Making ‘human impact’ in the noisy digital world

Cat Williams-Treloar, CEO, Humanisation

With a decade of focused efforts on spotting trends and behaviours using quantitative and qualitative techniques ranging from ethnographic to user testing, to leading a network of 40 trend hunters globally, Cat Williams – Treloar, who grew up in a family of Entrepreneurs in Australia has worked on projects for brands like Rolex, Unilever, Zurich Insurance and Kimberly-Clark.  She has also worked in designing website, newsletters & driving online sales for her family business, while at University.

Her present venture Humanisation – the Human-Centered Marketing Consultancy, was born to help startups make a human impact in a digital world as they Go-To-Market across APAC.

She holds a Business degree with a focus on Marketing, eCommerce & Management Consulting. “What excited me the most was research because it was about discovery – getting out there and talking to people. One of my first assignments was to help a local Chinese Newspaper in Sydney understand why their growth had slowed”, she adds.

Cat recalls, when data became cool and digital became the norm, she was given the opportunity to apply insights, experiment with technology, build customer journeys and change behaviour. As a marketeer, she has been helping Enterprise, Startups & SMEs achieve more strategic goals through these methods.

The interview below with team ABT captures her thoughts on Women in Entrepreneurship, her journey & the challenges of managing business.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
Founding a business isn’t just about the revenue, it’s also the transformation that you go through as a leader. My brothers Chris and Peter have both founded their businesses in Australia. Chris started Natural Solar in Australia, and the growth journey he’s on is incredible. Peter plans to revolutionise wellness, and he’s knocking it out of the ballpark. I’m inspired by their courage, determination, vision, commercial success and for being amazing people.

What led you to take up marketing as a career? Was there an inflection point?
Right time, right place, right opportunity and the right level of discomfort.

The family business set me on the journey with digital marketing. My university sent me down a path of research. Living in a digital world made insight valuable. I said yes to a global opportunity of a lifetime 12 years ago at Mindshare as one mentor was pioneering customer journey work and the other mentor was pioneering agile marketing. And I worked very hard in brilliant consultancy, agency and client roles over the years that challenged me to keep evolving.

For 19 years I’ve been uncomfortable. I suspect I will be for another 19 years in the Marketing world.

What’s Human-Centered Marketing all about? How do businesses stand to gain from this idea?
Humanisation was born to help tech startups make a human impact in a digital world. We partner with SaaS, B2B, Cloud & FinTech brands to drive business growth and customer impact from Australia to South-East Asia to China and everywhere in between.

Our secret sauce is Human-Centered Marketing. We help brands walk in their customer’s shoes and find their human voice as they Go-To-Market. The benefit for businesses is making a human impact in a noisy digital world.

We’ve seen brand trust decline globally; technology has created invisible barriers between brands and consumers. The raw, unfiltered voice of customers and teams gets lost, and it is the main reason behind why customer experience is the number one focus areas for brands today globally.

The startups we are working with are breaking boundaries whether it’s building new categories or expanding the realms of Machine Learning, AI or Blockchain. A human approach becomes critical when you are creating new categories. It’s easy to get lost in the tech rather than the human benefit.

How we help is using a combination of research, empathy, design thinking and an agile mindset along with creating business alignment across marketing, sales, product & engineering because the humans on the inside matter just as much as prospects and customers.

Do you recall your most cherished moment? Tell us more.
If you’d asked me years ago, I would have answered the big pitch wins or the super promotions. For me, the most cherished moments in 2018 are when I’m with my husband or my family doing the little things.

Your thoughts on the top things that startup should do to market themselves better.

Day 1, week 1 & year 1 is all about focus: It’s easy to get distracted by shiny new tools or to keep changing tactics. All that matters is engaging the right human with a valuable offer that they’ll pay for. Everything else is a rabbit hole.

Creating a brand story that’s consistent: We all keep tweaking the value proposition as you hunt for product/market fit. Once you’ve got it, make sure you consistently use it everywhere. It’s a footprint that you are slowly building, and consistency wins.

Commit & test, test, test: Make a call that you want to do something like drive leads on LinkedIn or Facebook. Stick with it for 90 days. Adapt the spends, messaging, targeting but keep going if you strategically believe it’s the right thing to do. Uncovering the magic formula takes time and effort.

How do you see the role of Women in Business & Entrepreneurship today, compared to a decade ago? What has changed?
As women, we’ve found a collective voice that’s empowering. My mum co-founded her business over 40 years ago. I proudly grew up with a mum who was a trailblazer that worked crazy hours. My grandmother pitched in to help take care of us, and her closest girlfriends would step in with school runs. It was unusual at the time; mothers treated my mum differently for not being a “traditional” mother.  And many of the girls at school treated me negatively for having a working mother too.

