Tell us a little about yourself and major life experiences that moulded you.
Born and raised in Singapore, I grew up in a very traditional Chinese family with my grandfather as the role model. Smart, knowledgeable, hardworking and cool as a cucumber, he told us how he came from China with his sister to create a life for himself, starting from a dishwasher in a noodle shop to being a well-known timber businessman in South East Asia. That taught me tenacity is in the family blood.
Since a very young age, I worked twice as hard to stand out from boys in the family. The next learning phase was when I migrated to Canada to study Art. However, my life events took a turn and I was faced with single income as a single parent of two children. I put myself through school, climbed the corporate ladder working 60-80 hours a week while raising a family alone, competed with my fellow male colleague for top jobs... I can say that hard work and determination does pay off and it gives so much satisfaction to be serving as a C-Level executive in my current position.
You are a name to reckon with in marketing, entrepreneurship development and motivational speaking. What were the challenges you faced to reach the position you are now?
I see myself as someone who loves to learn and share. I enjoy personal development. I also have the best mentor, Lee Yat Man, a man who led his company and grew it into a million-dollar business.
Working in corporate America for almost three decades was not a cakewalk, especially when you are Asian. There are cultural differences, business culture misalignment, and facing these challenges on a regular basis made me a much stronger individual. These challenges may sound general but put it into a project – it could determine the success or failure of the project.
Working with different types of people made me a better person and working with corporate America pushes me to upgrade my business, interpersonal, team building, sales and marketing and most of all international business development skills.
Tell us about the bestselling book you wrote. What led you to write the book?
I just wanted to share my story of adversity and how I overcame it. The purpose was to show young women that anyone can overcome adversities in life.
What do you think holds back women from achieving their true potential?
Themselves! Most people think it’s men or society that holds women back, but in reality, it’s the women who hold themselves back. Ladies, we need to learn how to be resourceful, find resources to progress in life. Knowledge is extremely important and key to success. An educated woman will always have options while uneducated women will call themselves victims.
Your advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs?
First, this journey you are about take is not going to be easy. It takes a lot of guts, determination, sleepless nights, undeserving criticism and opinions, failures before you even take your first step. You will never be ready no matter how much you plan. You may not make any money for a while. You will not have time for yourself for long periods of time.
However, the rewards are greater than the challenges. Seeing the results of your hard work is incredibly fulfilling. You need to be clear as to WHY you want to do this because your ‘Why’ will give you power to move mountains to reach your destination.
Why is a strong foundation so important to the build of a new start-up?
A strong foundation is a key to success, whether it is a start-up or a legendary company. Have a weak foundation, a company will not sustain. ASCIRA made its mark as a multimillion company during its first year, 2020. Our focus is to partner with world-class organisations across the globe and as the technology evolved, our partnership channel evolved with it, giving us not only a strong foundation but a competitive edge in the industry.
Belynda Lee's 5 tips to help women realise their true potential
1. Know where you are currently, where you want to go, then figure out how to get there. Your destination needs to be mapped out precisely so it has clear directions.
2. You need to have dreams and try to envision what your dreams look like; make sure that vision has absolute clarity.
3. You need willpower to execute your dream.
4. You need resilience to overcome challenges and adversities.
5. You can’t just dream; you need to ignite and activate your dream.
The one most important thing is – you must believe in all of the above.