CHAYUDA “NINA” JIARAVANON
“I want to pick up a new skill, be more mindful of everything I do, and spend more time with my family”
DESPITE BEING BORN WITH THE PROVERBIAL SILVER SPOON IN THEIR MOUTHS, SIBLINGS CHAYUDA “NINA” JIARAVANON AND CHAVAL “RICHIE” JIARAVANON ALSO SHARE AN UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO FORGE THEIR OWN PATHS. françois oosthuizen MEETS THE DYNAMIC BROTHER-AND-SISTER DUO
BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION
and possibly (partly) due to a four-year age gap, Nina and Richie Jiaravanon’s relationship hasn’t always been that of doting brother and sister. “We used to fight a lot as children. We didn’t get along and liked completely different things. I think we are much closer now; we can discuss bigger issues or work, family and friends,” Nina says.
Richie concurs. “We have a love-hate relationship; sometimes we are inseparable, other times we can’t stand being around each other. But we’ve gotten closer over the years as we’ve both grown and matured. I think we’ve come to understand each other a lot better,” he says.
The only children of Chatchaval Jiaravanon, managing director of Group Investment and executive director of True Corporation, and his wife, Kwanjai, chairwoman of entertainment company CK United, Nina and Richie credit their personal value system to their upbringing.
Nina, who currently works as a private banker at UBS Singapore after earning a degree in International Relations from Tufts University in Boston and a Master’s degree in Business Management from Imperial College Business School in London, recalls happy memories from her childhood. “Growing up, it was mostly my mom who was there to mentor and teach me, as my dad was working most of the time. My mom was strict – which, in hindsight, was a good thing. She would make us sleep at a certain time, practice piano, do our homework. It taught us to be disciplined. She also made sure we had proper table manners, knew how to speak politely and treat others with respect and kindness – not taking things for granted. This all have guided me to become who I am today.
“I feel like my relationship with my mom has changed to become more of a friend, my closest confidant. We go shopping, chat, watch movies, etc. My dad, on the other hand, has always been my biggest role-model. His work ethic is amazing. Even today he is still juggling numerous work projects. He is a man of great vision – he has the ability to stay relevant, combining his work experience and wisdom with new technology. He is able to connect with both people of his generation and the new generation. He is the most intelligent person I know; his knowledge of Chinese history and his ability to draw parallels to current events is amazing. He has also taught me about business; how to think about investing and managing money, Nina explains.
Her earliest professional aspiration was to follow in her father’s footsteps and that, coupled with a natural curiosity and a love for travel and other cultures, led to her studies in International Relations. “I always had an interest in learning about the growing complications of our increasingly globalised world. The memories of learning about Chinese history from my dad triggered my interest in learning about how history may repeat itself.”
She continues, “Being away from my family and living abroad alone for the first time pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to grow a lot. I was able to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds and learn from their experiences. I became more independent and self-aware.”
On the topic of her childhood growing up in Bangkok, Nina also fondly recalls going on road trips with her family and cousins to Newport Beach, California. “We would always embark on new adventures during the summer – white water rafting, sailing, body boarding. It served as a constant reminder to continue to be curious of new things, to try new experiences, and the importance of family.”
Prior to landing her current job at UBS Singapore, Nina held several internship positions at fashion houses to gain firsthand experience of different jobs, including Christian Dior, Zac Posen and Jil Sander (the latter two in New York City) – “I had to do sales management, run samples to photoshoots, pack
samples for magazines, whatever they wanted me to do.” She then interned at Bangkok Bank SIP and Phatra Securities – her first exposure to the world of banking – before joining Credit Suisse in the business development division.
Two years later, in October 2017, she became a full-fledged private banker at UBS Singapore. “I love that as a private banker it’s not only investment management you handle for clients, but you can also help them with other aspects such as succession planning and philanthropy. I enjoy meeting new people (colleagues from different backgrounds as well as clients), expanding my network of people, learning the stories of successful clients, and listening to clients’ needs and then finding comprehensive solutions to meet their demands,” Nina explains.