A lot has changed since then, and unfortunately, a lot hasn’t.

What has changed for the positive is how female entrepreneurs empower and support each other whether it’s referrals, networking or being generous with time. We’ve found a voice that’s strong and supportive.

Where I don’t see as much change is broader society flexing as we work out our new normal. The “new normal” removes tightly defined roles about women and warmly includes each person regardless of their journey or path ahead.

What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
It’s straightforward – work with tech startups looking to make an impact and by doing so keep expanding Humanisation.

Cat is also the speaker at the upcoming summit ConnecTechAsia, scheduled from 26 to 28 June 2018 in Singapore. Cat will be sharing more insights on Machine Learning at ConnecTechAsia, at Marina Bay Sands, 27 June 2018.

Addressing problems of humanity & ecosystem in unison with environment

Vidya V, Founder and CEO – Faasthelp

Winner of the India’s Best Startup CTO award by Dell EMC, Vidya spent over 2 decades in Information and Technology industry where she worked with various multinationals and on latest technology platforms, progressing from a software engineer to manager.

Her latest venture is “Faasthelp “which is an English translation of the Sanskrit word “Evayadesk” that means very fast in Sanskrit.

Faasthelp is into artificial intelligence products, primarily providing intelligent virtual agents who can talk over voice, chat with customers and respond to customer emails within seconds. It analyzes what the customer is trying to ask the business using natural language processing and machine learning and processes that to give the accurate responses to the customers instantly. It can be used for sales, upsell, support by any business. faasthelp supports multi sectors like Healthcare, Real Estate, Travel & Hospitality, Finance, Insurance, Retail, Automobile, Services, Education and many more.

Vidya holds a Masters degree in Computer Applications and has also attended Entrepreneurship program at IIM-Bangalore, India. She shares some interesting facets from her journey in this interview with ABT below.

Tell us about your passion & initial days
My passion is technology. As a child, I was the fixer of many items and some times a breaker too. My interests revolve around my passion. After my Masters in Computer Applications, I got into an IT Company and worked for over 15 years with various multi-national companies and got first hand experience at varied roles that I handled. I feel the greatest opportunity that I got was my association with esteemed organizations that helped me gain insights into the industry, processes, business & many other areas; giving me a holistic exposure.

What led you to the path of Entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship was very much deep rooted within me, especially in the environment at my home. My Mom is an Entrepreneur. So, the flair for Entrepreneurship came to me rather easily. Moreover, there was no better way to give a meaningful path to all my learning & industry experience, than by starting my own company.

How was the idea of Faasthelp born? What challenges does it address?
Artificial Intelligence can do many things to improvise the human lifestyle. This is the first step towards using AI for smart solutions and improving lifestyle, processes and the way Business is managed.

Faasthelp was born to reduce the routine work done by us and reduce the burden of repetitive tasks, leaving the real intelligent work for the people, who have the niche skills. Our solution is most adept for industries, like, Medical, travel, real estate, finance, Hospitality, Education and any industry that requires sales and customer support.

What’s your business model? Where do most of your customers come from?
Ours is a SAAS, B2B model. Most of our customers are from USA and India.

Do you recall your most cherished milestone?
I have many milestones to cherish, because every small achievement or milestone achieved is a celebration moment in a startup. Having said that, there are two most memorable moments that are close to my heart. One was getting “India’s Best Startup CTO” award by DELL EMC and CIO association and other one was getting selected to be part of Blackbox.

If you were to do one thing differently, what would that be?
I feel I should have ventured into startup much earlier, however I am enjoying this journey. I believe starting is more important.

What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
I would like to build a Conglomerate of Organizations which work with the passion of a startup, have compassion for the society, and address the problems of humanity and eco-system through technology, in unison with environment. I believe there is an opportunity in every idea; to further it to achieve better outcomes; with use of technology, people & smart execution.

Bringing people together for individual & community transformation

Jayne Kennedy, COO and Co-Founder, EPIC Homes

Jayne Kennedy embarked on this journey with an opportunity to bring ordinary people together, to do one extraordinary thing: to build a home with a man who didn’t have one. Armed with an interest in personal development and social impact, a background in advertising and training, Jayne has spent the last 8 years focusing on projects that bring people together for individual and community transformation namely through their flagship initiative EPIC Homes.

She has worked closely with over 50 corporations to realise their CSR and team building efforts and has grown their tribe of volunteers to 5000 contributors.

