Thursday, 2 March 2017

Stories that connect and inspire

I love hearing people’s stories. And stories are great because they help us remember concepts and themes (usually through the emotions they make us feel) and they connect us as humans. And we all need to connect on a human level.

For the past two days, I’ve been at a HR conference in Singapore, the Singapore Talent & Recruitment Show. I have participated as a panel member and also been a speaker, talking about talent management. This morning before my speaker spot I had a little crisis of confidence. All the other speakers have been very business-like and somewhat formal. I am not either of these things and my planned talk was demonstrating when I had done a good job identifying talent, but also when I had done a completely rubbish job and judged people unfairly! I had crafted some personal stories and was now feeling nervous that they would be judged as unprofessional and possibly inappropriate.

And then I thought bugger it, and went ahead as planned. I got lots of good feedback from the audience during my talk including nodding, smiling and laughing and afterwards many people told me they appreciated the personal stories because they made them reflect on things that had gone wrong for them. Human's after all are flawed and imperfect and it can be hard to remember this while listening to people speak of their amazing achievements during a conference. 

I loved hearing their stories over the breaks during the rest of the day.

This is what I’m trying to create on International Women’s Day. An environment where we can make new connections and hear some unique stories that can help us with our journey, whatever that may be. If you haven’t got a ticket please grab one now. I just know it’s going to be a great day!

International Women’s Day – Singapore Style
Wednesday 8 March
Halia, Singapore Botanical Gardens

Monday, 27 February 2017

Connections and inspiration - International Women's Day Singapore Style

Connection with others is a funny thing, isn’t it? Most of us are surrounded by lots of people at any one time. I live in an apartment surrounded by at least 1,000 people in a fairly small area but do I connect with them? Do I truly know them, and do we have meaningful conversations? I can’t say that the few conversations at the playground or pool fall into this category. What about if you work, or are involved with your children’s school or maybe a sporting or community group? How often is there time and space to stop and be present with the people we come into contact with every day? Not that often I say.

This is why it’s important to take a little time out every now and then and do something (on purpose) that makes us stop and breathe and connect. It's why I decided to organise an event for International Women’s Day in Singapore. As well as wanting to recreate the events I have often attended in Sydney, I wanted to reconnect with my Singapore network after moving back here in January and meet some new people.

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. What could be a better excuse then to come together with others, enjoy a beautiful lunch and relax amongst the greenery and orchids of the Singapore Botanical Gardens, while hearing from two unique and remarkable women contributing to the Singapore community?

Carolyn Milligan (Global Head of Mobility, Kantar Group), and Annette Tillbrook (Board Member, AustCham Singapore) will share their unique stories on how they have developed their career and are making their mark in Singapore. It’s through sharing stories that we all grow.

British born Carolyn heads up the Global Mobility function within the Kantar Group (part of the WPP Group , the world’s largest communications services group comprising over 179,000 employees globally). Her main achievements include supporting and partnering with the business to enable their Talent Agenda with the 300+ relocations that take place every year.

In addition to working full time and raising twin daughters, Carolyn supports, mentors and organises Singapore ‘Foreign Domestic Worker’ beauty pageants. She takes pride in supporting these women who find themselves away from their support networks, often vulnerable or lacking in confidence, and requiring coaching and support on everyday matters that others take for granted. 

Aussie Annette has a long history of helping Australian businesses through her work with AustCham, the Australian business community in Singapore. AustCham fosters, and provides a forum for business links between Australia and Singapore by connecting members to business and government through hosting, facilitating and providing events and services for members. Annette will talk to us about her role in developing AustCham into the organisation it is today, and her challenges and successes throughout her career. 

Along with lunch, great company and inspiring speakers we will be raising money for aidha, a Singapore based charity who do great work in providing financial literacy programmes such as money management, computer literacy, leadership and entrepreneurial skills for foreign domestic workers and lower-income women.

Sounds good doesn’t it? Grab a friend and come along. Get your tickets here.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Who wants to look like they stepped out of Vogue?

Me! Me! *hand waving madly in the air*

'strike a pose, there's nothing to it' 

Hands up who hates getting their photo taken?

Sigh. Yep me too. 

