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Women on Top in Tech – Sandra Yeow, Managing Director/Founder at Nucleo Consulting Pte Ltd.

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Here is my interview with Sandra Yeow, Managing Director and Founder of Nucleo Consulting Pte Ltd. As an entrepreneur, author and performer, She believe in creating value in everything she do including the fabulous service she provide to her clients. She enjoy building businesses but according to her views, life is not just about working. It’s about pursuing passion so that we can achieve our goals and dreams.

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What makes you do what you do?

It’s fun. And I guess that’s what everyone calls passion. But I feel there are more to it other than passion. I’m always a very curious person and like to get to the bottom of things. The constant change in IT keeps me curious and excited. I think you need that kind of energy to fuel your passion. I also enjoy helping people so seeing how people can work more efficiently and knowing that my work has impacted them, gives me a sense of satisfaction. Starting up Nucleo made me realised that I actually enjoy working with people and starting up businesses.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?

Determination, a heart to serve and a listening ear. I have a great team backing me up too, so that’s one of the key success factors. Of course, I never let the fact that I will be judged as a woman during meetings to get me down. I have to fight many times to make sure my voice is heard and they get it clear that I am a technical and not a sales person. Yes, it means I have to lose the feminine side of myself at times.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?

I was a Regional IT Manager and saw the gap in the market and decided to give it a shot. I always wanted to have my own IT company because then I can have all the freedom to bring in any interesting IT solution. But before getting to that part, it was a struggle to work 16 hours a day during the startup, handling all the administrative and operations work. Determination helps to eliminate all those challenges.  After all, YOLO right?

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?

I had a few. I read up on the tech giants’ founders – why and what they did, the kind of attitude needed. I also have a few friends who started businesses earlier than me, whom I look up to, even though they are all in different industries. They do share some valuable insights on the market, their industries, and their challenges as well. As my business grow, I met many other business owners who are very inspiring and more experienced. Some also offered their insights when they understood what we are doing for their business. So, I must say I have been quite lucky in this entrepreneurship path with guidance. In my opinion, having a mentor is like getting shortcuts and valuable advice that are not on books. It is so priceless. You can avoid pricy mistakes and avoid banging your head against the wall too.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?

As mentioned, I don’t have a permanent mentor per say. I learnt from various mentors from different industries.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?

My mantra is to make sure my staff gets work-life balance. We do profiling to spot the talent that would fit our corporate culture. We have a flexible work arrangement. The team gets to work from home most of the time. I see the team being more productive this way. None of them visit the office except the admin staff and even so the admin staff too get the flexibility. We work hard but we play hard too. Every year we will vote for a place to visit for company trip and the staff also undergoes training every 6 months to refresh their knowledge. I believe that as an organisation the more we groom our staff, the more we will benefit in long run and be a more sustainable organisation.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?

I consciously support diversity because I feel that with the globalisation of markets, it makes it even more possible to extend and reach out to talents, customers and solutions all over the world. It also allows us to bring good solutions to our customer if we identify that there is a good fit for our target market. Same goes for talents, I don’t see why we should be restricted to a particular gender, race or nationality.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?

To be a good leader, you need to be someone who can make a firm decision on the direction. There are too many new developments in IT. You need to be decisive and be well informed to gear the team forward. A bad decision is better than no decision! And be a fair leader.

Advice for others?

I’m writing my 1st book “Obstinacy Power – How Determination can Empower You and Make You a Winner”. It is based on my 6-step strategy to achieve any goals in life, a mantra that I have been following for years and achieved various milestones in my life. The book also marks the 10th year anniversary of my Subaru Challenge winning. Half of the book proceeds will also go to a charity that is close to my heart. There will also be an online portal following the book launch to provide some useful information for those who wish to startup. Just hope to share my experience and make others have a less painful path with lesser mistakes.


To learn more about Nucleo Consulting Pte Ltd, please see http://www.nucleoconsulting.com/.

I am a huge fan and cheerleader of Women Leaders — If you know of an AMAZING Woman Founder, CEO, Leader in Tech or you are one yourself — Write me here.
AMPLIFY Conscious Business Leadership with me.

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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