Selene Chin hopes to encourage others to believe in themselves and achieve the best life possible. She started Smarty Pants, a comprehensive life skills school to help people ready themselves for the world.

What’s your story?
My story is that of a late bloomer who took her time to flourish. An introvert who found her way in an extroverted industry. A woman with a desire to (to quote the late Steve Jobs), “put a ding in the universe”. I hope my story will give hope to anyone who knows in their heart that they are destined for bigger things, but have yet found the voice or courage to shout it to the world.

What excites you most about your industry?
The education industry has not seen a real revolution in the past 50 years! There are lots of innovators at the side advocating new ways to educate and engage with our children but there is no one that really sticks or has made it into mainstream. From an opportunistic point of view, this means that the industry has a lot of room to grow and stretch. From the point of view of someone who believes in children, I think it’s about time we adults level up the game. Both points of view excite me and push me ahead every day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singapore thoroughbred. I am born, bred and educated in Singapore. I am effectively bilingual and in my life as a creative agency person, my work took me all over Asia. I love this part of the world. It is rich, vibrant and buzzing with energy. Just visit any major city in Asia and you’ll get a sense that dreams are possible and can become real.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Other than Singapore? 🙂 I would have to say Hong Kong. I am Cantonese and grew up watching Hong Kong serial dramas. When I first stepped into the city, I must have walked around with my mouth wide open the whole time. I feel that Hong Kong now is very different it has lost its shine somewhat. The city feels tired, sluggish, and with a lot of angst. It just feels like the whole city needs a detox. Hong Kong will always have a special place in my heart though. I hope it will regain its shine when I next visit.

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What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Spend time developing yourself. Don’t stagnate. Only then can you be the best mother to your children.

Who inspires you?
So many. Successful, celebrated folk: Richard Branson. President Obama. Ma Yun. John Woods. But also everyday people: My husband. My daughter.  My son. My students. Their parents. The lady who sells tissues and sings a composition of her own to market her wares. My admin manager.

I like their grit, conviction, commitment to life, their determination to achieving the best life they can, their belief in themselves, and their capacity for love. That inspires me.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Just last week, I received feedback from someone that a programme I was conducting was the exact thing her school had been working with education experts to incorporate. Later that week, I also got approached by two other contacts who were interested in bringing Smarty Pants to countries beyond Singapore. Don’t get me wrong, I have always believed in the potential of Smarty Pants – I wouldn’t be doing this otherwise. But just to hear those affirmations from other people is humbling, terrifying, and mind blowing all at the same time.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Looking back, I have always had a desire to start something on my own. I wish I had listened to my gut and come out on my own earlier.

How do you unwind?
I read a book, stroll the streets, watch a movie. Simple things. I unwind best when I am by myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I don’t have one, to be honest. Different mindsets draw me to different destinations. But I always have fun at beach holidays. Something about the sun, the sand and the sound of waves.

Everyone in business should read this book:
REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

Shameless plug for your business:
Smarty Pants is a school that readies your child for life. Academic training can only take you so far. When your child moves into adulthood, you want her to ready for the world and savvy about life. Smarty Pants trains your child in 4 areas of life smarts – financial awareness, social awareness, entrepreneurial thinking, and sustainable lifestyle – so that they can go on to live rich, sustainable lives. There is no other life skills school that has such a comprehensive curriculum of life skill courses around. Why wait? Book a course now at smartypants.sg today!

How can people connect with you?
Linkedin’s good, search for Selene Chin, Smarty Pants. I’m quite visible on search so it’s easy to locate me. Email’s good too – [email protected]

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

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Callum 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.

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Callum Laing
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is a partner in the Private Equity firm Unity-Group. Co-founder and non-exec director of The Marketing Group PLC and is CEO of Key Person of Influence (Asia). He is author of 'Progressive Partnerships'.

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