Being surrounded by passionate talent is key to success

Datin Norliza Razali started at IBM as a Client Relationship Manager. Developing and executing relationship plans, understanding client’s industry and at the same time identifying opportunities to develop various client-valued solutions helped her learn the ropes. With her passion for communication, client relationship and sales were then optimized in her various roles as Change Management Lead, Workstream Lead for one of the major oil and gas players in the country.

She then progressed to assume the position of Vice President and subsequently Deputy CEO at a Management Consulting company where she exercised her passion in strategic alliance, business developments and solutions provider. As an advocate of Technology, Datin Norliza has started a CSR programme with Pusat Penjagaan Anak Yatim An-Najjah where she has built a small computer lab for the children in the age group of 6 to 17 years of age.

She founded Tresdata Sdn Bhd focusing in Enterprise Asset Management, Technology Solutions, Big Data & IoT and Management Consulting.

A recipient of the Women Icons Malaysia award in 2019, Datin Norliza Razali shares her thoughts on making it as an entrepreneur in this chat with AsiaBizToday.

Charting out as an entrepreneur

I founded the current business in 2016. It started as my passion in technology and business. My background as an Electrical Engineer and the experience that I had gathered in the Utility and Oil and Gas industry provided a newfound passion in addressing the challenges of the industry in promoting automation with advanced technology enablement.

In my years with multinational companies, I gained the knowledge and built credible networks with business partners both in local and international. In order to build local capabilities, these are the partners that I collaborated to create local talents and contents for us to be able to serve our clients. Training and understanding our service offerings and client’s need are the things that I emphasized to ensure that all of my team have the same alignment and are able to work independently and together as a team when needed.

Motivation to get into this

I see the opportunities in the market to do something better than it has been done before, and therefore work out how we can deliver upon this notion. The market requires a good solution and what better way to do that than delivering it from our homegrown talent and solution provider.

Experiences running this business

It has been a great ride so far riding the waves of evolving trends, competitions and even technological advancement. The talents that we recruited too gave us the edge that we require from time to time. We learnt a lot throughout the process and I think that is the best experience so far; being able to learn, unlearn and relearn various processes, knowledge and insights while running this business.

Factors that keep you going

Knowing that I have people counting on me through this business. Not only that I am passionate in delivering effective solutions, but I am also passionate about developing talents. I believe in providing opportunities for talents to continue to grow and develop their professional and personal skills. Great talents produce innovative, out-of-the-world solutions while having the good work ethics. So even though one day, they may no longer be with me, I find a sense of pride seeing them flourish elsewhere, doing great wherever they are.

Challenges in running the business

Of course, obstacles are inevitable especially in doing business. But mostly it is about defying the social expectations especially among male entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, I believe that we made it to where we are today through hard work and perseverance, and most importantly, you’re there. Earning people’s trust and respect too can be challenging. Therefore, the confidence has to be intact in order to defy these challenges and emerge as a strong and competent entrepreneur.

Source of inspiration

Of course, my family has always been a great influence in this. I grew up with 3 generations of great businessmen among my family members, relatives and friends. The closest was my late father. His strength, determination and wisdom inspires me to work equally hard as him. I will always carry with me his spirit and I know that whatever I do, I do to the best of my ability and that will make my father proud.

Other than that, my mother and husband are two of my important support structures, always there to lend a helping hand and advise on the workarounds of the business.

I also seek inspiration from other prominent figures in the business world. I read and internalize their success secrets as part of my source of inspiration.

Proudest moment so far

Seeing how my team has grown. We work very closely with one another and I spend a great amount of time monitoring their progress and mentoring them. It is a great joy seeing their progress daily and eventually able to lead the projects or initiatives and own them. It truly is a proud moment being able to say that my team did it.

Definition of success

Success is a very personal thing. What drives me is spending majority of my time focused on work or tasks that are fulfilling, able to maximize my potential and help other people in a meaningful way. Seeing others succeed through this is another form of success for me too.

