Women Of Our Time: 4 Visionaries Making A Difference In Our Society

Beautiful, brilliant, and on a mission to elevate the way society ticks, IWC Schaffhausen presents four visionary women who reveal the true meaning of power and originality

iwc schaffhausen

Beautiful, brilliant, and on a mission to elevate the way society ticks, four visionaries reveal the true meaning of power and originality—hallmarks of IWC Schaffhausen.

iwc schaffhausen

iwc schaffhausen

Biggest business lesson… Know yourself and lead by example. Embody the qualities and traits you expect from others. Understand what you are passionate about, what really motivates you and what you are in a unique position to contribute. With this you have the power and commitment to take on missions that are bigger than yourself.

I am passionate… about supporting the arts and the power of film festivals to educate, engage audiences, bridge cultures and cultivate the innovation of filmmaking as an art-form. Over the past 27 years, the Singapore International Film Festival has played a vital role in discovering young creators particularly from Southeast Asia by giving them a platform to showcase their talent and connecting them to their audiences.

I am inspired by… those who use their voice, power and influence to better the world; who dedicate their lives to making a positive impact in the lives of others, both professionally and personally.

A goal I’ve yet to achieve is… to dedicate all my time to philanthropy and social enterprise. Environmental issues and climate change are becoming greater threats to humanity. As an avid scuba diver for almost two decades, you see first-hand the degradation of the ocean. This is a life source we all depend on and we all need to do what we can to protect it.

Being original… is vital to grow any organisation. For start-ups, you need diversity of thought to challenge your business model and pivot towards fresh ideas. Encouraging creativity challenges your assumptions about the market and allows you to adapt quickly if you need to. Take chances, with calculated risk to drive creative ideas and don’t punish mistakes. Create a working environment where any idea is not necessarily wrong.

Shaw wears the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 in stainless steel, with slate grey dial and dark brown alligator leather strap by Santoni. Dress, Roland Mouret at The Outnet.

iwc schaffhausen

iwc schaffhausen

A power woman… is someone who can inspire and affect change. I would like to inspire young people to work hard; not to compare themselves to the crowd; to embrace their strengths, and be fearless when opportunities come around. What I’ve achieved today didn’t come from business school, it is shaped from all the lessons I learnt while making mistakes along the way.

Motherhood… opened my eyes to whole new perspectives on a personal and business level. After meeting a lot of mothers, I realised there are full-time working mums who are just as frustrated as stay-at-home ones, and that there’s so much area in between. The path to women’s entrepreneurship became very clear to me. Through CRIB, we set out to connect these women, whether they had the capital to invest in a business, time to run a business, or simply have an idea for one; to work in collaboration to make something great.

I’m inspired by… my family, young people, and the women I meet on their entrepreneurial journey. I also keep a little box of notes I receive from people who write to me about how I’ve inspired them. It’s truly rewarding and keeps me motivated. I’m keeping it for the time I’m an old grandmother, when my grandchildren ask what I did when I was young, and I’d be able to say I was once inspiring… and have this sentimental box of notes to prove it.

Being original… is to be unafraid to blaze your own trail. Do not look at what others are doing, because it is what you are doing that matters—for you. Stay focused and believe in your vision.

My biggest project at the moment is… Singapore Fashion Week. This year signals a big change for us: We are focusing on industry growth—a See Now Buy Now campaign where we are working with Boutiques Fair, Zalora on a microsite, Tangs and Gallery & Co. for pop-ups, and local designers on creating ready-to-buy collections. We are also focusing on driving digital and regional collaborations, like our recent acquisition of Digital Fashion Week, and working with Bangkok Fashion Week, to help brands scale out globally.

Lee wears the IWC Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 in 18-karat red gold and diamonds, with mother-of-pearl dial and black alligator leather strap by Santoni. Dress, Marni at The Outnet.

iwc schaffhausen

iwc schaffhausen

Being an entrepreneur is… to be bold and tenacious. It’s no longer enough to be smart and good at what you do, you need to be a futurist. A successful businesswoman is a rock star. I think for any businesswoman, [it’s important that] you thrive in chaos. It trains you to really block out the noise and focus. It’s easy to say yes to everything or be distracted by the many opportunities around. But what truly sets you apart is the ability to focus and see what will ultimately propel you towards your end goal. The secret to Skin Inc.’s global success is that it’s a rare game-changing beauty brand that was born digitally. We disrupted the beauty industry and spearheaded e-commerce and social media almost nine years ahead of the industry.

