Enjoying the ride. Renee Xavier takes time to smell the flowers when her legal practice gets too much.
What’s your story?
I qualified as a lawyer in 1990. I am a qualified Barrister of the United Kingdom, an Advocate & Solicitor of Malaysia and an Advocate and Solicitor of Singapore. I started my practice as a litigator in civil and commercial matters and then moved to a practice specialising in real estate and property law and then to banking and corporate law. I came full circle when I was offered a job in one of Singapore’s largest IP Consultancy firms. Practicing pure IP law there, I knew I had found my true calling.
Off work, I enjoyed going into every detail of IP on a daily basis not just from the legal aspect but also from a business aspect. I was not happy with just focusing my practice on the protection of IP. I wanted businesses to utilise their IP to generate revenue. I discovered 10 years ago that there was a broader category of intangible assets which were so much wider and when combined with the IP of the business, this made up almost 80% of a business’s assets. These assets were under utilized and as far as Singapore companies were concerned, these assets were unknown to them.
In 2003 I founded the brand Alpha & Omega to practice IP law. My mission was to bring the value and benefits of using IP as a value driver to Singapore businesses and raise awareness in Singapore in collaboration with IP and respect of IP. I started advising my clients to look beyond protection, to commercialising their IP assets by making small but steady inexpensive changes in their way of thinking, business goals and strategy. It’s been a long journey but today Alpha & Omega’s practice focuses on helping its clients (individuals, start-ups, SMEs, multinationals and not-for-profits) plan and carry out business growth via business modeling and ultimately moving the product from napkin to market. Our goal for all our clients is sustainable growth and profits.
On a personal front, I am enjoying my practice. I left the corporate race 12 years ago but I continue to enjoy being involved in the corporate world at my own pace. When life starts to pass a little too fast for me and my team, I make the decision for all of us to step back and smell the roses without compromising our clients’ businesses. I am truly enjoying the ride!
What excites you most about your industry?
My clients share with me on a daily basis their new ideas and inventions. There is daily exposure to the business passions of others. Hearing about my clients dreams and being part of it.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I am Asian. I bring Asian IP expertise to my foreign clients and Singapore clients. Not just expertise in the practice of IP Law but (particularly to my foreign clients), expertise in business culture and governance. I love the Asian in me and how I am able to practice IP and Corporate Law with Asian values.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore: It is relatively easy to do business in. Singapore businesses are blessed to have a very supportive business focused government. Our strong and stable government has lead to strong foreign investment from multinationals and research institutes who also park their Intellectual Property Assets in Singapore. I love the vibrancy of the startup scene in Singapore and the many not-for-profit initiatives that contribute to the whole ecosystem of business in Singapore.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I was a very young lawyer advising an elderly, successful, Japanese businessman. One day he invited me to lunch with his family and told me, that to succeed in business, never say you can’t do something your client asks of you. Always say you can and then work very hard and find out how to do it and deliver it. I have since put this to practice, understanding my clients’ needs and limitations and trying my best to find powerful solutions for them.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by the unknowns in this world. The ordinary people. The elderly cleaners in our office tower and food courts, young people from broken families or who live in poverty who try to make something for themselves, the man/woman on the street who works two or three jobs to put food on the table and educate their children.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
On a business level, some of my client’s inventions (which I can’t name). On a personal level, the atrocities that seem to take place almost daily and the changing values of the human race, blow me away.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing much, perhaps take a few more risks!
How do you unwind?
Spending time in prayer and being with my family, cooking for them and eating with them.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Sri Lanka. It’s a beautiful country. It has an exciting city, Colombo, idyllic beaches and hilltop resorts. The food is great and most of the people are friendly and laid back.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I believe everyone should read articles on business strategy, branding and Intellectual Property to achieve sustainable long-term business growth.
Shameless plug for your business:
If you are looking for down to earth, straight talking, leading expertise in Intellectual Property Law and Intangible Assets, and you desire sustainable business growth, get in touch with us. We underpromise and overdeliver always (especially if you are as nice as us)! We listen to you, understand your goals and limitations and collaborate with you to achieve powerful solutions.
How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum 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.
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