Advice to other aspiring Entrepreneurs, especially women

I strongly believe in the power of empowerment. Being a woman, it is not easy to pave the way in the business world especially with various stereotypes of how women, in general, do things. Nevertheless, with strong empowerment, budding women entrepreneurs can go far. It is crucial for us to continue encouraging one another to be authentic and most important unapologetic for being just us. Women entrepreneurs should be able to celebrate their wins, no matter big or small, with strong sense of pride. Therefore, to all the women entrepreneurs out there, empower one another and spread the good energy that you have to inspire more women to come onboard.

Being a mompreneur is like running a marathon

Focus, prioritization and an effective support team are crucial to success

Grace Park is the Co-Founder and President of DocDoc – Asia’s leading patient empowerment company, based out of Singapore.

A proud mompreneur today, she brings with her more than 19 years of leadership experience, nearly 13 of which were spent in international healthcare when she led large-scale teams of distributors and a direct-to-doctor, pan-Asian sales force for Fortune 500 companies. She joined the private healthcare sector with the vision to extend and enhance human lives. She strongly believes that it is possible to do good and do well at the same time.

Prior to DocDoc, Grace held leadership positions at Medtronic, most recently as the Managing Director for its ASEAN operations, leading the company to expand its footprint for medical technology in these markets.

In this free-wheeling interview with AsiaBizToday, she responds to a host of questions and shares her experiences of being a full-time mompreneur

Tell us briefly about your Career, Journey & Passion

I began my career as a Military Intelligence Army officer after graduating with honours from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the United States Army for five years, leaving as a Captain at the Pentagon. I arrived in Singapore as a Fulbright Fellow after my MBA from Harvard Business School alongside an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

In search for a great mission in the private sector, I joined global healthcare corporations to include Bristol-Myers Squibb where I managed local grants of +US$100M to support women and children with HIV/AIDS in 9 African countries, and Medtronic, most recently as the Managing Director for its Southeast Asia operations, leading the company to expand its medical technology footprint to benefit more patients in several developing countries.

After nearly 10 years in corporate healthcare, I began my entrepreneurship journey. Currently, I am the Co-founder & President of DocDoc, the world’s first patient intelligence company. DocDoc’s goal is to optimise healthcare outcomes and spending, and improve the patient’s end-to-end healthcare journey. DocDoc combines the power of artificial and human intelligence to deliver powerful healthcare solutions to insurance companies, corporates and governments.

What drove you to set up your current business?

The purpose of what DocDoc is today originates from a personal story of when my 90-day old infant daughter was diagnosed with a rare liver condition. The surgeon who broke the news to us insisted that my husband and I admit her into the hospital immediately to do a major surgery the next day and inevitably, she would undergo a liver transplant. Our lives had forever changed at that moment.

We asked the doctor a few questions to feel more confident that we were passing our child to the right medical team. “How many times have you done a liver transplant? How much will it cost? Are your other patients thriving today post-transplant?” The senior doctor was not willing to give us guidance on his qualifications to perform the procedure. Instinctively, I contacted a close personal friend who was a doctor in the same hospital. We had done a medical mission a few years prior, and I knew he would be our patient advocate. He walked us out of that room and helped us in our global search to find the right doctor for our baby daughter.

 

Our chosen doctor was one of the pioneers of live liver transplants who had performed thousands of live liver transplants. He and his team based in Japan not only were the highest volume liver transplant team in the world, but also 60% less expensive than the first team that wanted to do the procedure but were far less experienced.

My husband and Co-Founder & CEO of DocDoc, Cole Sirucek, donated his liver to our daughter. The 15-hour operation was highly complex with several unique challenges. Thanks to the highly qualified team, a pediatric flipped live liver transplant was successfully completed, making my daughter the youngest patient in the world to undergo the procedure.  Thankfully, our daughter is thriving today.

