Brenda Can Help You Regain Your Power
What’s your story?
I broke 2 Singapore records, wrote a best-selling book, and got cited by our Prime Minister at the National Day rally in 2008. Though these accolades did not happen overnight.
Having flunked my O’levels, I enrolled in The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) school that was meant for the least academically inclined students in Singapore. Despite being labelled as a lost cause, I eventually made it through tertiary, and found a job at a global multinational corporation. By age 26, I was managing close to 100 staff, and my story was picked up by Prime Minister Lee.
Having been blessed with guidance from mentors in my journey, I find it immensely rewarding as an author, coach and trainer to inspire and help my clients to become more empowered versions of themselves professionally, and in life. During my free time, I volunteer as a mentor at the Singapore Women’s Prison and ITE, as a way of giving back.
What excites you most about your industry?
It’s not very exciting now, with the retrenchment happening, and the increasing rate of people feeling disempowered. I see people feeling lonely and suffering from depression. There are a lot of uncertainties among my clients and friends. Being in this space is really how I can offer support to help people through life and career transitions.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I have lived here all my life, except for 3 years in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where I set up a business unit. During my stay, I witnessed mild riots, daylight robberies and experienced how the cab I was in, almost got its windows smashed! Travelling back only for weekends, and always trying to beat the 2-3 hour traffic jams, taught me to truly appreciate my own country!
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Vietnam! I was really impressed when I was first invited to give a 2 day talk there. I found it to be a lovely country with a wide variety of unique, local food. And, I was pleasantly surprised by the spirit of the Vietnamese people. They are such fighters, with a can do attitude. They are also tenacious and take pride and joy in their work.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Success is not always measured by dollars, but by the people and souls you touch and teach as you travel your path in life”. This was advice by my mentor.
Who inspires you?
I have been inspired by many teachers and mentors from whom I’ve learnt, and one of them is my best friend! He is a very unassuming man who is financially free, very humble and low profile. He is an idea generating machine, and faithfully records them every day in his journal. He takes photographs of labels, packaging, and even retail shopfronts. Not because they look great. They capture his attention for their advertising and concepts, so he archives them as if they were treasures! Most importantly, he teaches me how we can choose to look at things differently.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The importance of proper discernment of conspiracy theories and fake news, especially these days. Our discernment can be an illusion. What we think is not true, may be true after all. Imagine many people believing something to be not true that really is true, and then acting, based on that belief. It can potentially create upheaval or unfavorable change and perhaps have a negative impact on society.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started theatre and acting classes as a child! When I was young, my family was not able to afford it when ACT3, a drama academy, came to my primary school. So I watched, with envy, as other kids signed up. Well, now that I am independent, it is on my bucket list. My closest theatre experience was doing a few rounds of Improvisation Comedy in 2019, after taking some classes.
How do you unwind?
I do calisthenics. Working out is a great way to shake off all the tension and stuck energies!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan! I’ve been there 3 times. I like the weather, the city life, and the zen side too. Shojin ryori is a traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, and it is something that I love. You cannot get it just anywhere. I need to go back again!
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Prosperity Consciousness: How to Tap Your Unlimited Wealth,” by Fredric Lehrman.
You can have the most brilliant business idea but a really “broke” money mindset. Poor money habits can potentially set you back.
Shameless plug for your business:
As a career and life transition coach, I help people regain the power they never knew they had, conquer their fears and find the courage to step into the life of their dreams! I am currently offering a free e-course to those in career transition or exploring entrepreneurship. Feel free to hop right in: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MakeYourMarkWithBrenda/
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ 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 and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.