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Patricia Reed, Mentor of Female Founder

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Patricia Reed has traveled the world and ended up in tech consulting quite by accident!

What’s your story?
I have been greatly influenced by living on four continents and working in IT. Originally from Texas, I moved to Oslo, Norway with my family as a child. Then again my junior year in college to the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1994, I moved to Belgium, and spent 12 years in Brussels, Belgium, with one amazing year in the middle in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, and now eleven years in Singapore.

My entry into tech happened in the early part of my career. I was job-searching for an entry-level position with a firm that would provide me with opportunities for professional growth. I interviewed for a temp job to replace a secretary during her maternity leave. My ‘career’ had not gone as I planned, and I was not at all interested in the role, but it was for a relative start-up called Cisco Systems, and my friend had insisted that I go. Reluctantly, I went, having sworn I would NEVER take another admin job, no matter HOW much I wanted to get into the company.
My luck changed when I sat down with the interviewer and he asked, “So, you’re here for the Sales role?” Pause. I glanced down and saw that it was indeed my CV in front of him. My heart skipped a beat, then, “Why yes, I’m very excited about it. Could you tell me more?” Instantly, my level of interest shifted. I listened intently to all of the details he shared.

I spent nine great years at Cisco, moved from Brussels to Singapore, and have been in Tech consulting and leadership ever since.

What excites you most about your industry?
The constant change! There’s no boredom or fat in tech. There’s always something new developing, building, and challenging the status quo. Organizations are in constant flux too, reflecting technology. AI, Cloud, IoT, the sharing economy technologies, driverless vehicles, robotics- what business is NOT impacted by technology today?

What’s your connection to Asia?
Our family actively pursued a move to Singapore eleven years ago. My husband and I were keen for a change of scenery but were determined to move BOTH of our careers. Neither one of us wanted the other to have to sacrifice, (and neither one of us wanted to bear the burden of being the sole breadwinner).

I thought the opportunity for my children to grow up learning Mandarin, and working in what we thought was the biggest geography for growth in the world was a very exciting prospect. Singapore offered opportunities for both of us that most places weren’t able to offer.

Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Tokyo. The richness of the culture, the level of professionalism and courtesy of Japanese colleagues, the amazing food, the different customs and their appreciation and care for their city.

My first trip there, I learned a lot about working hours in Japan. At our first formal meeting with our potential high-profile customer, my only meeting with a professional business translator, we had managed to get our company to agree to fly in a talented Russian engineer from London who had worked on a project they were supposedly very keen to hear from. Five minutes into Vladimir’s carefully prepared presentation, one of the five men from the client fell asleep, put his head back and slept! I could not believe my eyes. I elbowed my Japanese colleague and whispered, irritated, wanting to understand what was going on. My colleague explained in few words that it was ok. I learned that it is apparently customary for the most senior member of the meeting to snooze, as they work and stay out so late.

I made rookie mistakes I learned from – I think they must have thought I was an ogre at one point. I remember having a really bad cold and turning completely around to blow my nose while out at dinner. When I turned back around, five Japanese male colleagues were in shock. The blood had completely drained from their faces and were pie eyed. I was like ‘oops?’ I won’t do that again!
The business that I closed with Japanese companies remains some of my favourite work, in terms of meaningful relationships and richness and complexity of the projects.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Years ago, a boss I loved told me, “not everything is black and white, there are so many shades of gray.” It is obvious now, but at the time, it really helped me. It is sometimes hard to navigate the situations we can find ourselves in. Withholding judgement, and responding with curiosity to understand intentions behind actions serve well.

Who inspires you?
Entrepreneurs, Hillary Clinton, (she’s like the Energizer bunny- just keeps on going), and Elon Musk.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
There are a few things, but I’ll choose the one related to my industry- the two female tech founders of “Witchsy” invented a male co-founder to combat sexism from investors, but also from their own employees. “Keith” had a much easier time giving direction to their employees than they did.

These female entrepreneurs found a brilliant way to fight sexism.

Posted by ATTN: Life on Sunday, 5 November 2017

Another, (if I’m permitted!) is related to global warming.

If Americans substituted beans for beef, the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009. EVEN if nothing about the energy or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target.
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/if-everyone-ate-beans-instead-of-beef/535536/

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
As I get older, I realize that there are so many things that I could have done differently, but ultimately, the choices I made were the best available choices I had at the time. They have made me who I am today.

However, as far as investments, I would have leveraged myself more in rental real estate. It’s fantastic passive income, and I enjoy having parallel active and passive strategies at work.

How do you unwind?
Talk to friends, social media, meditation, Audible books, a good Netflix series.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Anywhere that is without connectivity, in nature, with the sounds of nature all around. Hard to find. One of my favourite places was at Khao Sok National Park, near Phuket, on a paddle trip. It was a very rudimentary camp, bamboo bungalows floating on the lake.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters” by Richard Rumelt. I hardly ever meet a business leader with a clear understanding of strategy. It explains the critical components of a good strategy. A few takeaways: 1) too many companies mistakes goals for a strategy. $5 million in revenue by Dec. 2018 isn’t a strategy, it’s a goal. LOT of companies do this! 2) Strategies are not just what you WILL do, it’s also what you WON’T do. Great book.

Shameless plug for your business:
I excel at B2B leadership and consulting. Getting to the bottom of what is not working and how to fix it. I’m an excellent coach/advisor and love working to help businesses succeed.

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

Twitter handle?
Pareedus

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

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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

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Callum Connects

Mark Winterton, General Manager of InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay

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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

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