As Cole was recovering in the ICU, we realised that what we needed to do at DocDoc is to empower patients with relevant and meaningful data points to make more informed decisions in their healthcare journey. We took up a challenge to do something that does not exist – to provide greater transparency in the healthcare sector.

What is your role in the current company

Like any entrepreneur, I wear multiple hats. My operational focus is leading the team that is responsible for expanding DocDoc’s doctor network across multiple countries. My ten years of professional experience in corporate healthcare has been immensely beneficial in this role. Today, we have established Asia’s largest doctor network of 23,000 doctors in eight countries. The medical community continues to embrace our vision. Well over 96% of the doctors we have approached in the last 6 months have signed up to be a part of our network.

Additionally, being a co-founder of DocDoc, I am the company’s spokesperson in the media and responsible for spreading the importance of our brand vision across the globe. Alongside this, my usual duties of a co-founder span into investor relations, company strategy, finance, human resources and business development.

Being a new mom and an entrepreneur couldn’t have been easy. What have been your experiences running a company as a mompreneur? Have you faced any obstacles in your initiatives?

With the “grass looking greener on the other side” mentality, mentees enquire how they too can start a new company, have a baby, and have a healthy, sustainable relationship with a significant other all at the same time.

First, I have been fortunate to have help. While my parents and relatives live far away, I have reliable and trustworthy domestic support, which was critical for the processes that I had put in place to ensure my household would function efficiently. While this setup freed me to focus at work, I was not able to outsource every task. The 3 am feeds disrupted my sleep!  Rest is critical for optimal performance, and I was hopeful to reach the end of this sleepless phase.  In the moment, it may seem that the sleepless phase never ends but have hope to endure as it shall pass.

Second, what is also not common about my situation is that my husband is also the Co-founder & CEO of DocDoc. We have learned over the years how to bring out the best in each other.  We focus on and play to our individual strengths, so we do not overlap each other very often but complement one another instead. We do have heated debates but through our shared values, we work through issues respectfully to come to a solution. Together, we aim to compartmentalise issues.  While work challenges or problems stay at the office, any personal disagreements stay at home and never overflow into the office.

To answer the question whether I faced obstacles for being a mompreneur, I have to say that I have faced discrimination since childhood, but I decided to move forward in ways to remove or bypass the obstacles and not dwell on it. Despite every person I had crossed paths with limiting beliefs on mompreneurs, I had the good fortune of meeting so many more who were amazing champions of supporting more women in tech leadership.

With DocDoc having over 85 employees today, I believe that the company is more than its founders.  Each colleague has a personal story in which if he or she or loved ones had access to the services of DocDoc, the outcomes of the personal situations may have been vastly different.  I am grateful for my colleagues who share our beliefs and commitment to achieve our operational goals because, together as a team, we can win.

Female founders are not a common sight in the tech space. Have you faced any challenges as a female co-founder building a tech company? How did you overcome them?

Being a double minority in my academic and workplace environments has been a constant norm throughout my life, whether at West Point, the Army, or the executive levels in global corporations.  After building a habit of getting out of my comfort zone, it becomes expected that anything worth doing will be challenging.

Many female founders face a common problem – lack of tech expertise. It’s not necessary for a founder of a tech company to have deep expertise in tech but they must be able to identify and bring in people who do. It is also important to identify what you as a founder bring to the table. For example, I have spent ten years in corporate healthcare working with doctors on the ground and leading large-scale Pan-Asian sales teams. This expertise directly correlates to my current role in DocDoc. I have spent the first half of my career studying and practising leadership in the US Army. The values and guiding principles instilled in me during those days continue to shape my approach to leadership at DocDoc.

How has being a mother impacted your work?

While I have been sensitive about timeliness due to my military training, I find myself more acutely aware of how little time we actually have in this world.  Based on this realisation, I spend my time on activities that truly matter whether that means spending quality time with family or working toward our vision to make a significant and positive impact in this world.

How do you balance work and personal life?

