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Catherine Molloy, Director of Auspac Business Advantage

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Catherine Molloy has enjoyed adapting to the Asian culture and way of life and is well and truly grounded across Asia with her businesses.

What’s your story?
We grow businesses and create courage and confidence through communication and our leadership programs. When I started my training company in 2010 I made a pledge to donate 10% of my earnings to worthy causes. Since 2012 I have been fundraising for orphans in Uganda and every 2 years we have been able to go over to Uganda and assist in the construction of their houses. I am a mother to 3 young adults and 2 dogs as well as being a wife, a daughter, a sister, friend, business owner, philanthropist, speaker, author and trainer.

What excites you most about your industry?
I am a learner so being in the field of training and education is the best job in the world. Every day I get paid to research and develop programs and facilitate the delivery. I love to take these tools to the wider audience so as to help clients increase sales, service and leadership with the overarching tool being communication. I get to meet 1000s of people globally and am able to see the differences and similarities of cultures and all human behaviour. I am blessed to be able to make friends worldwide whilst making a difference to their income, happiness and purpose.

What’s your connection to Asia?
My father read me beautifully illustrated books from China from a young age and one of my favourites was Tikki Tikki Tembo which I still have today. From the age of eighteen and onwards, I travelled to a lot of Asian countries loving the food, learning to communicate non verbally and loving the people I met. Four years ago I started working internationally. I am on the education task force for our council and I was asked to speak in China and from there, I have been invited back each year since to speak and train. I also worked in India last year and have been invited back again this year. I have worked in Singapore and Hong Kong this year with the main focus being to partner in Singapore and Shanghai to establish a soft skills training company. I also assist new Australian exporters research their product in different Asian countries with the view of exporting their products.

 

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
China was the first Asian country I was contracted to deliver speaking and workshops to. I love their food, their kindness, their humility and forgiving ways. Even though I am emotionally intelligent and train in this area I’m sure there are still a lot of customs I don’t know. I love working in Xiamen as it is near the beach and when I get a break I always head there for a rest under a tree. I have forged friendships with a number of people there and enjoy their food banquets and hospitality. I absolutely love eating with chopsticks much better than a knife and fork and love my soup breakfasts. I really enjoy working with simultaneous translators and have had awesome results at conferences because of these wonderful people. I am always inspired greatly by the people I meet and how much the Asians love to learn. My field of soft skills are now regarded as an important priority for people to get a job; stay happy and work effectively in teams. Working in countries where English is a second language means I am pushed to communicate in many different ways. Every time I have been to China (where I love the people), Hong Kong (I love the nightlife), India (I love the dancing) and Singapore (I love the business connections), I have successfully sealed a deal, so my communication skills are at a master level now!

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Believe in yourself, your business and your ideas. I truly believe each person on this planet is enough. I am enough and you are enough, and each and every day we can make a difference … Even if it is only smiling at a stranger.

Who inspires you?
I love Richard Branson for his simple methods of building teams. My parents for unconditional love and belief in me even though I lost them at a young age. My children for their love and support. My husband for his behind the scenes help in setting up events, training rooms and looking after the home when I am travelling and working in different countries. My team – all legends in their own right. All people who give from their heart. Eckhart Tolle, the author, for his inspiration and genius in understanding the human conditions which map my discoveries.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That so many of us are polymaths (someone of wide knowledge or learning). I love this word and I didn’t know I was one.
That all minds are Maya and eventually everyone will not be happy for some reason and that all the skills I have learnt and teach make a real difference to leading a better life and creating a bigger picture of happiness.
That everyone can achieve operational excellence and when put into place will encourage self-leadership and create performance at a higher level.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Believed in myself at a younger age. Commenced my soft skills training company earlier instead of running and owning a registered training company that was governed by government funding. Developing, researching, training and education is my great passion and I discovered at the age of 10 how much I loved teaching and learning and should have completed my bachelor in my teenage years. I have loved every experience I have had and the things I have been able to learn in each job.

How do you unwind?
Wherever I am or whatever country I am in, if I can get to the beach and put my feet in the sand – that is an awesome feeling and something which soothes my soul.
I also enjoy being absorbed in a good book, dancing, walking and swimming. Last time I was in China I climbed a 3000 ft mountain.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
There are too many to pick just one. I like the places with great food, culture, beach and surf. I have just spent 10 days relaxing and surfing in Bali, as well as visiting a few schools there. I truly can relax anywhere and I also make sure when I’m working, that I take a few days after to see the sights and become part of the country, mix with the people and eat the food, and if I get to dance well that’s just a bonus!

Everyone in business should read this book:
A NEW EARTH. Awakening to your life’s purpose….by Eckhart Tolle it was released in 2005 and The Million Dollar Handshake – How to powerfully connect in Business and Life by Catherine Molloy being released in March 2018! Both are self-help books.

