs to learn from each other. The people are just so nice, most Bandung entrepreneurs I know don’t see others as competitions. And it’s a bonus that you can get the balance of a dynamic big city (it is the second largest metropolitan cities in Indonesia) and a beauty of nature surrounding the area (so that you can relax and recharge your mind).

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Being an entrepreneur, I found this one golden, “one of the goals for entrepreneurs should be they want to find a balance between the thing they love doing and all the other things that are important in life” – Nouman Ali Khan. That leads me to the question which I think every one of us should ponder over, “what ARE the important THINGS in life?” I picked this because too often we were told (at least I was told) that one can be a successful entrepreneur ONLY if they have no other life than their work. And I’ve learned that that’s not true.

Who inspires you?

Well, I look up to my mom because of her compassion, and she has instilled in me the ethic that I must do things wholeheartedly. And that balances the lesson I learned from my dad— to stay reasonable in life. Even my nephews have inspired me to stay curious. The list goes on and on and not just limited to people whom I’ve known or met personally. Just like recently I’ve been obsessed in knowing about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He’s inspired me greatly, especially in terms of dealing with people. So simply put, many!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?

It seems easy to answer “what is your priority in life?” But when we ask ourselves—where do we spend most of our time, what do we think when we get up, what do we stay up at night worrying about, what makes us cry most—and find that the reality reflects otherwise, then it means we don’t know what our priorities are. And I think that’s problematic, because I believe life balance starts with getting our priorities straight.

The fact that many people actually don’t know (nor really question)—what the real priorities are—just blew me away.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

I’m not sure if I want to change my past like doing things differently, but surely I wish I could have done things faster. Same mistakes, same lessons, just faster pace.

How do you unwind?

Playing with my nephews. Playing a game (I just found a new love for Plant vs. Zombies 2, thanks to my twin nephews). Listening to the podcasts I have in my smartphone. Reading books. And playing with my cat.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?

I like Bandung, because I lived there for about 9 years and I think it’s good to relax and reminisce. And also Sumatra, mostly because of the food.

This may sound odd to some, but I really like Singapore simply because it’s pedestrian-friendly (regardless its well-known busy lifestyle). I find walking relaxes my mind. Plus, I love Singapore “carrot cake.”

Everyone in business should read this book:

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Despite his rather horrible attitude, there are so many things an entrepreneur can learn and take from Steve Jobs’ way in making a dent in the universe. (Just don’t take his tantrum).

Shameless plug for your business:

Ever questioned why there are so many chemically laden personal care products in the market? You feel like you want to give the best to your skin, so then you look for the natural-labeled products, but only to be disappointed when you read the ingredients? Same old same old? Wangsa Jelita exists to solve that exact problem.

Check out www.wangsajelita.com or contact our customer service at [email protected], because we offer the TRUE natural personal care produts that have ONLY THE GOOD inside—100% no harmful chemicals!

How can people connect with you?

Feel free to drop me a note at [email protected]! 🙂

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

CallumConnects

Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.

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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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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