Hello, Grace!

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All photos by me.

So as promised prior, here are images from my shoot with Grace! So super excited to be sharing this with you. She lives in one of my favorite areas in Singapore, Tiong Bahru, and we managed to catch the busy bee to answer some of our questions. Hope everyone is as inspired as I am 😉  If you’re keen on the products you’ve seen in the pictures above, shop Grace’s pick on ERIIN.com here. 

So, what do you do?

This is always a good question! I like to call myself a Changepreneur (Change Entrepreneur).  I wear many hats, one of the things I do is work with new businesses entering the market on strategy, marketing and brand management.   Another focus I have is in building communities for entrepreneurs, creatives, women and social innovators with the focus of establishing more connected ecosystems for collaboration, inspiration and further knowledge sharing.  At the same time I run programmes for individuals in various stages of their life cycle such as Change Ventur.es – a programme for individuals in transition or on a mid-career break looking to launch a social venture and realign themselves with their passion and a purpose in life.  My current projects and ventures are:  Agent Grace, Secret {W} Business (our community for women entrepreneurs, changemakers and innovators in SEAsia), CreativeMornings Singapore, SheSays Singapore and Change Ventur.es.  I’m also grateful to be a connector for + Social Good. +Social Good unites a global community of innovators around a shared vision: Leveraging the power of technology and social media for social change. I’m also a mentor at Hub Singapore and Curator for TEDxSingapore Women.

What does a normal day look like to you?

A normal day varies for me – I usually set aside two days for meetings and the other days for more getting things done- but it isn’t always that way! I try and do most of my work in the morning and then set aside the afternoon for some emails, calls.

Could you tell us what or who inspires you to go on doing what you do?

I love connecting with people and I love bringing people together to learn, share, inspire and collaborate.  I am also extremely passionate about showcasing local talent on a global level and unleashing every individuals potential – there are unique and hidden talents everywhere.  This is one big driver that makes me continue what I’m doing.  The other driver of motivation for me is my own background, being a third culture kid and a global citizen I feel it is necessary for me to help bridge cultures for a more integrated and collaborative society whilst assisting to build better cross-cultural understanding amongst people, businesses, cities and regions.  In the words of Kwame Nkrumah – “We face neither east nor west, we face forward”.

How did you get to where you are now? Tell us more about your background.

It’s been a faster than expected journey to where I am now.  When I first started out with Agent Grace in 2009, it was solely working with Australian businesses coming into the market and more focused on Fashion, Travel and Lifestyle and then my father passed away and I needed to take time out for family reasons.  After taking some time out I realised the agency direction wasn’t where I wanted to go and so not long after I had a breakdown. I decided to take a month off, isolate myself in Indonesia and focus on myself.  I started creating a map of where I wanted to go both professionally and personally with the higher vision of change.  Change in one-self and change in society and the region.  I wanted to do what I should have always been doing – something to give back to the community, something to grow the region in areas we were dormant or less visible in and bridge the gap between Asia and the West.  Being a third culture kid, it was something I always felt was lacking, this connection between the east and west.  I had previously noticed gaps – in the creative sector and in the entrepreneurial space (around early 2011) and that then provided me further direction as to where I wanted to go and should go.

After a month of breaking down and having my breakthrough I came back to Singapore and hit the ground running with my action plan and since then its been a rollercoaster of a ride and one thing led to another.

In early 2012 that’s when I came together with my partners Daylon Soh and Renyung Ho to bring CreativeMornings to Singapore, it was something we had all connected on and decided it was the best way to start growing and enabling the creative sector here in Singapore. From there I then launched Secret {W} Business with my partner Camille Schu and now Natalie Copuroglu in May, which was to make entrepreneurship and social innovation more accessible to women across the region whilst cultivating a culture of collaboration and co-creation. We launched Secret {W} Business because we were struggling to find a community for ourselves that we could share our challenges, fears, tips and resources with like minded women.  Early 2013 I launched Change Ventur.es after seeing that so many individuals I had come into contact with were in transition or taking a mid-career break and needed a space and process that I had gone through only a year before when I had my breakdown so in September 2013 the first programme began and there’s more in store for 2014 – so definitely watch the space of Change Ventur.es.

What is your top dream or what is top of your list to achieve / reach ?

I want to bring Asia on a more global level in terms of creativity, entrepreneurship and social innovation. I want to be able to foster and grow local talent across the countries I’m most knowledgable about and create more connectivity between the ASEAN region.

What advice would you give young women or women who are chasing their goals/dreams?

Don’t do it for the money, do it because you’re passionate about what you’re doing.  Be strong and stay resilient.  There’s no such thing as failing you’re always succeeding as you’ll always learn something and grow one way or another.

How do you usually get ready before a meeting? How about a night out?

It really depends on the meeting – but I’m usually pretty quick in getting ready, I like no-fuss and simple attire – something that’s quick and easy for both a night out or my day to day meetings.  The nice thing when I’m heading out for a night out is I can wear heels 🙂

What are some of your favorite spots in Tiong Bahru?

I’m a big fan of the PS Petite Cafe for a great class of wine and some pizza.

What are you currently…

(1) reading? – Makers by Chris Andersson

(2) listening to? – not really listening to much at the moment 🙂 but I’m a fan of oldie music

(3) eating?  – quinoa salads we make at home!

——-

The next ERIIN.com profile will be of the amazing Innika Choo of No Faux Pas. Excited yet? 😉

xx Kate

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