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Steph Chu, Women’s Leadership Coach

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I’ve been lucky enough to start working with Steph on a couple of projects and it is great to see the energy and knowledge she brings to her work.  

What’s your story?
I grew up in a small town in Sabah, Malaysia, which had 3 main roads and not much else.  After completing university in Australia, I was privileged to join Accenture, working with financial institutions like DBS, ANZ, and CIMB. I had a great 16 year career, working in 8 different countries across 4 continents.

Unfortunately, I burnt out in my 10th year and it took 6 months of personal development and coaching to help me realise where I went wrong.  I went back to Accenture, renewed and had another amazing 6 years with them.  I realised that my mindset was the only thing that was making a difference in my entire experience.

I made the decision to leave Accenture and start my own women’s leadership coaching company as I wanted to help other women grow their teams and careers without burning out.

What excites you most about your industry?
Coaching provides a safe space for people to work through their fears and insecurities, without the fear of being judged or analysed.  For a lot of us, we don’t have someone to talk to who is there as our personal cheerleader and also our accountability partner.

Magic happens when we are able to bounce ideas off a neutral, trusted party, have them listen, question and encourage us when needed.  The key is also that they hold us accountable to the actions that we have committed to.

Just as all elite athletes have coaches, I believe every elite leader should have a coach.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’ve coached women from Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. What I’ve noticed is that for Asian women, the glass ceiling seems much thicker. As an Asian woman myself, I understand what it takes for an Asian woman to navigate her way through our patriarchal culture and even internal self-beliefs. For the non-Asian expatriate woman leading teams in Asia, having a female Asian coach who has led teams as an expatriate in 4 continents, helps too.

Athena Talk IMG_4182

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, because it’s uber efficient, clean, safe and very supportive of business owners.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Feel the fear and do it anyway.

This is a great piece of advice because whenever we want to do something new, something out of our comfort zone, fear is the number 1 emotion that will be coursing through our veins. When I made the decision to quit a steady corporate job and start my own business, I felt a lot of fear as starting a business was the great unknown.  However, I remembered this piece of advice and so I felt the fear and did it anyway.

Who inspires you?
Oprah Winfrey is an amazing woman and role model.  She came from a very underprivileged background, was abused when she was younger, and she still managed to create her media empire today.

Her ‘never say die’ attitude is something that we can all learn from.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Lea Coligado wrote an article about the amount of sexism she faced as a female student in computer science at Stanford.  In the 21st century, we would expect equality of the sexes to be more prevalent, especially at institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately, in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, it seems like we have not made much progress. When both Lea and a male classmate landed summer internship gigs at Facebook, a mutual friend was initially impressed by the male classmate’s intelligence at being accepted by Facebook.  When Lea, said she too was at Facebook, the friend made a comment that he should have applied, implying that if Lea, a woman, could get in, then obviously it wasn’t too hard.

As we try to encourage more young women to enter STEM, we must first ensure that we are encouraging both men and women to recognise each others strengths and contributions regardless of gender. We must level the playing field, or else we will be losing women in the workforce and all that hard work in getting more girls to enter STEM will be for naught.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing.  My journey has made me who I am today and I want to use my mistakes to help others.  I hope that they can learn from my mistakes, instead of making them.

How do you unwind?
Hanging out with my partner and my friends.  Nothing beats good food, good wine, good company and great conversation.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Any beach destination.  The sea has always been a soothing influence on me.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.  This book introduced to me the power of the mind and how beliefs impact our actions.  

His book is one of my inspirations for my upcoming book “ Effective Leadership for Women:  Building High Performance Teams“.  In my book, I teach women how to “activate” their leadership, by first working through their self-limiting beliefs and replacing them with enabling ones.

Shameless plug for your business:
I specialise in coaching women leaders who want to accelerate their career or their own business, without becoming overwhelmed . I’ve distilled my 16 years of leadership experiences into a 5-step leadership framework. Through a 12-session coaching programme, I help women leaders adopt my leadership framework. Over 3 – 6 months, they will learn to build teams that consistently overdeliver. I will even coach them through the implementation process, if they desire.

How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.stephchu.com
LinkedIn: Steph Chu
Facebook: www.facebook.com/StephChuCoaching
Twitter: @stephchucoach

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

Jasmine Tan, Director of Stone Amperor

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Jasmine saves her clients time and effort when doing kitchen fit outs with her biz Stone Amperor.

What’s your story?
I started working in the industry in 2003. I was in a marble and granite supplier company for 5 years. Even though I left the company, I still had customers calling me for my services. I referred them back to my previous company but they refused to because they loved the fast response service that I offered. I realised that customers do look at prices, however most of them prefer quality over quantity. Thus I have decided to establish a sole proprietor company also known as 78 Degrees which later rebranded as Stone Amperor in 2014.

What excites you most about your industry?
The kitchen countertop industry is a very confusing market. There are many brands, materials and prices to choose from. What excites me the most is my ability to help clients choose the best materials and brands within their budgets, whilst saving them time and effort.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have been in Asia all my life and I love Asia. No matter where you go there is no place like home.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Singapore. This is because Singapore has always been a stable country and it is great for doing business. However as it is a small country, it can be really competitive. I believe that if just do your best and give your best to your customers, you can overcome this.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Take actions. Learn and improve continuously. An idea without action is just a dream.” This was really good advice that I received from my partner.

Who inspires you?
A very down to earth billionaire from Malaysia, Robert Kuok

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Property is the foundation of every business.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Own instead of renting property for my business.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy going shopping, watching movies and hanging out with friends. I am quite a simple being.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love going to Taiwan as I love the culture there. Everyone is so polite and the weather is great.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Sun Tzu, Art of war

Shameless plug for your business:
Perfect top, Perfect price, Perfect life from Stone Amperor

How can people connect with you?
Email me at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@StoneAmperor

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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Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy

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Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (https://www.chillicrab.com/nationalday)

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/djtehkh) or visit www.rebirthacademy.sg for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @ www.tinyurl.com/dexclar

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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