Shameless plug for your business:
This year we have have won international awards for training and leadership around positive growth for business through sales and leadership. We also won an Asia Pacific award for the development and implementation of our conscious connection framework where we get to make a difference in the way we self lead and communicate to ourselves and others. ‘The Million Dollar Handshake, how to powerfully connect in business and life’ has been delivered this year in Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore and India. The book is now having the finishing touches applied for release for the new business year in 2018. It’s all about learning how to make yourself and others feel a million dollars by creating a level playing field for win-win results. It’s about making and keeping great connections as well as sealing deals and working internationally for successful business growth. It is aimed at the corporate world and universities to use for their students as they step out into the business world. It is a soft skill book working with proven tools for hard core business results. Also a plug for B1G1 as you create a better business, you will find the need to give is strong. When you give, so too shall you receive. We encourage people to have fun in their business to laugh and play, as business should be a little like kindergarten was when you were young, a place where you have fun and create the outcomes you would like to see in the world. These simple tools, skills and mindset lead to better business practices and a better and happier work place for all. Contact us if you would like an education framework tailored for your business with your people and outcomes in mind. Enjoy better results, play a bigger game and get ready for business growth. See our website for testimonials.

How can people connect with you?
Website: www.catherinemolloy.com.au
Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherinemolloy/
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/catherinemolloykeynotespeaker/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/catherinemolloyspeaker/
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc07VCr2KtVOCtxM2m4gjlg

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

Sun Ho, Founder of LittleLives Inc

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Sun Ho has an edtech business, LittleLives. She’s helping turn complex school operations into simple and enjoyable processes.

What’s your story?
I’m just a small town girl who won’t stop believing.
Someone recently told me that the curious little 10-year-old girl in me is still shining through with excitement for the world today. Although, now, instead of being curious about how things work, I am interested in how we can solve real world problems. Today, I get to learn and build everyday on our dream to turn complex school operations into simple and enjoyable processes.

What excites you most about your industry?
Have you been to a preschool lately? In our day-to-day, we get to hear the wonderful laughter of children. We see the innocent smiles of our little ones, who learn as they play. We meet the tirelessly loving educators, leaders and parents who give their best. These are the people we serve everyday at LittleLives. It excites us greatly to be in an industry that meaningfully impacts the future of our world. When we see a new feature we have implemented in our system helping to shave off minutes or hours of administrative work for schools (and put a smile on many faces), it is deeply satisfying.

What’s your connection to Asia?
LittleLives started in Singapore. We have since expanded to multiple cities in Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. Everywhere we go, we gain unique insights about different cultures. One thing that remains unchanged around the world is the passion to improve education. This includes the desire to refine school processes too. I absolutely love the people I work with, in schools and in my own team overseas. They have taught me so much about their cultures and countries.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It is so hard to choose one. We love Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Beijing and pretty much every city we have visited. Setting up in multiple Asian cities has really become faster and more transparent than ever before. What a time to be alive and working on a startup, and even more so for a young woman in Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be true to yourself.

As a woman and as the founder of a tech startup, I have heard the many ways in which people express their surprise that I do not fit into – for lack of a better word – the norm. I am my own mix of feminine and geeky. I have a computer science background that I am passionate about and, at the same time, I love fun aesthetics and product development. Technology is an industry in which venture capitalists traditionally favour white, male founders as the stats show a concentration of success in this small demographic. Despite this, I have found that the people around me will respect me for being me because I let my personality and passion take the stage.

Who inspires you?
Beth Fredericks, the Executive Director at Wheelock College. She is a wonderful educator, leader and orator. At 67, she is as active as any young teacher and as wise as the oldest, most experienced professor. She has inspired so many early childhood educators with her stories, her teaching and above all, her warmth and delightful personality. She has contributed so much to the early childhood field here in Asia, and all over the world, over the span of her illustrious career. Her charm and kind heart makes her one of the most sought-after collaborators in our industry today. Yet, she remains humble, approachable and personable. Her enthusiasm for education and children, coupled with her infectious humour, are what I aspire to.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
What continues to blow me away every time I witness it, is incredible potential that can be unlocked when a great team comes together. When you put together bright, experienced, communicative and open-minded people in a team, miracles can happen.

Creative ideas that were recently put forth in a small ad-hoc project team are now being turned into a new product that LittleLives will soon offer. When we first began discussions, we had no idea where they would take us; the only thing we knew definitively was that we wanted to help educators gain better access to resources to help them in their everyday classroom. It all fell into place when our team started brainstorming ideas that were based on the problems we knew were present in early childhood education.

Now, we have the trial version of a new module, LittleAcademy, and I am in awe of how all of this came together. I would like to quote Margaret Mead here, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
To be honest, I would not change a thing. We made so many mistakes when we started this journey, but the lessons we learnt from our failures are what make us stronger today.

On a related note, there is this beautiful quote from Batman Begins:
Thomas Wayne asked, “Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

How do you unwind?
It is important for us to allow our body, mind and soul to unwind and recharge. Badminton is my go-to exercise. I play twice weekly to keep fit and nimble. Recently I have picked up Yoga Nidra with an excellent instructor who has opened my eyes to all the good that meditation does for our minds.

Beyond this, I find that spending time with my loved ones, friends and teammates helps me feel grounded and loved.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I travelled to China twice last year and truly fell in love with the country. It provides such a rich variety of experiences, from culture and art, to commerce and tech. I was in a constant state of amazement. It is a fast advancing nation that I really enjoy my time in, both learning and relaxing with the people I meet.

