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Shaen Yeo, Founder of Positive Education

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Shaen believes “education is for life.” Through positive psychology, Shaen is empowering schools and teachers to raise the next generation of thriving kids.

What’s your story?
As a schoolteacher I was frustrated and worried when I realised kids knew very well how to study but did not have the skills to weather challenge or a solid foundation for well-being. So I decided to uproot my family (my daughter was 10 months at the time) to Philadelphia to pursue a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at U Penn in 2010. I realised how much of that could be applied into our schools, and into parenting. I knew it was the missing piece to our education system, so I quit my job and ventured into being an entrepreneur, serving schools and families to raise flourishing kids. Over the last 7 years, I’ve seen schools transformed, parents reconnected with their kids, businesses thriving as a result of applying the principles of positive psychology. I want to expand my reach beyond Singapore (already been to Philippines) so that more people can benefit and as the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” I’m in the thick of it, and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon!

What excites you most about your industry?
What is exciting is that education is for life. It has given me and many others a chance to grow, learn and create a new path. Well-being education, in particular, isn’t just about being happy, but empowering people to live their fullest life and in turn contribute to the world in the best possible way. With the research in positive psychology as the backing, there is hope of leaving a positive legacy for generations to come.

What’s your connection to Asia?
When I was studying in U Penn, I was the only Asian (in fact, the only Singaporean) and it really made me think about what it means. My classmates would turn to me and ask, “What’s the Asian perspective (on this Western literature?)” I had to really dig deep for the answers. To me, being Asian means we have a deep respect for family, strong ethics (both professional and personal) and a quiet humility that gives us inner strength and courage. I’ve learnt that we have so much to offer the world, through our commitment to quality and detail, and our ability to navigate relationships. The saying I love is 有关系没关系,没关系有关系。Literally that means – when you focus on the relationships first, there is no issue/challenge you can’t overcome. If you don’t, then everything becomes a challenge. This has rung particularly true for me in business.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. It’s easy to start up a business, and the taxes are low. It has one of the best internet connections in the region, making it easy to set up the IT infrastructure for your business and also reach consumers quickly.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Spend time every day feeling into and imagining your own dream as if it were true. Allow all the emotions to fill you, and live the reality even before you can see it. Because when you can dream it, and surround yourself with the right mindset, emotions and actions, anything is possible.

Who inspires you?
Nick Vujicic. Watching him and his life unfold. It reminds me everyday that there is no limit to what we can all achieve. He combines a certain vulnerability, humour and wisdom as a result of his past experience that makes it easy to relate to him. And he is living proof that we are all capable of living a full and flourishing life!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
A new coaching methodology that allows me to access the unconscious parts of my memories, beliefs and emotions, freeing me (and my clients) from their past baggage, so they can reach greater heights in their life. Knowing psychology deeply, I found that there was a limitation when the conscious mind (person) blocked their own progress to get better. With this methodology, I could simply command my consciousness and it will continue to work in the background. It’s amazing.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would take setbacks and other people’s words less seriously, and recognize that being in tune with my emotions is not the same as being emotional. It is about relating to the world in a different way than what is expected, but it is authentic.

How do you unwind?
I play badminton and do yoga. I have lots of outdoor time with my kids and go on date nights with my hubby!

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Krabi. It’s close to Singapore, has great food and the people are warm and open. I feel a sense of peace kayaking amidst the Hongs. In those moments, I can really reconnect to my inner self and my vision for what I want my life to be about.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Start with why” by Simon Sinek. When you are super clear on your ‘why’, the ‘how’ and ‘what’ fall into place.

Shameless plug for your business:
Through coaching, training and speaking, I empower schools, teachers and parents with the tools and research from positive psychology so they can raise the next generation of thriving kids. I also support business mums who want to have it all – a thriving business, a happy family and a positive impact on the world. Over the last 7 years, I’ve impacted more than 10,000 people in Singapore and beyond. Clients that have worked with me always commend my top quality work, deep knowledge of the field and practical application of the research that empowers them.

How can people connect with you?
They can find me:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shaen.yeo
Biz page: https://www.facebook.com/positiveeducation/
Website: http://www.positiveedu.com
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaenyeomapp/
Email: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
https://twitter.com/PositiveEduc

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

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

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Jace Koh believes cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Understanding it will enhance your ability to run and manage your business.

What’s your story?
My name is Jace Koh and I am the Founder of U Ventures. I’ve always been inclined towards investment and entrepreneurship. I’ve played a hand in starting businesses across these industries – professional services, cloud integration, software and music. I believe that succeeding in business is tough, but that’s what makes the rewards even sweeter.