“In the first build, and in every single build I’ve ever been to, I’m constantly struck by the authenticity of the people around me; how united we were despite being so different, how much we learn from each other and how much we ‘unlearn’ in the process. There has been a lot of learning in this process, from really understanding what contributes to poverty and how our own decisions can affect this cycle even though you might not be directly linked to the issue, to admiring the resilience and strength that can come from someone who seems have limited access to things that more privileged people may have – there is so much to learn from one another,” she adds.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Advertising and Graphic Design from Curtin University, she developed a deep interest in personal growth and development through exposure to advertising and experiential training. She seeks to unlock, harness and connect like-minded individuals through worthwhile causes, building a community of change-makers along the way. Here are some more insights from her entrepreneurial journey, as shared with team ABT.

Tell us about the Journey & Evolution of Epic Homes.
It began with a Facebook post in 2010, calling for volunteers to build toilets and paint homes for a village in Jawa Kerling (Malaysia). Through this experience and the warm welcome of the village, we found that there was an opportunity to break stereotypes, build bonds and foster relationships between groups that otherwise wouldn’t normally meet but who could create a better, stronger Malaysia together.

In another village we had encountered a dilapidated shack that turned out to be a person’s home. We knew that we didn’t want to just build a home, but wanted to include the family and people in the process. And that’s when EPIC Homes was born. Our mission is to build trust and relationships with marginalised communities in order to create cooperative, resilient and sustainable communities through the act of building homes. We seek to connect people to the communities they are impacting, to learn about their lives, and with that, we seek to work together in understanding the problems and challenges that they face.

Our work revolves around people — bringing forward the strengths of their communities while facilitating opportunities for them to shape the places and spaces around them. We focus on a cross-sectoral and inclusive approach, where volunteers and targeted communities lead and organise projects together. The projects bring together the public and private sector and government to form ecosystem that supports one another. Over 50 organisations have helped to deliver this project due to our social enterprise model of targeting corporate involvement, where groups assist in facilitating home-owner’s build, while undergoing an immersive team-building experience. We raise funds through crowd funding and private corporations who want to sponsor homes as part of their corporate social responsibility or team building activity. We have worked with companies such as Prudence Foundation, General Electric Inc (Malaysia), Tetrapak,  PEMANDU (the Prime Minister’s Department for Performance Management & Delivery), the Ministry of Youth & Sports Malaysia, ARUP, Gamuda, Energizer, Real Estate & Housing Developer’s Association amongst others.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and why?
We could not be where we are today without the help, guidance and knowledge of others. People have been very generous in giving their time, skills and resources in making this happen. Some of these mentors include Jasmine Ng, Benjamin Ong, Ooi Piek See, Loh Lee Soon, Omar Giri, Rizwan Tayabali, Ellynita Lamin, Terrance Leung, Ronny To, and members our own families.

I am constantly inspired by my own husband, John-Son Oei. We started this journey together, and his dedication and genuine love for the people around him keeps me grounded and grateful on a daily basis.

What has been your biggest challenge as a women entrepreneur?
There are perceptions that women can’t be as involved because they are seen to be physically weaker, or perhapshave a lower tolerance for working outdoors or ‘getting dirty’ but we find that in our projects, we usually have 60% women and 40% men involved! The community I am in encourages as much equality as possible between men and women – but I do believe it is more difficult for women to see, feel and know their value in a wider context.

I read that women experience a far bigger “confidence” gap than men, meaning that a woman needs to be much more self-assured that she can get the job done when compared to a man. When faced with external infrastructures that limit women’s growth (i.e. salary gaps, women in leadership roles) and the internal pressure of what a woman is expected to be like or do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and it contributes to the confidence gap.

If you were to re-live or change any one moment of your life, what would that be?
I would have spent more time with my father before he passed away. At the end of the day, I believe that the relationships you have are worth more than the empires you build, or the things you collect.

Tell us about your most cherished project.
We rebuild homes for flood victims in Kelantan. We held different builds of varying scales with Rakan Mudah, Prudence Foundation and Azman Hashim Foundation. The larger builds lasted over a month, mobilising over 380 volunteers and setting up camps in sites that had been devastated by the floods. The sheer amount of love that was felt, the dedication to each other, the resilience of the communities despite facing such destruction, it was an incredible experience that was honestly life-changing.

What would you like to achieve in the next coming years?
I hope that social causes such as EPIC Homes can become a nation building programmes, literally and figuratively! Our work requires a certain level of faith that goes beyond what we see today. We believe in the power of people and that together we can make a difference. We have a very supportive culture, from our internal team to the communities we work with, we’re very intentional about being encouraging and supportive.

Here is the short video of Jayne Kennedy at the Women Icons Malaysia 2o18 Summit & Awards.


Doing good and doing well, the pathfinder in healthcare

Grace Park, Co-Founder & President –  DocDoc Pte. Ltd.

Post her military service as a Captain at the Pentagon, Grace Park embarked on new challenges in the private healthcare sector because the vision to “extend and enhance human lives” resonated deeply to do something meaningful to help others.

