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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

Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings

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Malcolm Tan is an ICO/ITO and Cryptocurrency advisor. He sees this new era as similar to when the internet launched.

What’s your story?
I’m a lawyer entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses, and who is now stepping into the Initial Coin Offering/Initial Token Offering/Cryptocurrency space to be a thought leader, writer (How to ICO/ITO in Singapore – A Regulatory and Compliance Viewpoint on Initial Coin Offering and Initial Token Offering in Singapore), and advisor through Gravitas Holdings – an ICO Advisory company. We are also running our own ICO campaign called AEXON, and advising 2 other ICO’s on their projects.

What excites you most about your industry?
It is the start of a whole new paradigm, and it is like being at the start of the internet era all over again. We have a chance to influence and shape the industry over the next decade and beyond and lead the paradigm shift.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m Singaporean and most of my business revolves around the ASEAN region. Our new ICO advisory company specialises in Singaporean ICO’s and we are now building partnerships around the region as well. One of the core business offerings of our AEXON ICO/ITO is to open up co-working spaces around the region, with a target to open 25 outlets, and perhaps more thereafter.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, since it is my hometown and most of my business contacts originate from or are located in Singapore. It is also a very open and easy place to do business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be careful of your clients – sometimes they can be your worst enemies. This is very true and you have to always be careful about whom you deal with. The closest people are the ones that you trust and sometimes they have other agendas or simply don’t tell you the truth or whole story and that can easily put one in a very disadvantageous position.

Who inspires you?
Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath and genius and leader in many fields, and in today’s world, Elon Musk for being a polymath and risk taker and energetic business leader.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Early stage bitcoin investors would have made 1,000,000 times profit if they had held onto their bitcoins from the start to today – in the short space of 7 years.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Seek out good partnerships and networks from day one, and use the power of the group to grow and do things together, instead of being bogged down by operations and going it alone from start.

How do you unwind?
I hardly have any time for relaxation right now. I used to have very intense hobbies, chess when I was younger, bridge, bowling, some online real time strategy games and poker. All mentally stimulating games and requiring focus – I did all these at competitive levels and participated in national and international tournaments, winning multiple trophies, medals and awards in most of these fields.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket – nature, resort life, beaches, good food and a vibrant crowd.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki

Shameless plug for your business:
Gravitas Holdings (Pte) Limited is the premier ICO Advisory company and we can do a full service for entrepreneurs, including legal and compliance, smart contracts and token creation, marketing and PR, and business advisory and white paper writing/planning.

How can people connect with you?
Write emails to [email protected], or [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@malcolmABM

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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William Chin, Founder of Mummy’s Market

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William Chin set up Mummy’s Market. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore.

What’s your story?
After National Service, I enjoyed a rousing start to my corporate career with successful stints at events and conventions companies such as IQPC, Hannover Fairs Australia and Lighthouse Independent Media in management roles, building my experience in conventions, trade fairs and events.

However, I hit a particularly bad streak of unemployment after that, facing difficulty finding jobs because according to recruiters, I was overqualified, yet too young. In fact, at one point I was struggling so badly with my family loans that I was sharing bowls of ramen with my girlfriend for our meals, to save costs.

My financial pressures eventually culminated in my forced venture into entrepreneurship where I had to strike out my own path with a brief stint in Expomal. However, this turned out to be my next break that fuelled my current success. It was there I built up Smartkids (another wildly successful baby and child fair) before it was bought out by a bigger company. Inspired by SmartKids, I started Mummy’s Market and eventually Baby’s Market, outperforming established names in the business to take its current place as market leader.

What excites you most about your industry?
Mummy’s Market is the industry leader in baby, kids, maternity and household with 80% market share and our clients – coupled with branding, advertising and exhibiting on Mummy’s Market platforms, we are seeing a 30-60% company growth year on year despite the downturn in the economy. With attendance of over 100k consumers per fair and serving 70-80% of pregnant mums, our actual business is in data, data collection and processing from consumer fairs.

I am excited about how big data analytics from Mummy’s Market can be applied at every stage of the retail process such as data segmentation – for retailers now when mums are giving birth to sending relevant content over. This will transform and innovate the industry of baby fairs and Mummy’s Market, with the huge amount of data we process from our fairs yearly, is the forerunner in this disruption. With this, we have transformed the DNA of how digital business has always been done. Global online marketplaces are burning cash quickly to achieve big data analytics, but not us.

Another testament to Mummy’s Market’s popularity is that huge marketplaces have been trying to pass off as Mummy’s Market. It shows that we are heading in the right direction and the most exciting part is, we are only at 10% of where we want to be – a platform where $1 billion gross market value products are transacted annually around Asia in a niche market.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore, and intend to stay in Singapore to build the Mummy’s Market brand.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore – if one can strategically become a leader in a small market like Singapore, its grounds to show that one’s business has an opportunity to grow further in larger countries.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“It is easy to become number 1 because the others can just copy and tweak to overtake you.
It is more difficult to STAY number 1, because you have no one to copy. You have to innovate.”

Who inspires you?
Steve Jobs – he transformed the digital age. Without the invention of smartphones, mobile computing and mobile advertising would never have grown. He changed the way businesses and consumers communicate. Without the introduction of iPhones, mobile applications would have never existed the way we are using them today.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You no longer have to lick stamps to make it sticky.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I love my life and my family. And I love the platform Mummy’s Market has created to help businesses grow.

How do you unwind?
I play with my little 1 year old baby girl.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan – cool weather with beautiful mountains and lake scenery.

Everyone in business should read this book:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Shameless plug for your business:
Mummy’s Market has established its reputation as not just Singapore’s but Southeast Asia’s largest baby fair:

  • Nearly S$100 million gross merchandise volume transacted on Mummy’s Market platforms annually
  • 800,000 visitors at its fairs yearly
  • 80% of all of Singapore’s baby product distributors in one convention
  • 15-20% year on year increase in sales volume at every baby fair since its inception

Apart from market dominance, Mummy’s Market also has the largest database of parents and the number 1 platform for MNCs and SMEs to reach out to this audience. From exhibitions, magazines, seminars to digital campaigns and roadshows. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]
https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-chin-23910a9/

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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