Posted on: August 3rd, 2017

As I am working on my school’s alumni Careers Fair project with the theme – “Resilience in the workplace”, I reflected upon my 35 year career span where I have expanded my knowledge & skills competencies from sales to marketing to managing a company to managing countries to distributor management across 10 emerging & white space markets and finally mentoring others to take their brands International. I am sharing my personal work life experience in an attempt to illustrate some likely attributes for staying resilient at the work place.

Adapt Change

Quick to adapt

When my late father was stricken with a serious illness, I had to switch to Plan B i.e. to join the work force immediately upon graduation instead of following the path of becoming a Chemistry Lecturer. The opportunity arose to be a Sales Executive of the Building Materials Division and the only female on the team at the Malaysian Conglomerate, Sime Darby. It seemed exciting. My first visit to a construction site in a 3-piece suit & 3 inch heels turned out disastrous! I was totally clueless to what I was in for. But I was keen to learn, determined to succeed and the guidance of a very supportive Divisional Managing Director aided my career development. In addition, I met my husband at the workplace!

Be Eager, Know Bigger

Eager to learn

I was forced to change course when the Construction Industry went through bad times and the Building Division had to close down. I responded to an advertisement for Household Division Showroom Manager at then the reputed Diethelm Furniture – the stockist of all the top European Furniture Brands like Cassina, B&B Italia, Desede & Saporiti. I took up a year distant learning Interior Design Certification Course to have a better understanding & appreciation of the field & materials involved. On-the-job training & exposure to top international designers like Toshiyuki Kita, Paolo Piva, Gianfranco Ferra added new dimensions to my perception of industrial & interior design. Eight years in the Building & Interior Design Industry working with developers, architects, designers and government bodies honed my negotiation skills and heightened my power of observation.

Try Something New

Willing to try something new.

I decided to move on and be part of the exciting & innovative Card Marketing Industry. I had no knowledge of the financial services sector but responded to an advertisement for Business Partners Marketing Manager at American Express. After 4 rounds of interview, I was offered the job. I had no idea of what it meant to handle 7000 Service Establishments across the Hotel, F&B, Retail & Travel sectors plus 500 banks that issued the American Express Travelers ‘ cheques. It was working 24/7 & a full 13 hour day. I was truly stretched with a husband & 2 children aged 6 years & 11 months old. Meeting clients, advertising agencies & vendors, training permanent temps & temps, temps, bonding with my immediate family & in-laws & keeping a social life with friends were just overwhelming. One has to learn to be organised and to think fast on one’s feet.

Enjoy Your Work

However, 6 months later with much persuasion & 4 attempts from a head-hunter did I accept the offer of a more balanced work life with Wella AG, a German hair care company. I spent 15 years as Division Head growing the Professional Business and travelling the world with Trade & Media stakeholders attending international Hair Competitions and Trade Exhibitions. There was never a dull moment. Time flew by and I was pleased to be able to find time for the family & took pride in tutoring my girls in English & the Sciences.

Be agile and bend with the wind

In March 2003, Wella AG was acquired by Procter & Gamble. The first 2 years were trying times, leading my teams as Country Manager for Professional Care Malaysia & Singapore through transition & integration. The learning curve was a steep one, embracing change and feeling 10 feet tall when the Singapore Business Unit was awarded the Global Best Learning Organization. In 2010, I took on a new role as Customer Business Development Leader for 10 developing & white space markets.

Never Stop Learning

Embrace lifelong learning!

There is a time & place for everything. When my husband returned from his 3 year overseas posting & my 2 daughters returned from abroad, I decided to put away my nomadic lifestyle and worked at a local SME as its General Manager for 2 1/2years. In January 2014, I started Nuclei Brand Marketing Solutions LLP – a Business Consultancy focusing on helping local SMEs to go International leveraging on my distributor management knowledge & international network. I recognise the value of being an accredited Professional Management Consultant and completed my accreditation training & certification prior to Spring Singapore’s announcement of it being a prerequisite for Consultants seeking grants on behalf of their clients as of January 2017. I also successfully completed the ACTA (Advanced Certificate in Training & Assessment) Certification Programme) and attained Certificates in Skills Competencies in Business Excellence & Integrated Digital Marketing from MDIS, SUSS & MIS in view of my interests in these areas. The quest for continuous education keeps me abreast of changing trends & needs. It equipped me with knowledge & skills competencies to serve my customers better and to stay ahead of the competition.

Fear of Failure

Don’t fear to fail!

When things do not go as planned, I will recall my late father’s advice; “Always do your best & remember even a champion falls. Just pick yourself up & run harder than you have ever run before!”

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