From managing local grants of +US$100M to support women and children with HIV/AIDS in 10 African countries while at Bristol-Myers Squibb to bringing the latest innovative medical technologies to patients as the Managing Director of 10 Southeast Asian countries at Medtronic International, Grace believes that it is possible to do good and do well.

Grace’s parents shifted to the US to live the American Dream, believing that if they worked hard, anything was possible. They instilled in Grace that by studying hard, she would break into a profession in which she could earn a good living and be a meaningful contributor to society.

After graduating with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Grace served in the US Army as a Military Intelligence Officer for five years.  She continued her studies at Harvard, graduating with dual Masters degrees from the Harvard Business School (MBA) and the Kennedy School of Government (MPA) followed by a Fulbright Fellowship to Singapore.

Here are some interesting intercepts from the journey of Grace Park, captured in an interview with Team AsiaBizToday Singapore.

Tell us about your experience as a Woman Entrepreneur
As a cadet at West Point or as an officer in the United States Army, I always saw myself as a cadet or officer first before my gender.  In the same way, I see myself as an entrepreneur rather than qualify it as a woman entrepreneur.

However, I do see why and how others see me first as a woman in this role.  I am thankful to have a strong supporter and advocate, my husband, Cole Sirucek. He is always there to support me when needed and I there to support him as well. This balance has been very important to me as wife, mother and professional.

The big illusion that most women face is that they feel like they need to be a totally different person in each of the roles they play in life. Most men I know, do not try to do this and I think that is a better approach. The key is to compartmentalize each role as much as possible but not to change who are you in the process.

What led you to the idea of DocDoc? Was there any inflexion point?
The mission behind DocDoc became clear when my daughter needed to undergo a liver transplant.   She was born healthy but at her two month checkup, she was jaundiced. One blood test led to other multiple tests. Soon, we were in a room full of surgeons who broke the news that our daughter had a rare liver condition and needed to undergo an emergency surgery called the Kasai procedure which typically leads to a liver transplant. At that point, we realized that our lives had changed forever.

It was terrifying to be in a position where we had to make a life or death decision without the support necessary to make an informed decision. Despite several attempts, we were not able to collect the information we needed to understand if the team who had made the initial diagnosis was the right team to perform the procedure.

Fortunately, we had a close friend who was a well-regarded surgeon to help us navigate the doctor discovery process. Through his help, we found Dr. Koichi Tanaka, who is a pioneer in pediatric live liver transplants.  Dr. Tanaka and his team based in Japan not only had performed the highest volume of liver transplant in the world, they were also 40% less expensive than the first team that wanted to do the procedure.

Our daughter ended up needing to undergo a live liver transplant with my husband, Cole Sirucek, Co-founder & CEO of DocDoc, as the donor. The 15-hour operation was successfully completed, making my daughter the youngest patient in the world to undergo what is called the “flipped liver” procedure.  My husband recovered quickly and our daughter is progressing well.  Our medical care team was amazing and is a big reason we are here today.

We founded DocDoc with a mission to be the patient’s advocate so that the patient never needs to feel as vulnerable as we were, trying to find the right doctors on our own. DocDoc provides the information and support necessary for patients to feel comfortable that they are seeing the right doctor for their course of care and diagnosis.

What has been your most challenging assignment so far?
My daughter is healthy and doing well today but there was a period in time when she was in and out of the hospital for surgeries and checkups.  Managing my personal life, taking care of an unhealthy child alongside growing a young business was challenging.

Since then, I have taken charge of the sales team to interface with doctors, a role that leverages on my previous 10 years of experience in corporate healthcare. I am glad to take on a role in my strength and experience area.

If you were to do one thing differently, what would that be?
Hindsight is 20/20 and there are many things I learned along the way and which I would have done differently.  For one thing, I would have taken better care of myself along the way during periods of maximum stress.

It is quite easy to put ourselves last while feeling the pressure to take care of other priorities first – whether that means clients, partners, investors, children, spouse, parents, etc. Over the past few months, I have started to prioritize the fundamentals to ensure I am at my best: exercise, nutrition, sleep and spiritual/meditation. Taking care of oneself first is important as you are really no good to anyone else unless you are first good for yourself

How would you describe your Leadership Style?
As an avid student of leadership, I describe my leadership as using the servant leadership style.  It’s what I have learned during my time as a cadet at West Point and as an officer in the Army in my early 20’s and this style has proved to work well for me.

What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
In the coming years, I would like to see DocDoc grow into the catalyst for positive change that it was meant to be and as a driving force to transform the healthcare industry.

DocDoc is a patient empowerment company. When the normal patient in Asia thinks, “I need to go to DocDoc” when they get ill to find a doctor, I will know that we will have accomplished our mission — To empower patients and transform lives.