I love what we are building at DocDoc so I often find myself in the ‘flow’ of the tasks at hand. Over the years, I’ve managed to eliminate feelings of guilt, such as spending too little or too much time with my child. Guilt is a useless emotion. Instead, I focus on trying to compartmentalise, being fully present when doing work and being fully present when spending time with family.

What is wonderful about being an entrepreneur is having control over my time.  For example, if my daughter’s teacher schedules a parent-teacher conference, I prioritise this event and make up the missed work in the evenings when she is asleep.  I have flexibility and control with my time which is important. Interestingly, while I was a cadet at West Point, we learned how to prioritise because there were so many more tasks and homework handed out on a daily basis than there was time to complete.  It is no different today where on a daily basis, I need to prioritise the activities that matter most.

Can you describe an experience you have had that has been particularly meaningful?

One experience that I had a profound impact on me was when Cole and I raced 250 km on foot across the Gobi Desert and raised US$75K for medical missions benefitting children in Chengdu, China, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who needed heart surgeries but could not afford it.

The race was gruelling and tested my physical and mental limits, but the pain endured was nothing in comparison to the feeling we had when we observed the open heart surgeries being performed on the children we were able to support, affording them surgeries and a second chance at life.

Coincidentally, the Singaporean heart surgeon leading the medical mission and training a team of local surgeons was the very same doctor whom I had texted when my infant daughter was diagnosed with a failing liver. At our most vulnerable moment, he immediately responded and guided us in the global search to find the most relevant doctor for our daughter. It is amazing how life comes in to a full circle.  What we are doing at DocDoc is creating a scalable replica of this doctor who acted as our advocate in the industry. We are delivering to everyday patients what our advocate had been to or had done for us – to structure our thinking to make a more data-driven decision and to be the trusted friend in the entire continuum of care.

How would you define success?

On the personal front, success would be to raise a beautiful daughter inside and out who discovers her gifts, talents, and interests to make the world a better place.

On the professional front, it would be to transform healthcare by changing the status quo to a new norm in which patients have access to relevant data and seek to make data-driven healthcare decisions in their doctor discovery process.

The status quo today is that patients choose grey-haired doctors and/or those with excellent bed-side manners, assuming these indicators correlate with higher expertise and better predicted outcomes. Unfortunately, it does not.

It has been thought impossible to obtain more relevant and objective data points to make more informed decisions when choosing a doctor.  With DocDoc, it is no longer impossible.

We are developing market awareness and educating patients on how to structure their thinking based on HOPE – Outcome, Price and Experience – as objective quality markers when choosing doctors.  By partnering with the consumer, DocDoc forms a trusted relationship and focuses on what the consumer cares about most.

When patients stop relying on anecdotes or arbitrary recommendations or proxies for high-quality doctors (such as grey hair) and instead demand relevant information every time they need to find a doctor, we will know we have made a significant and positive impact.

What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs, especially aspiring mompreneurs?

First, guard your mind. The entrepreneur journey is a marathon and not a sprint and not everyday will be sunshine and rainbows.  There will be some challenging days ahead. If you believe in your purpose, it will sustain you through the hardships.  Run your own race.  There is no right answer on parenting or a blueprint to  entrepreneurship. Both are highly volatile, ambiguous and messy.  Enjoy the journey and appreciate and grow from the learning opportunity.

Make sure to be kind to yourself and take good care of your body. Sleep enough hours when you can, eat healthy foods, and hit it hard in the gym.  This has helped me manage stress levels and allowed me to have a clear mind for more optimal decision making.

I will share a quote that I shared with my daughter.  It is wisdom from Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Think big and have MORE courage than fear!

Have your community support system sorted out on the home front and work front. There are no lone rangers out there. If you hire people of character who are aligned with your values and vision, then your colleagues are able to make significant contributions alongside you. A caring support team is behind every successful mompreneur!

