CEO, The Ate Group
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 afinity for numbers, but I’ve had to learn how to understand a proit 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 sacriices 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 .”