Lifestyle

12 inspiring quotes by Singapore women who followed their dreams

We look back at the Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015 with a round-up of some of the most memorable quotes and advice shared by these inspiring Singapore women
 

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

On the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015 (left to right) panel: Janice Wong, Gillian Tan, Islean Valath, Christel Quek and Sara-Ann Shuen Krishnamoorthy with event host and forum moderator Vernetta Lopez. All images: Winston Chuang for Her World, herworldPLUS

While no one said following your dreams would be easy, it can be less daunting than you would think.

At the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015 on March 23, 2015, five inspiring Singapore women spoke candidly about the obstacles they went through and the sacrifices they made, in the pursuit of their dream career.

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Dessert chef Janice Wong at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Her World Young Woman Achiever 2012 honoree and keynote speaker Janice Wong spoke of how she chose to “work for free” to learn at her own pace as an aspiring dessert chef, while speaking frankly about the difficulties of the restaurant industry.

Her fellow panelist speaker Gillian Tan, founder of television production company Munkysuperstar Pictures and online TV channel clicknetwork.TV, shared how resourcefulness and the drive to succeed had helped her through the years.

Guest speaker Bebe Teo, Country Director of Retail Group Singapore, Johnson & Johnson Pte Ltd also spoke from experience as she shared about how women could lead purposefully.

Over 150 of our readers attended the two and half hour session, gleaning practical advice and words of encouragement from the speakers.

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015 (left to right) panel: Janice Wong, Christel Quek, Gillian Tan, Islean Valath and Sara-Ann Shuen Krishnamoorthy. 

Here, we share some of the top quotes from these inspiring Singapore women — they share what it took for them to pursue their dreams and how you can do the same too.

On stepping out of your comfort zone
“Don’t put yourself in a box. You’re not just for instance, an administrative assistant, an entrepreneur. We’re always changing, evolving [our identities]. Accept that. Accept the fact that you’ve been working in this office for a long time, maybe you want to do something different. Everything you think to be secure isn’t always the truth. Life has a lot of changes, you never know what’s going to happen. Accept that you’re going to be changing too.”
Sara-Ann Shuen Krishnamoorthy, 35, former digital sub-editor at ST Online

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

 Johnson & Johnson Pte Ltd Country Director of Retail Group Singapore Bebe Teo, guest speaker at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

“When you are purposeful and you have a big passion [that you’re pursuing], there is so much more that you are capable of. More than you think you can do.”
Bebe Teo, 44, Country Director of Retail Group Singapore, Johnson & Johnson Pte Ltd

On dealing with criticism and that fear of failure

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Fashion designer Islean Valath and founder of Singapore womenswear label ARC at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

“Ask yourself: ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ I ask myself that all the time. If you’re so afraid of what could happen, then entrepreneurship is not for you. If you can think: ‘Even if I have to sweep floors, go back to the same job I did 10 years ago’ [and still do it], then you’re built for it. Go straight ahead … Let’s not let the challenges get in the way [because] no job is perfect. You’re going to have awful moments. You’re there for the journey, good or bad.”
Islean Valath, 32, founder and designer of home-grown womenswear label ARC

“You just have to learn out how to filter out the noise. There will be a lot of haters, people who will say ‘it doesn’t work’. You have to know for yourself, what your vision is and work towards that and don’t let the naysayers affect you. Take risks. Just because it’s never been done before, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Just because it’s been done before, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it better.”
Gillian Tan, 35, founder of television production company Munkysuperstar Pictures and popular online TV channel clicknetwork.TV

On how to start a business from the bottom

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Gillian Tan, founder of television production company Munkysuperstar Pictures and popular online TV channel clicknetwork.TV at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

“I started my business [on my own]. I had an old Mac, a little cam recorder and I started in a small room in my mum’s office. How I did it was to really start small, you don’t need expensive equipment. I never spent beyond my means. We just gathered equipment along the way. When we didn’t have money, we didn’t buy, we just borrowed or rented [equipment]. You just need to be resourceful and have the drive [to succeed]. I don’t think you need a lot of money.”
Gillian Tan, 35, founder of television production company Munkysuperstar Pictures and popular online TV channel clicknetwork.TV