Digital is only a platform; People are real

Focus on what you want to achieve and the rest is all noise, says Larissa Tan

Larissa Tan is one of the few female leaders in the technology and automotive industry and heads up Singapore’s first electric automotive company, Vanda Electrics. Under her leadership, Vanda Electrics has successfully launched the Dendrobium, Singapore’s first hyper car, with Williams Advanced Engineering, the engineering team for Williams F1 as Vanda’s technical partner. With a passion for innovation and technology, she has also launched the iconic designed Motochimp, a fast charging electric scooter for urban transportation and Ant Truck, a mini electric logistics truck, both under the Vanda Electrics’ umbrella.

She started in banking and finance and moved to strategic branding and marketing with startups in her late 20s, when digital first started to come into existence. Having hands on experience at the beginning and implementing digital marketing and e-commerce sales tools and channels throughout her career and seeing this transformation into where it is today has allowed her to gain much foresight and be at the forefront of digital and technological transformation strategy.

Since then, she have been in numerous industries, luxury, retail, consumer, heavy industry, technology and automotive. Because her roles have always been global roles, this allowed her to understand business at a strategic level and how cross industry experience was an asset.

In an exclusive interview with AsiaBizToday, she shares her story.

How did it all begin?
Vanda Electrics was officially started in January 2016, and I was hired to the founding team at the onset. I had been working on the concept and strategy together with the founder for a few years before. The original concept of building an electric hypercar was first conceptualised in the mid 1990s, however technology and engineering had not developed to a stage where the design of the Dendrobium car could be built and it was only recently that technology had caught up with the design of the car that we decided that this was a venture that could be pursued.

As CEO, I manage the strategy, marketing, branding of the company and oversee the day to day operations that include the production and sales. We have successfully launched the Dendrobium hypercar and our electric scooter, Motochimp. And we are always looking at developing new products, the battery technology and digitisation of our products and technology.

What was your motivation to get into this role?
When I was asked to join Vanda Electrics, it was initially as the CMO and to help them with their global branding and launch efforts for their products. It was to build Singapore’s first electric hypercar, which in itself was already a daunting prospect, yet alone, a small group of people from Singapore, with no experience in the automotive industry and coming from a country where we do not have a history of a vibrant automotive industry, experience and technical expertise in this field. And to tell this story to the world was something that was exciting. But the challenge was an interesting one and the prospect of building a business despite these challenges got me curious. And we did this with much global success. The same year, we also launched the motochimp, our iconic electric scooter, which has gained much acclaim from international press like Top Gear, Wired Magazine and many others. And we also launched the Ant Truck, our electric urban logistics truck.

What have been your experiences running this business?

The journey has certainly been a challenging one. When we first announced that we were going to build an electric hypercar and launch it on the global stage, it was met with many negative views, especially when they found out it was a startup company coming from Singapore with no experience in automotive and run by a female CEO, especially in an industry dominated by men. I think every start up has challenges and we were not the exception. There were challenges with fund raising, looking for production partners and getting people to believe in us. However, the team believed in it and the passion and resillence that the team had was what convinced our partners and investors to take a chance on us. When we partnered with Williams in the UK to build the car, this was a milestone of achievement for us and in record time, we had a dynamic show car ready for the launch at the Geneva Motor Show.

Which are the important factors that keep you going?

The people keep me going. Getting the right people around you is extremely important. The culture of the team and the company builds its success and brings you through the tough times. These are the people that will inspire you and also call you out on anything that isn’t right. And with everything that is going on in our world today regarding the importance of climate change, the knowledge that I can do something to help change this gives me a goal bigger than Vanda Electrics. My passion when it comes to work is in working towards a purpose, setting things up and coming up with the strategy and working with people to make this work and Vanda Electrics has allowed me to do this with a great team.