Everyone in business should read this book:
High Output Management by Andrew Grove, late CEO and Chairman of Intel. This is a book written in the 90s, but its ideas are still very much applicable to businesses today.

Andy lays out what you need to do to successfully manage your business in simple and concise terms. This does not mean that it is easy to grow as successfully as Intel did, but the book shows us that the path to greatness is apparent. What I personally love about this book is that it presents its ideas both logically and emotionally without judgement.

On the issue of an underperforming teammate, Andy offers a very simple explanation:
“When a person is not doing his job, there can only be two reasons for it. The person either can’t do it or won’t do it; he is either not capable or not motivated.”

And as a manager, all you can do is to train and motivate.

This is an excellent review of the book by Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz: https://a16z.com/2015/11/13/high-output-management/
I highly recommend this book to all entrepreneurs.

Shameless plug for your business:
LittleLives is a leading preschool edtech company with a strong presence in over 700 schools in Singapore, 20 in Vietnam, 130 in China and 100 in Malaysia. LittleLives develops and provides applications that allow preschools to record children’s administrative records digitally, from attendance-taking to portfolio management. In addition to reducing the hassle of physical filing and documentation, the LittleLives system allows parents to keep track of the progress of their children’s learning at school through LittleLives parents’ app.

As an edtech company, LittleLives does more than facilitate day-to-day school operations. In 2017, LittleLives hosted the first ever International Pre-school Conference in Kuala Lumpur, which was attended by educators representing 1200 preschools in the region. LittleLives has helped over 215,000 children, 430,000 parents and 23,000 teachers bring schools into the 21st century and we are hoping to continue empowering many more around the world.

Reach out to us if you are involved in education or entrepreneurship. We’re always happy to chat!

How can people connect with you?
Just drop me an email at [email protected].

Twitter handle?
With so much to say, 140 characters is not enough. Hence, it is best to follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/littlelivesbigdreams), Instagram (littlelives_inc), YouTube (youtube.com/user/hosunSG), and check out our LittleLives Blog (blog.littlelives.com) to get to know us better!

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

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

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Jace Koh believes cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Understanding it will enhance your ability to run and manage your business.

What’s your story?
My name is Jace Koh and I am the Founder of U Ventures. I’ve always been inclined towards investment and entrepreneurship. I’ve played a hand in starting businesses across these industries – professional services, cloud integration, software and music. I believe that succeeding in business is tough, but that’s what makes the rewards even sweeter.

What excites you most about your industry?
Everything excites me. These are my beliefs:

  • Why is accounting important?
    The accounting department is the heart. Cash flow is like blood stream, it pumps blood to various parts of the body like cash flow is pumped to various departments and/or functions in a business. It is vital to the life and death of the business.
  • Is accounting boring?
    Accountants are artists too. They paint the numbers the way they want them to be.
  • What makes a good accountant?
    A good accountant can tell you a story about the business by looking at the numbers.
  • Why is budgeting and projection important?
    Accountants are like fortune tellers, they can predict the numbers and if you wish to understand your business and make informed decisions, feel free to speak to our friendly consultants to secure a meeting.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and here’s where I want to be.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city. We have great legal systems in place, good security and people with integrity. Most importantly, we have a government that fosters a good environment for doing business. I recently went for a cultural exchange programme in Hong Kong to learn more about their startups. I found out that the Hong Kong government generally only supports local business owners in terms of grants. They’ve recently been more lenient and changed the eligibility to include all businesses that have at least 50% local shareholding. But comparing that to Singapore, the government only requires a 30% local shareholding to obtain government support. In the early days of starting a business, all the support you can get is precious. It’s great that we have a government that understands that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best time ever to plant a tree was 10 years ago as the tree would have grown so big to provide you with shelter and all. When is the next best time to plant a tree? It is today. Because in 10 years time, the tree would have grown big enough to provide you shelter and all.

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His journey to success is one of the most inspiring as it proves that with determination and great foresight, even the poorest can turn their lives around. I personally relate to his story a lot, and this is my favourite quote from him, “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve faced multiple rejections throughout my business journey, and recently came across a fact on Jack Ma about how he was once rejected for 32 different jobs. It resonated very deeply and taught me the importance of tenacity, especially during tough times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I live a life with no regrets. Everything I do, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, happy or sad, and regardless of outcome, it’s a lesson with something to take away.

How do you unwind?
I love to pamper myself through retail therapy and going for spas. I also make a conscious effort to take time off work to have a break outside to unwind as well as to uncloud my mind. This moment of reflection from time to time helps me see more clearly on how I can improve myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan! Good food with no language barriers and the people are great!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Mostly, I learn from my daily life and interactions with hundreds of other business owners. To me, people tell the most interesting stories.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re not just corporate secretaries, we’re “business doctors.”
U Ventures is a Xero certified advisory firm that goes beyond traditional accounting services to provide solutions for your business. You can reach us on our website: http://uventures.com.sg/

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacekoh/

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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