“Set yourself a goal. Seven years ago I wanted to build up a brand called 2am:dessert bar. [Then] I kept setting goals for myself. Two years ago I started setting up a retail shop. I would never imagined it being called ‘Janice Wong’. It was out of pressure from designers who couldn’t think of a better idea to represent what was being sold. All these goals help me along the way. You never know when it will come, earlier or later. But these goals have really helped me [because] they’re so real. As long as you keep setting a focused goal.”
Janice Wong, 31, Asia’s Best Pastry Chef in 2013 and 2014, and Her World Young Woman Achiever 2012 honoree

On leadership

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Christel Quek, Twitter Content Lead for Asia, Middle East and Africa at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015 

“If you need a title to be assured, you’re not a leader. Leadership starts from day one, from the smallest of places, when you can help a team member, add value to an organisation. That’s leadership … You have to step in, to be more proactive in order to step up.”
Christel Quek, 25, content lead for Twitter’s international markets (Asia, Middle East, Africa)

“When I started, back when I was 23 and I showed up on set as the director. The camera crew were all men, older men. When I got there, all of them [said] in Mandarin, ‘Where’s the director?’. I could say ‘It’s me’ [meekly] or I could say ‘You know what, it’s me, you do this and that, get to work!’.

It’s OK to be a woman leader, I don’t think it’s a disadvantage. If you know what you want and you do it well, you earn the respect of men and women.”
Gillian Tan, 35, founder of television production company Munkysuperstar Pictures and popular online TV channel clicknetwork.TV

“It is very important to be authentic, comfortable with yourself and who you want to become. Before you lead others, you have to lead yourself … Don’t try to be someone you are not. Be the best that you can be.”
Bebe Teo, 44, Country Director of Retail Group Singapore, Johnson & Johnson Pte Ltd

On what it takes to keep a cafe or restaurant going:

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Janice Wong at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015 

“It doesn’t mean that because a cafe or coffee shop is very, very busy and completely full and it’s very successful. We’re constantly been very challenged with increasing rents and higher payroll. It is a cut-throat industry, it is not easy. So you always have to think out of the box. We do catering, wedding buffets, [creative] consultancies; it’s endless. But you got to do that because you got to be prepared. It’s really challenging because you got to constantly evolve and be mindful of people’s changing taste buds.”
Janice Wong, 31, Asia’s Best Pastry Chef in 2013 and 2014, and Her World Young Woman Achiever 2012 honoree

On how to network:
“Your network is your nett worth, whether is it in financial or emotional terms. These are the people who will be your bedrock no matter what, who will support you … Don’t just take namecards; it’s important to take it and follow up. Remember a small detail about that person, so that the next time you meet, you can always bring that up.”
Christel Quek, 25, content lead for Twitter’s international markets (Asia, Middle East, Africa)

Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015

Sara-Ann Shuen Krishnamoorthy, former digital sub-editor at ST Online at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015  

“Networking starts every single day. Your neighbour could be your client, one day. Your taxi driver can be your world’s biggest publicist for you. I am talking to people all the time, no matter where I am. Always be nice and always be real.

One thing that I always try to do is when I receive a namecard, I will send an email [to that person] that day: ‘Hey it was nice meeting you today. Would love to catch up some other time [to] touch base. Have your email address, your phone number and everything so that they know you’re contactable as well. It helps create retention in their minds. [It’s] about being in touch with people and making relationships. The people you have relationships with can be your first supporters, customers, clients.”
Sara-Ann Shuen Krishnamoorthy, 35, former digital sub-editor at ST Online

The Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015 was held on March 21, 2015. Go to http://campaign.herworldplus.com/ywaf2015 for more pictures and videos from the event.