Have you faced any obstacles in your initiatives? Do you think you have faced specific challenges because of being a woman?
Absolutely. Being one of the few women in a male dominated industry is probably a challenge in itself. When I first started in this role, it was already going to be an uphill climb. A woman running a car company, from Singapore, with little experience in the automotive industry, launching the company on the international stage was always going to have obstacles and a very steep learning curve. But I think it is attitude that overcomes it all. And is something that I will be grateful to my founder for seeing in me. Rather than looking at my steep learning curve as an obstacle or me being a woman, he saw the attitude and personality that I brought to the table. I’m still learning and will continue to do so. Rather than looking at the obvious, sometimes it is best to not focus on it and get on with what you have to do. In this instance, rather than looking at a male dominated industry as an obstacle to women entering the industry, I simply choose to look at is as an industry full of men and therefore, there is a lot of space and scope for a woman to do something. The furthest thing from my mind when I joined, was that the industry was mostly men and that there would be obstacles and glass ceilings because of it. I saw what I wanted to achieve and just got on with it. Everything else is just noise.

Where do you usually find inspiration from?
I find inspiration from people. My team, from other thought leaders, from my children. I think that in this age, we sometimes forget that digital is only a platform. I’m all for making our lives easier with technology, but we sometimes forget that at the end of it all is the people. It’s the people that make the decisions, people that buy our products, people that work in our companies, people that subscribe to our content, people that listen to our stories, people that tell us what they like and what they don’t like, people that make our lives more interesting and its a fine balance between technology, digital and where our people culture is.

What’s your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment is becoming a mother. I cannot stress the joy and the frustrations that it brings. But it has taught me that life doesn’t always go the way you plan it and patience is definitely a virtue.

How would you define success ?
I think that the secret to success is realising that success is not happiness. It is a moving goal post and not a permanent state. Wholeness is and the two should not be confused.

What Advice do you have for other aspiring Entrepreneurs, especially women?
There are no shortcuts in life. Hard work is nothing to be afraid of. All dues have to be paid eventually. Just keep moving forward with passion and drive.

Do not be afraid of failure for these are where the lessons are learnt that success does not teach. Fail often and fail fast as challenges bring lessons in humility, perseverance and courage. Realise that there is nothing wrong with failure, but do not dwell on it.

Never be afraid to ask for help. The worst that can happen is that someone says no. Constantly be willing to learn, as there in no one person that is the authority on knowledge and the work is always changing. There will always be others that know more than you and that is ok.

Be discerning with who you surround yourself. Realise who is in your corner and trust those that are willing to help. Be loyal, committed and grateful to them for success is nothing without integrity.

Work hard, stay rooted and give back

From senior regional roles at MNCs to starting her own ASEAN advocacy business, Shanti Shamdasani on her ‘no box’ approach

Shanti Shamdasani is a seasoned Public Policy professional, known for her in-depth expertise on ASEAN matters with focus on international trade and political analysis. Her vision on ASEAN started in 2005, where she tirelessly brings the ASEAN debate at various local and international stages as well as being instrumental in shaping the ASEAN Economic Community Roadmap.

During Indonesia’s ASEAN’s Chairmanship, Ms Shamdasani was contracted as a professional to serve with the office of the President of Indonesia, H. E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on ASEAN matters as Advisor reporting directly to the President’s immediate team; working closely with various Ministers to drive a strategic debate on trade negotiations with India, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Her areas of expertise include healthcare, industry 4.0, eCommerce, logistics, trade negotiations and facilitations, policy making and free trade areas. She has been involved in various capacities at the I-EU CEPA, RCEP, AEC, ASEAN India, ASEAN China and other negotiations working closely with government agencies.

Recognised as one of the recipients of the 2019 Women Icons Asia Award, Shanti takes time to share her career, life goals and inputs here with AsizBizToday.

Your Career, Passion & Professional Journey
My career started at the age of 23 when I started working with a Japanese trading company, thereon moved to working for Top 50 MNC’s, living in India, China, Japan, US and Singapore.

Throughout my career, I have no doubt learned a lot from the different leaders, bosses I have had. I was fortunate to be given a Senior Position (Regional Director for Southeast Asia) where I was exposed to varying challenging environment. Big corporations, Senior positions teach you a lot about the reality of “office politics”.

