Tuesday, 4 April 2017

When you really should listen to your gut. Really.

I am a big fan of listening to your gut, or your heart, or contemplating your navel. I'm big on working out what your values are and ensuring you work with those. I believe in working out your purpose and aligning your work and life with that.

But then you should take chances and chase the adventure and say yes and all of that. Believe all the memes and you know....be inspired and motivated, like this:

And this:

But sometimes you should just stop that shit because motivational memes aren't real life are they? If you are dreaming of lying by the pool for eternity and/or living by the sea in a shack and growing your own vegetables (when you have a very brown thumb) and making pickles and dehydrating your own food and dreaming about a different job (but you can't define that job), like I have been for quite a while, maybe you should listen to that. Don't you think?

I think.

You see in late 2015 this was this restructure at work and I chased a role (because I didn't like the alternative) and got offered said role and you know, I wasn't really sure I wanted the role even though it was more senior and has some fantastic career development. I think the kicker was that to accept the role I needed to move from Singapore to the UK or Norway. Apart from not really wanting to move from Singapore, I wasn't sure I wanted to convince a whole new set of leaders that what I do and what I believe in, is important. Because in my head you shouldn't have to. Shouldn't have to prove that people are important to business and looking after them and challenging them and developing them, is the right thing to do. It's not that I don't know how to convert the doubters, I do. I know I can do this and I'm good at doing this, and I have done it before.

I had spent the previous 18+ months doing this with a number of leaders across Asia Pacific, and while they now get what I do, and know that I'm on their side and will help them be better, it's an uphill battle. And I know that a couple of these leaders think the world of me and loved what I brought to the business. Apart from that I was exhausted. Hence the fantasising about doing something simpler like growing vegetables. One leader I spoke with, who was having similar struggles, wanted to give it all up and run a Jim's Mowing business. At least he knew how he was going to make money!

So we proceeded along the path that I would accept the role and move to Europe somewhere (we being Arran and I and the small boys Aiden and Charlie). I didn't listen to the anxious voices in my head or pay attention to the heaving crying in the middle of the night. Nor the nagging feeling in my gut, or the complete difficulties in every part of the move. And we moved to the UK.

Unlike our move to Singapore everything was hard. Not that moving countries should be easy. It's not. Even if you moved house within the same suburb or area you know it's hard. All your possessions in different boxes and all over the place. Complete disruption. Moving country is a whole other ball game. Most of your assumptions don't hold in the new place and you don't realise until you start trying to do things. Opening a bank account is all kinds of hell, there is a different driving culture in each county, renting somewhere to live has different rules, and most days you feel violent towards other people, particularly in the supermarket. And don't get me started on the UK health care system which is in all kinds of strife (like many health care systems in the developed world), and I can now see why. Of course there are lots of amazing and great reasons to live and work in a new country but it's definitely not for the faint hearted.

So do you think I headed all these warning signs? Do you think I listened? That would be a big fat NO. And so two months after moving to the UK,  when we where still getting settled, I was informed that my role would no longer be required. I mean really?

So what did we do? My UK work visa meant I couldn't work for another employer in the UK in the near future and the complications around trying to stay on a different visa were a long shot considering the state of the UK economy post Brexit. And we were done.

We made the decision to move back to Singapore.

So far, so good, and I now have some good job opportunities which I'm hoping, one at least will come off in the next few weeks.

Lisa xx

Saturday, 1 April 2017

The wrap up - International Women's Day

There is something wonderful that happens when you put a whole lot of women in a room, with a beautiful outlook, fabulous food, glasses of cold prosecco and inspiring stories. The barriers are down and people start connecting and being curious and well...

So many people have asked me how the International Women's day lunch went, and to be honest it was better than I had imagined. I hadn't really run an event like this before. I have organised and run meetings and leadership development programs and sales training programs, but this was different. It seemed to me that the day would go well if the food was good and people got on with each other. I also hoped that the speakers would be well received and interesting and that we could do some good by donating some money to Aidha, a Singaporean organisation committed to providing financial and computer literacy programmes, and leadership and entrepreneurial skills for foreign domestic workers and lower-income women.

But leading up to the event I had all the concerns:

  • What if no one wants to come?
  • What if I don't sell any tickets?
  • What if the food is terrible?
  • What if the attendees don't get on?
  • What if the speakers are terrible?
  • What if I alienate people?
what if, what if, what if...........


The setting was beautiful and the food was so good. The best part though, was the conversations. The conversations happening at each table, the inspiring career conversations told by the fantastic speakers and the conversations that were generated as people left the event and told me what they thought. Two people at least told me they really needed to hear what the speakers had to say and that they were so glad they came.

From all the feedback I received I would say the day went great.

Carolyn Milligan was bubbly, funny and down to earth in telling her story about raising her twin girls, moving to Singapore and being involved in Helper Beauty pageants. Carolyn generated many laughs from her entertaining stories and showed us that there are different ways to manage your family and raise your kids.

Melinda Bush told her story including her fathers expectations for her career, her journey to become a Harvard Law school graduate, through to her dream job in Beijing and coming to Singapore with her young family. She was engaging and humorous and told some hard truths about working for a large law firm, after having a baby.


  • people did come
  • I did sell enough tickets and was only 3 short of my goal of selling 30
  • the food and service was divine
  • the attendees got on so well it was hard to shut them up for the speakers!
  • I could not have asked for better speakers. They were amazing 
  • I hopefully didn't alienate anyone
And we donated $350 to Aidha! Cool huh?

Wanna come to my next event in Singapore?

It's on Thursday 27 April and will be an evening event. Put in your diary and details coming soon on the speakers, venue and tickets.

Lisa xx 

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