Maybe it’s not so much the photo being taken as the end result. Do you think?

You see I don't think I'm particularly photogenic and more and more I wish I had better photos of me, for my blog, and my social media profiles, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. I’m also asked to provide headshots for marketing purposes, when I speak at events. My favourite headshot was taken by one of my friends and all-time great photographer AndreaThompson nearly six years ago! I’m sure when people meet me in the flesh now it’s a bit of a disappointment because I probably don’t look like that anymore!

So last week while wasting time perusing my Facebook feed, up popped some recent photographic work by Pru Aja. You should check out her work here. Go look. I can wait. Don't you wanna look that good? I do.

I met Pru at the Business Chicks Movers and Breakers conference in Byron Bay last October and starting following her on Facebook after that. She has a great career story and I just love her work. She does a range of work in the fashion and corporate space but I particularly love her personal branding work. It is glamorous and beautiful and colourful and seems to really capture the personality of the person she is photographing. I want some photos like that. Ones that reflect my style and my fashion sense.

We got chatting on Facebook and then had a Skype call (cause she is in Melbourne and I’m like not) and well, I think I may have convinced her to come to the little red dot and take some photos of me. I’m redesigning my blog and working on other bits and pieces and need some good shots. Ones that are a bit sexy and cool and fun and fashion-nee. You know?

I'm sure there are lots of women in my network in Singapore who would like the same. Beautiful photos for work and business purposes or maybe just to have some photos that make you look and feel great. So here’s your chance. She's coming in April and if you are interested you should contact Pru for more information. She has a few different options she can discuss with you as well as how the process works. I’m already pulling together a pinterest board with some looks I like!  

Lisa xx

Thursday, 16 February 2017

International Women's Day Singapore Style

I have been noticing various International Women's Day events being advertised on my social media accounts in Australia, and feeling a bit like I was missing out on things. You see, I have been to many such events in previous years both in Australia and Singapore, and they are really nice. Often a lunch or something over cocktails with some hard truths about the current state of gender parity (with some appalling stats to illustrate) but also with some amazing and inspirational women, some who tell their story in front of the group and others you learn about through the networking these events provide. It's great for your soul.

Business chicks are having a Sydney andMelbourne event and Women in Focus have events all over the place making my gills-go-all-green with wanting to go to one. But I have just moved back to Singapore and because I'm not working at the moment it's not likely I'm going to be invited to an event run by one of the big companies in Singapore, because a) they don't have my contact details and b) because I'm not a client who makes them money. Sigh.

So after some Thursday afternoon reflections I'm going to run my own event. An event that I would be delighted to attend, over a reasonably priced lunch, with perhaps a small glass of bubbles in a nice setting. I'm going to have some interesting speakers and invite all my network of fabulous women and their friends. Imagine the energy!

It will be a no-profit exercise that raises money for one of the local Singapore charities that does great work for women in the community and because I want to give back to a country that took me back!
Sounds good doesn't it?

Wanna come? Wednesday 8 March is the date. Stay tuned for more details....

photo credit: Pexels

Friday, 10 February 2017

Why we moved back to Singapore

In the evening, sitting on our balcony back in August 2014, Singapore seemed a wondrous place. We were surrounded by the lights of condominiums around us, housing hundreds, probably thousands of people. It made me feel small, but not in a bad way. I was one of many expatriates lucky enough to be living and working in this place.

Singapore is a place of contradictions. It is dominantly Chinese but also Western, along with influences from Malaysia, India and Indonesia. It is high tech but also not. It is innovative and creative and so, so not. Singaporeans are generally friendly and helpful but can also be closed and private. It is a country of opportunity for Expats but barriers also exist, which can be trying.

When the universe decided that my career in the UK would be short lived we had to make a decision about where to live, barely two months after moving to the UK. The decision process was long and fraught. Staying in the UK required moons to align, which as far as 2016 was going did not happen. Did we want to go home? To Australia, a country with a barely moving economy and to a place with questionable politics and increasingly conservative views? Though a place with beautiful beaches and friends and a place that is familiar and easy?