Building a brand is… all about building trust. We empower potential and existing customers to self-diagnose their skin through a thorough skin ID test on our website. We then customise a serum to address their needs. Over 60 percent of skin ID test takers online buy the serum, which is a highly positive response. We see even better customer retention—a huge problem for e-commerce—because the product is personalised and works, and can be easily bought online again.

Good work comes from… communicating effectively. I am very direct with my team, and expect the same from them. The last anyone wants is to come out of a meeting thinking “did she say yes, or no?” I train them to diffuse their thoughts and zoom in on what they want and need to achieve today. This helps everyone manage their energy and focus.

Work-life balance… doesn’t really exist anymore. I am very balanced as a person, but it’s not necessarily just work and life, it’s more of just spiritual, body… So you need to constantly recalibrate. Work can be a 24/7 job, but it’s nothing to complain about. I always advise younger people to draw a Venn diagram with one circle on what gives you financial security and the other, passion. What’s highlighted in the overlapping area is what you should constantly recalibrate to focus all your energy on.

Leading should… not be emotional. It is about being empathetic, but knowing when to take emotion out of the decision-making equation.

Tan wears the IWC Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 in 18-karat white gold and diamonds, with black lacquer dial and black alligator leather strap by Santoni. Blazer, Dion Lee.

iwc schaffhausen

iwc schaffhausen

An entrepreneur should be… someone with undeniable conviction and commitment. It all comes down to having a meaningful and big enough vision, and killer execution skills. You need to do things differently to stand out, and learn quickly to evolve. I taught myself lots of things since I founded SoGal: From graphic design, website building, and content creation, to building rapport with partners, sponsors and media.

I stand for… women and our voices. I initially started SoGal as a student organisation in university to change the gender disparity in entrepreneurship. Today, we are a 4,500 members-strong global community, with platforms and initiatives that provide entrepreneurs with top notch resources and connections, while raising awareness on how awesome female founders are. We also created a venture capital firm that funds world-class early stage startups in the US and Asia.

I’m inspired by… intellectually stimulating conversations, and new ideas to change the status quo.

Passion is… when you absolutely love what you do, life becomes work and work becomes life. I feel energetic even after working crazy hours. With what I do, I’m in total control of my schedule, and get to visit great places for work. I’ve travelled to speak and host events in the US, Southeast Asia, China, the UK, Estonia and Russia in this year alone. We are in exciting times for women entrepreneurs.

I am a power woman for… my ability to create something out of nothing, which is what all entrepreneurs do. I’m also very good at immediately connecting the dots and making magic happen for people with our SoGal network.

To be original is… To keep your edge and fully accept who you are. It’s okay to be called crazy!

Sun wears the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic in stainless steel, with silver dial and stainless steel bracelet. Dress, Catherine Deane.

iwc schaffhausen

iwc schaffhausen

As the saying goes: Time waits for no-one. And who would understand this better than a woman who strives to carve out the perfect work-life balance from the hectic pace of modern life. It’s a measurable luxury that slips away like a thief in the night if you’re not careful—a fact that renowned Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen knows only too well, as its covetable Portofino 37 collection for women attests.

Exuding an easy elegance befitting the idyllic Italian Riviera village of its name, the Portofino 37 timepieces are perfect companions for women on the go. Their clean looks make them versatile style accoutrements that pair beautifully with any outfit, while an easy-to-read dial allows its wearer to keep to her busy schedule with a quick glance. Offering an expert balance of looks and functionality, the watches provide women with a timepiece that they can strap on and not have to worry about for the rest of the day.

The IWC Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 (shown here) is a good example of this. It’s set with a staggering 174 diamonds scattered all around the dial, bezel, even the lugs. Unlike the earlier versions, the dial is entirely of black lacquer with the Moon Phase at its 12 o’clock marker as if set on a night sky studded with diamond stars. Merging the romance of travel with the brand’s 148-year history and the decadence of the time, the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 is sheer poetry on a woman’s slender wrist, making the most elegant statement.

It is for a woman of our times because she is strong, resolute and discerning.

Photographed by Gan
Styled by Windy Aulia
Interview: Dana Koh
Text: Charmaine Ho
Hair/makeup: Toni Tan/My Makeup Academy
Styling assistant: Desiree Liew