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Vinita Rashinkar, Founder of Amara Vedic

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Vinita is hoping to help people understand themselves better, bringing good health hope and fulfillment into their lives.

What’s your story?
I moved to a small town in South India (Mysore) after I got married at the age of 20. I continued my studies after motherhood at 21 and completed my masters in English literature and took up my first job at a new generation bank several years later as there were few opportunities in Mysore at the time. My heart was not in banking and I was seeking a vocation which led me into the realm of vedic wellness. I started studying Ayurveda and yoga alongside my career as a Marketing Manager at Indus Valley Ayurveda Center. After 5 years, I joined the Windflower Group during its inception and went on to set up their wellness division and also headed up marketing for the group. Last year, I moved to Germany to set up Amara Vedic Wellness and today we have our flagship center in Dusseldorf with plans for rapid expansion across Europe.

What excites you most about your industry?
The quest for wellness is universal and has always featured prominently in human history. Every morning I wake up knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life by helping them understand themselves better. In my counseling sessions, I focus on helping my patients feel more connected with their own bodies, minds and with the universe at large. After meditation classes, I get feedback from students that they find themselves much more calm and relaxed, they adopt healthier lifestyle habits and sleep better. This for me is the ultimate high. I am grateful to be a catalyst for change, bringing good health, hope and fulfillment into many lives. This is the most exciting aspect of being part of the wellness world.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and brought up in Bangalore and spent 25 years in Mysore before moving to Dusseldorf. The work that I do is intricately linked with India as we offer ancient healing techniques to resolve modern health issues. I believe that Asian traditions and our deep rooted culture has much to offer the world in all aspects of life. From the perspective of wellness, Asian healing traditions can be used very effectively to combat ailments that are common in modern times. The benefits of the spiritual ethos that pervades everyday life in Asia is something that can be made available to every human being to help them improve their own life condition.

vinita image 2 amara logo

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
In Asia, I would favour Mysore for my line of business because it has already established itself as the wellness capital with several influential yoga teachers being based there and also it has many reputed Ayurveda institutes and practitioners. Mysore is also home to many revered spiritual leaders and Vedanta teachers. The city itself is noted for its heritage buildings and palaces and is known to be the cleanest city in India with the lowest pollution levels.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It was at Harvard Business School where our professor always started the class with the lines from Peter Drucker: “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” I have heeded this advice every single day and I take risks all the time. By risks, I don’t mean major gambles which may jeopardise but minor ones like reaching out to people and companies as a shot in the dark or always being on the lookout for speaking and writing opportunities. I will not be lulled into a false sense of security and would like to lead a life of adventure and excitement, not cocooned in my comfort zone.

Who inspires you?
I derive inspiration from every woman I meet. This is particularly so of women who are mothers and who have to maintain a fine balance between work and family and yet aim for self actualisation. I am inspired by people who have found success after going through great difficulty and after putting in much effort and the stories of their struggles always motivate me to aim higher and achieve more. I have drawn a great deal of inspiration from Oprah Winfrey at times when I felt completely defeated by life. Of late, Lisa Nichols and Vishen Lakhiani, both motivational speakers, have been a source of inspiration.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I read a quote from Carl Jung recently which said, “No tree can grow to the heavens unless its roots reach down in hell.” This is particularly true of any entrepreneur’s journey. One is plagued by endless self doubt on the path to the realisation of one’s dreams. Difficulties arise, tremendous challenges loom large before us, but we have to plod on knowing that success is just around the corner. Giving up is not an option for those of us who put everything at risk to pursue our heart’s calling.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have deliberated more on various business decisions. As an entrepreneur, I was raring to go and did not completely think things out till the very end. Many decisions were taken not fully understanding the long term consequences. If I had another chance, I would have been more meticulous in my planning, I would have made a greater effort to learn more things about the business environment, government regulations, tax implications, labour laws and most importantly, I would be less trusting of people who over-promise and under-deliver.

How do you unwind?
I meditate for 20 minutes in the morning before I begin my day and 20 minutes in the evening as the day comes to an end. This time spent with myself is non negotiable and helps me handle stress efficiently and I have learnt to be equanimous at all times regardless of the situation I find myself in. I also love to write and I am presently working on a book about transformation using vedic tools and simultaneously on a compendium of short stories.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Maldives for its pristine beaches, amazing resorts and spectacular spas. Having been in the hospitality business for more than a decade had actually dampened my excitement for vacations but moving to Europe with its cold weather makes me crave the sun and the beaches. Sri Lanka is also a favourite for its cuisine and warm hospitality.

