Ten Questions

January 21, 2013 10:29 am

Adeline Tan

AdelineTan©Andrew Lum Photography

Adeline Tan: 'Women have it easier than a decade ago'

Adeline Tan is the founder of The Healing Concierge, a Singapore-based business that has developed green smoothies, made from vegetables, herbs and fruit, and delivers them door-to-door. The range of drinks include Greenhorn, Popeye, Peter Pan and the company website also provides listings of natural healing therapies.

Ms Tan is a graduate of Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University and assisted with the school’s global business plan competition. She also represents its Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, launched in 2009.

In her spare time, Ms Tan enjoys cycling, yoga, meditation and visiting cultural events.

1. Who are your business heroes?

Suze Orman, the American financial adviser. She’s my financial hero. Watching her programme – The Suze Orman Show – invigorates me and gives me hope.

2. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?

“Send love to everyone – including those who go against you.” Do this by sending positive statements and thoughts to the person in question so that the energy flow that returns remains positive. This helps in balancing the psyche, particularly in cases of trauma, pain and hurt. I’ve tried and tested it many times!

3. What is your biggest lesson learnt?

A sudden turn of events in my personal life caused me to question issues such as self-worth, self-love, self-pity and emotional balance. Through the support of loved ones around me, I was able to fight the battle of depression. It is through this experience that I learnt to be stronger in will, centred for greater clarity and awareness and to focus on what you have and not what you have lost.

4. What is your favourite business book?

Proverbs for Business by Steve Marr

5. Who is your ideal professor?

Prof Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become US secretary of state. It would have been amazing to be her student in the 1980s at Georgetown University, learning lessons from her own experience to support not only the aspirations of women at work, at school and in the home but also to give men insights into how to work with women in this new world economy.

For someone so seemingly powerful and career-driven, her happiest experience was marriage and raising a family, while her most painful was divorce and finding a way to move on and up. This to me is a humbling awareness that no matter how high up a corporate ladder or society a woman moves, it is intrinsic and in our DNA to always place our families and nurturing role first. This is the key factor to balancing our femininity.

6. Where would be your favourite place to study?

Quaint coffee places with fast WiFi.

7. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

By having the self-confidence to take ownership and being committed to the cause. More often than not, such traits may come across as being bossy, aggressive and emotional. Hence, strength and trust in oneself are needed so that one is not affected by other’s negative opinions. Stay focused on your own actions.

8. How do you deal with pressure?

By balancing myself emotionally and systematically dealing with issues. Always focusing on what needs to be done first and to be done in the right manner and time.

Being honest about my ability to deliver is important and communicating – that is key if the situation involves more than just myself.

9. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

I would have pursued a law degree and then an MBA.

10. What advice would you give to women in business education?

Women have it easier now than a decade ago because gender equality is now highly regarded and more stakeholders are sensitised to the idea of women being able to contribute intellectually and economically.

I would advise focusing on developing the skills needed to balance a career and family life – both for men and women – as well as influencing future change-makers to create policies and cultures within their workplace that allow the roles of the primary caregiver to evolve.

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