What excites you most about your industry?
Everything excites me. These are my beliefs:

  • Why is accounting important?
    The accounting department is the heart. Cash flow is like blood stream, it pumps blood to various parts of the body like cash flow is pumped to various departments and/or functions in a business. It is vital to the life and death of the business.
  • Is accounting boring?
    Accountants are artists too. They paint the numbers the way they want them to be.
  • What makes a good accountant?
    A good accountant can tell you a story about the business by looking at the numbers.
  • Why is budgeting and projection important?
    Accountants are like fortune tellers, they can predict the numbers and if you wish to understand your business and make informed decisions, feel free to speak to our friendly consultants to secure a meeting.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and here’s where I want to be.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city. We have great legal systems in place, good security and people with integrity. Most importantly, we have a government that fosters a good environment for doing business. I recently went for a cultural exchange programme in Hong Kong to learn more about their startups. I found out that the Hong Kong government generally only supports local business owners in terms of grants. They’ve recently been more lenient and changed the eligibility to include all businesses that have at least 50% local shareholding. But comparing that to Singapore, the government only requires a 30% local shareholding to obtain government support. In the early days of starting a business, all the support you can get is precious. It’s great that we have a government that understands that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best time ever to plant a tree was 10 years ago as the tree would have grown so big to provide you with shelter and all. When is the next best time to plant a tree? It is today. Because in 10 years time, the tree would have grown big enough to provide you shelter and all.

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His journey to success is one of the most inspiring as it proves that with determination and great foresight, even the poorest can turn their lives around. I personally relate to his story a lot, and this is my favourite quote from him, “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve faced multiple rejections throughout my business journey, and recently came across a fact on Jack Ma about how he was once rejected for 32 different jobs. It resonated very deeply and taught me the importance of tenacity, especially during tough times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I live a life with no regrets. Everything I do, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, happy or sad, and regardless of outcome, it’s a lesson with something to take away.

How do you unwind?
I love to pamper myself through retail therapy and going for spas. I also make a conscious effort to take time off work to have a break outside to unwind as well as to uncloud my mind. This moment of reflection from time to time helps me see more clearly on how I can improve myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan! Good food with no language barriers and the people are great!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Mostly, I learn from my daily life and interactions with hundreds of other business owners. To me, people tell the most interesting stories.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re not just corporate secretaries, we’re “business doctors.”
U Ventures is a Xero certified advisory firm that goes beyond traditional accounting services to provide solutions for your business. You can reach us on our website: http://uventures.com.sg/

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacekoh/

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

Ray Ferguson, Founder of Caber Partners

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Ray Ferguson left the banking world and returned to Asia to explore exciting fintech opportunities.

What’s your story?
I am the Founder of Caber Partners, a Singapore based MAS Licensed Fund Manager and Financial Advisor investing and working with companies focused exclusively on the intersection of finance and technology. I work specifically in the areas of payments, insurance, wealth management, alternative lending and blockchain.

I am also Chairman of Singapore Life which was founded last year. It is the first new local life company in Singapore. Concurrently, I chair Youtap a business which is creating a cashless e-money processing backbone providing real-time interoperable settlements of all consumer e-money payments to the merchants, e-money providers, retail and FMCG distribution groups, and banks across emerging markets.

My 30 year journey as a banker had its main leg with Standard Chartered Bank, where I held multiple country chief executive and regional leadership roles across four continents. I spent 6 years as Regional CEO, South East Asia and Chief Executive, Singapore. After Standard Chartered, I moved to Bank ABC, Bahrain and assumed the role of Group Chief Banking Officer where I took care of the group’s banking businesses worldwide.
Last year, I decided to step down after 3 years from my role with Bank ABC to return to Asia to pursue interesting and exciting opportunities that fintech disruption was providing.

What excites you most about your industry?
The sheer pace of technological innovation in the financial sector, and how it is up-ending the traditional models and traditional players. There are huge implications and benefits for efficiency, transparency and importantly financial inclusion which will drive growth in emerging markets.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have lived in and worked in Asia for more than 30 years. I first came to Singapore in 1994 and today I am a proud Singapore citizen, and to me Singapore is home.

Its an invigorating environment. Asia is in the middle of an historic transformation. If it continues to follow its recent trajectory, by 2050 its per capita income could rise sixfold in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms to reach Europe’s levels today. It would make some 3 billion additional Asians affluent by current standards. By nearly doubling its share of global gross domestic product (GDP) to 52 percent by 2050, Asia would regain the dominant economic position it held some 300 years ago, before the industrial revolution. This is a big deal and I’m excited to be part of it!

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Singapore! Singapore is known for being a business-friendly country and it was crowned the best country in World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business List” and ranks as the top 3 in the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitive Index.” Singapore is an attractive hub, for both businesses and has a great community to live in.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Listen intently and you will know what you don’t know.

Who inspires you?
Nelson Mandela

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That the global mobile wallet market was valued at approximately USD 594 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach approximately USD 3,100 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 32% between 2017 and 2022.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have learnt to code.

How do you unwind?
Exercise, golf and sailing large catamarans.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket. Easy to reach, Thai people and service, breadth of choice of locations/accomodation and great sailing weather.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Good to Great – Jim Collins. It’s about how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how and why most companies fail to make the transition.

Shameless plug for your business:
Caber Partners team is uniquely connected with our networks and experience in fintech markets, investing and banking and business growth solutions throughout Asia and across the emerging world.

How can people connect with you?
Come connect with me through my LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rayfergusonscb

Twitter handle?
Rayferguson888

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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