Everyone in business should read this book:
‘When breath becomes air’ by Paul Kalanithi is a must read for everyone. For me the book served as a harbinger of hope. We all need to understand the utter frailty of our lives and how precious each moment is, given the uncertainty of life. This is especially true for all of us who are active in their pursuit of business and forget to take a moment to acknowledge the sheer beauty of a regular day spent doing nothing.

Shameless plug for your business:
At Amara Vedic Wellness, it is our endeavour to make you feel good about yourself. We help you in your quest for wellbeing and we focus on all three dimensions of your being – the body, mind and soul. We teach you to invest in yourself and enjoy the benefits that accrue and lead a richer, more fulfilled life.

How can people connect with you?
Please email me at [email protected] or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vinitarashinkar or Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/vinitarashinkar and follow our instagram account ‘Amara Vedic Wellness’.

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

CallumConnectsCallum 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.

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

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

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

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

Chrystie Dao-Szabo, Founder of iPayMy

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Chrystie Dao-Szabo founded iPaymy for Business – a secure and easy to use
platform enabling SMEs to pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today.

What’s your story?
I’m Chrystie Dao-Szabo, and I’ve worked as an international banker for over 22 years. During that time, I travelled through Asia, Australia and Europe, and everywhere I saw how my clients struggled with managing their finances and keeping cash around.

I wanted to use my experience to help them, but I also knew the solution they needed didn’t exist yet. This pushed me to give up on my secure career, and instead look into the innovative world of FinTech for an answer.

This is how I founded iPaymy – at its launch, a platform to help consumers pay their monthly expenses using their credit cards. We’ve grown a lot since, and today, iPaymy for Business is a platform that allows business owners to use their credit cards to pay for rent, salaries, invoices and taxes, freeing up their cash for business-critical operations.

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me most about FinTech is it’s culture of constant disruption, thanks to cool and innovative products and services coming out every day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Vietnam, grew up in Australia and worked in Asia, Europe and Australia. Being raised by traditional Vietnamese parents meant that deep down I was still an Asian at heart, so I have a strong connection with the region.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course. It’s easy to do business, English is the main language, and the infrastructures like public transportation are great. Also, the government supports local innovation in multiple ways, like giving grants for SMEs and FinTechs.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Keep giving, and one day you will receive.

Who inspires you?
My parents. My father had a successful business in Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975. After the war, my father was sent to a re-education camp for three years, which meant my mum had to bring up two young kids – a 3-year-old, me and my 4-year old brother on her own.

In 1980, we all fled Vietnam on a boat and arrived in Sydney, Australia via refugee camps in Indonesia and Singapore. There, my parents had to start over with nothing to their names and only AUD 50 given to them by the Australian government.
They went on to build several businesses in Australia!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The number of young and smart people who have carved out successful careers by founding their own startups (or joining really cool ones). When I was starting out my career, doing any of these was not a viable option; it was either working for an accounting firm, an insurance company or a bank.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I were starting out my career now, I would choose the path of joining a startup as you get to learn so much about running a business and how to assemble a winning team.

How do you unwind?
I like travelling to a beach or a resort destination and just relaxing by the pool or beach. I also like to unwind after work with a glass of champagne or wine, and a bowl of truffle fries.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. I love the people and the spicy Thai food.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The E-Myth. It’s a book series that dismantles common myths about entrepreneurship in different industries.

Shameless plug for your business:
With iPaymy for Business, SMEs can pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today. SMEs love iPaymy because it works like a credit card, but pays like cash.

iPaymy’s secure and easy to use platform reliably delivers payments to vendors while freeing up cash and providing access to interest free credit. Forget the delays and aggravations that come with traditional SME financing options. Schedule recurring payments, manage invoices, set payment reminders, and monitor payment status all from one dashboard.

It’s never been easier for SMEs to meet monthly payment obligations while keeping cash available to fuel growth, bridge receivable gaps, and make immediate investment in the supplies, services, and expertise needed to drive a growing business forward.

How can people connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn or contact me by email.
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrystiedaoszabo/
My email: [email protected]

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

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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