Or did we want to stay overseas for longer? After 6 months of some harrowing and stressful times Australia did seem like a good option. But would it be giving up? Giving up on the experience of different cultures and feeling like you were giving up on the opportunity to experience different things in our career that are not available in Australia? And also giving up on providing our kids with a multicultural view of the world?

In December 2016 we changed our mind constantly about where we were moving to. We had decided that we would leave the country mid-January 2017, but apart from that we didn't know. We were applying for jobs and searching for opportunities in Australia, Asia (Singapore and Hong Kong) and the Middle East. We had a deadline of 5 January 2017 to tell the removalists where to send out stuff! Man did we flip-flop on the decision! For a few days it looked like we were going to Abu Dhabi, and then for the next week to Sydney and then our visa's for Singapore got approved so without any firm job offer from anywhere we made the decision to move to Singapore.

So why? Well it was the place we lived in before the UK, so the most familiar. It seemed to have the best job opportunities for both Arran and I, and we have some great friends here. The International schools are really good and had vacancies and we wanted the boys to be able to return to something familiar after the previous six months of upheaval. The weather is warm, the lifestyle is good and the food! Oh my, this country has the best variety of the most amazing food going. The low tax rate and availability of relatively cheap help in the home may have also swayed us!

So here we are.....just two Aussies with six months to find a job! Wish us luck.

Lisa xx

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Forget 2016. Let's look forward to 2017 shall we?

2016 was a shitty year in my book and I'm glad to see the back of it. Man! It seems like many people agree by the look of all my social media accounts. Great people passed away, some before their time like Prince and Gene Wilder (oh Charlie) and Alan Rickman and Muhammad Ali and David Bowie and many, many more great people. Then there was Brexit and the US election and awful things in Syria and so much stuff. I must have known something because my word for the year was "strength". I can't say I lived up to it but it was obviously a good choice. Sigh.

I was all psyched up to go on a big whinge on 2016 in this post but decided that things have been so shit that I didn't really know where to start and because no one close to me died or was seriously sick I decided to let it all go. How adult.

Instead of a big whinge the no-one appreciates I thought I would tell you about what I'm looking forward to in 2017.  Let's see......

  1. Moving from the UK to somewhere else. To be honest I didn't really want to be here and not exactly sure what possessed me to move here. I have written a post about moving here but it may remain in draft because. Will see.  However lets just say I like warm weather. I do. 
  2. Moving to Singapore or Sydney. Might be good to know where but I don't. I seem to be getting better with ambiguity while friends we have made here in the UK are freaking out. Decision has to be made by January 3 2017 which should be plenty of time, shouldn't it? I thought the decision was made last week. And two weeks ago. And a month ago. Still in limbo land. Come on universe! Make a decision. We are grateful we have the opportunity to live in either place. Both are awesome amazing places to live and we have great friends in both locations. 
  3. I'm going to redesign my blog and move it to a new platform that is self-hosted. It will give me more flexibility and options. I'm looking forward to something fresh, something cool, something sexy. Cause I like sexy. Stay tuned.  
  4. Potentially trying something different. Feeling a little jaded from working for large US companies for the past 9 years. Working somewhere with purpose and soul could be for me. Or working for myself could be on the cards, depending on where we end up. 
  5. I'm going to give writing a go, a little more seriously. 
  6. Moving on. Being in a different place doing different things. Making new connections and contemplating life. Creating opportunities to be more creative.
  7. Planning new holidays in new places.
But sometimes looking back is good so keeping with the positive theme, here are my biggest read blog posts of all time, well since 2012....
  1. By a long shot is My Top 7 Interview Tips. It has three times more reads than any other post! I think it has something to do with the stress that people go through trying to secure a new job. 
  2. Breadth and Depth in your career: I really like this post myself and have also spoken about this to leadership development groups. There is something about doing generalist roles and then specialist roles and mixing it up in terms of companies you work for to gain a variety of experiences.
  3. Managing your career: keeping your mind fit: Look Mum I'm a health blogger! No just kidding. But some things that work for me.
  4. There's obviously lots of crap managers out there because this post made the top 5
  5. And at number 5 making a two parent family work is obviously on the mind of many and is my most recent post to make the top 5. Some tips that could work for you.
Happy Christmas everyone. Let's make 2017 better than 2016 shall we?

Lisa xx