I quickly learned that “if you are a good performer”, you fall prey to the office politics of your colleagues and surrounding. An additional frustration is that due to hierarchical or “good relationships with bosses at the headquarters”, you often have to give in to those who are leading but do not know much about markets or do not have future vision. This triggered me move on as I wanted to do more.

About your current endeavour
After quitting my corporate role I decided to venture out and started ASEAN International Advocacy & Consulting in 2009. We started doing hospital management JCI accreditations with a client from Dubai, accrediting hospitals in Indonesia. Due to my knowledge of Southeast Asia, the previous President of Indonesia had asked me to advise him on ASEAN matters (it happened to be the year where Indonesia was chairing ASEAN). That enhanced my exposure to the different governments in the 10 ASEAN countries and opened up my relationships with the people in power in the region.

Not long after that, we started catering to small projects from the ASEAN Secretariat and ever since, we have grown and catered to different projects from Governments in Southeast Asia, Ministries, private sectors, big corporations and Embassies.

Our firm was known to the one of the top lobbyist, public policy, government affairs and legal advisory firm, and in order to maintain quality, we, at times, have to reject clients to ensure my time is effectively spent amongst the clientele portfolio that we have.

Quality and totality is my mantra and this is what made us grow.

Trigger and motivation to get into this
I had always believed that Southeast Asia is the next “growth magnet”, but my journey has not been without criticism. In 2011 when you spoke about ASEAN, you were often laughed at, but today, things are different.

I was dismayed to see how business leaders have short term plans, focus and lack vision and big picture, but then again, they are not business owners. They are senior management, employees, working for a large MNC. Their job is limited to 3-5 years and as long as they print the profit, they secure their promotion. This is why today, many large organizations fail and small enterprises overtake them in the growth spheres.

We are fortunate as we have a host of potential clients with whom we work closely. I work mostly with business owners, or senior leaderships who have vision and long-term plan.

Experiences running this business
People do not understand how global growth is affecting local government agenda and decisions and this is where we come in. We provide state of art strategies, built on our global insights and connections, backed with in-depth knowledge and plan to address the challenges or maximise the opportunities that exists. I have had people who used to discredit what we do, today, wanting to advise them. These are companies who need to move fast in a disrupted world platform, these are companies whose P&L have fallen and they now see what we told them 5 years ago.

According to me, we need to align with the regulations, drive, lead or shape them, else, we will be recipients of bad regulations which will deter growth. We are also known for our “no box” thinking and our reach goes far beyond the 10 ASEAN countries.

The issues around logistics reforms, cross border automation, digital era and the 4.0 industrial concept allows us to bring our clients to a “no box” approach

Things that keep you going

The grit to persist and support from the divine.

Obstacles you faced and have there been specific challenges because of being a woman?

I live in a man’s world, the type of works that we do are male dominated, but I never felt blocked, neither supported. They compete with me and play the tricks as how they would do it with another company.

The only obstacles I faced is that “people who are often in the leadership position have very shallow thinking” whereas the services we offer are for those who see beyond country, region or who have a long term vision. Addressing today’s challenges requires tomorrow’s vision.

Your source of inspiration
In my solitude, in my prayers, with my pets and in isolation.

Your proudest moment so far
When I decided to run for politics and lost! I am proud, because I was campaigning using the slogan of “CALEG BERSIH”, which means, “CLEAN CANDIDATE”. I am proud of the experience and for not falling into any corrupt practices.

My other proudest moments are when I was asked to lead an ASEAN Economic Dialogue session with 10 Heads of States present in the room.

Your definition of success
Doing what you want, when you want and how you want, as well as being able to give back to those who most need it (in this case, I donate to Animal Shelters, and whenever I can freely give to help the animals, I found the taste of success runs through me)

Your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women
Stay true in your belief, in your light, be persistent and be kind to animals and environment. All the money you have will not give you the joy, inspirations and strength you need to overcome the challenges you may face in life.

Kindness, humanity and charity will help you!