CEO, The Ate Group

CLEO (Singapore) - - BEAUTY -

Su-Lyn is the co-founder and CEO of The Ate Group, a brand­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany that spe­cialises in lux­ury life­style and F&B clients.

When did you de­cide this was what you wanted to do?

I’ve al­ways known I wanted to make a ca­reer out of my writ­ing skills since I was 12. But I never knew what form that ca­reer would take. It was only when I was in univer­sity, do­ing a dou­ble ma­jor in Me­dia Stud­ies and Pub­lic Re­la­tions, that I could see more prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions to my writ­ing.

I started off as a mag­a­zine writer. Af­ter over a decade, I found my­self broad­en­ing my per­cep­tion of how edi­to­rial could work in brand­ing. The tran­si­tion was not nec­es­sar­ily a cal­cu­lated ca­reer move, but it made sense.

Did you ever doubt your de­ci­sion?

When you think you’re a one-trick pony, you can’t re­ally give your­self the space for self-doubt. I know what my strong­est skill is, so I looked for ways to use it best to make a liv­ing. In ad­di­tion, I forced my­self to ac­quire new skills – no mat­ter how un­nat­u­ral they felt.

For ex­am­ple, I don’t have an af†in­ity for num­bers, but I’ve had to learn how to un­der­stand a pro†it and loss state­ment. It’s not easy, and con­tin­ues to be a chal­lenge! I’m also in­tro­verted and pri­vate, but to grow the busi­ness, I’ve made a con­scious ef­fort to be more open and place my­self in so­cial sit­u­a­tions I might not in­stinc­tively want to be in. It has taught me to †ind ways to en­gage with peo­ple in a mean­ing­ful man­ner.

I’ve learnt that feel­ing un­com­fort­able and a lit­tle out of your depth is the only way to give your­self the op­por­tu­nity to grow.

What ad­vice would you give women look­ing to get into your field?

The chal­lenge in com­mu­ni­ca­tions lies in mak­ing ev­ery­thing look ef­fort­less, or­ganic and nat­u­ral. The re­al­ity is lots of hard work, se­ri­ous el­bow grease, and care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion ev­ery step of the way to make it look like #iwoke­u­p­likethis.

Be hum­ble, stay au­then­tic, keep learn­ing, and al­ways ac­knowl­edge the con­tri­bu­tions of the peo­ple around you. Ev­ery mis­take you make is an op­por­tu­nity to learn. I’ve made plenty of costly mis­takes in the course of my ca­reer.

Don’t be­lieve ev­ery­thing you see on so­cial me­dia. You can’t have it all. No­body does. Com­pro­mises and sacri†ices al­ways have to be made.

“I’ v el earnt that feel­ing un­com­fort­able and a lit­tle out of your depth is the only way to give your­self the op­por­tu­nity to grow .”

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