Her work ethic – “work first, play when deserved” – might sound somewhat serious for a 20-something, and that’s because Nina admits that her career is the most important thing in her life right now. She does however believe in maintaining a happy, healthy and balanced lifestyle. She’s a serious foodie and has a sweet tooth, with Esora in Singapore being her new favourite restaurant.
For her, the key to a balanced lifestyle is a combination of four things: “Work hard, and reward yourself for the hard work; prioritise important things and practice good time management; always make time for yourself – even with a busy schedule; and allocate time for exercise.”
Nina’s describes her personal style is “casual comfort” and says good taste is all about “being confident in one’s personal style and what you choose – being able to express what you stand for and what you believe [in].”
If she could look into the future, she admits that she would like to see three things: “To be successful at my job, to have a warm and loving family, and to give back to society.” In the meantime, as she kicks off the New Year with renewed vigour, she’s adamant to accomplish at least three things in 2019. “I want to pick up a new skill, be more mindful of everything I do, and spend more time with my family.”
Determination and drive run in the Jiaravanon family, and younger brother Richie says his earliest aspiration was to be as successful as his parents and other family members. “My role models growing up were my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Being fortunate enough to be born into a successful family means that there are countless role models to aspire to and all of them are more than happy to share what they’ve learned.
“Growing up in my family was an interesting experience. Both my sister and I were incredibly blessed to have supportive parents who were very open-minded; they never told us what we had to become do with our lives. Rather, they would suggest us to try anything and everything. My track record is an example of this as I grew up playing baseball, ice hockey, alto sax, tennis, etc.”
Richie, who spent most of his childhood in boarding schools in the USA, describes himself (as a child) as “an energetic and mischievous mama’s boy”, and there are some childhood memories that really stand out for him. “My grandmother passed away when I was quite young and it
“GOING TO BOARDING SCHOOL IN AMERICA OPENED UP MY LIMITED WORLD VIEW”
“I WANT TO BECOME A BETTER VERSION OF ME…” - Chaval “Richie” Jiaravanon
was a coming-of-age moment for me. It was the first time in my life that I realised that not everyone is going to be around forever. Going to boarding school in America also opened up my limited world view. Meeting people from around the world really gave me a new perspective on how large and diverse everything is.”
In his family, he says, there’s a saying that goes, “In life you have two choices. If you go out and play today, they will become your dreams by tomorrow. If you go out and plant a seed today, by tomorrow you will begin to see sprouts.”
Armed with a degree in International Business from Chulalongkorn University – a study field he decided on because it provided him with an opportunity to pick up a foreign language while learning to practically apply it in business – Richie set out on his own course. Today he is the CEO of Snapask Thailand, an edutech startup. “We created an education app that is similar to the Uber of tutoring. We’ve launched in 10 different countries and have around 1.2 million student users,” he says.
And although his dream job as a kid was to become a professional hockey player or a professional singer, that changed as he got older. “Realistically, I want to become the CEO of a large multinational company that makes people’s lives better on a big scale,” he says. And it appears Richie is well on his way to achieving just that.
Asked about his guilty pleasures, Richie admits that he loves dogs, shoes and cars. He’s also an avid sports lover who enjoys any competitive physical activities. “It makes me feel alive,” he says. In his free time he enjoys building mechanical things like computers and keyboards, and is slowly also moving towards cars. No wonder then that high on this avid traveller’s bucket list is to watch the Monaco Grand Prix from a yacht with family and friends.
As far as his personal style is concerned, it’s all about comfortable, well-fitted clothing. “Having clothing fitted to you is the most important thing when it comes to fashion. I really like stylistically ‘clean’ looking clothes with a dash of colour to really make a statement, complemented by a nice watch and shoes. I also love layering during fall, albeit not in Thailand,” Richie says.
And his New Year resolution? “I want to become a better version of me…”
“I WANT TO PICK UP A NEW SKILL, BE MORE MINDFUL OF EVERYTHING I DO, AND SPEND MORE TIME WITH MY FAMILY” -Chayuda “Nina” Jiaravanon
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