Founder of GameStart Asia, 38
Meet BAZAAR’s league of extraordinary women. Singapore visionaries under 40, they are paving the way in the tech and digital spheres and proving that the future is not only female, the future is now.
This is the woman who believed in gaming so much, she used her life savings to start up GameStart Asia in 2014. Since then, it has become the premier gaming event in Southeast Asia. Attributing her success to calculated risk-taking, Lee gives us an insight into the hunger and grit that has seen her forge a reputation as a first mover in the industry.
How old were you when you first started gaming?
I was probably seven or eight when I played my first PC game, a super old DOS RPG called The Faery Tale Adventure, on my father’s PC.
Was it hard convincing your family about your career?
My parents are open-minded and believe in letting me make my own decisions. They only became concerned when I set up my own business and was no longer on a big company’s payroll. The first year was tough, and they called me often to ask me to just find a job. But after they realised that I wasn’t going bankrupt, they relaxed.
You left Electronic Arts (EA) to start up digital marketing agency Zombits, gaming organiser Eliphant, then GameStart. Tell us why.
Zombits was set up after I left EA because I couldn’t find a marketing agency that understood how to market games. Eliphant was set up because I decided to create a gaming event that I, as a gamer, would want to attend. We have tons of passionate gamers here, who don’t have the opportunity to travel to the big overseas events. I was also sick of people telling me that the gaming market in Singapore was a low priority, and in 2014, 12,000 gamers proved that we did have an active gaming community here. One thing led to another, and GameStart will have its sixth edition this year, as the largest and longest-running gaming event in Singapore.
What experiences in life have helped you so far?
I majored in psychology in school, and that allowed me to gain a level of self-awareness and an understanding of human cognition processes that have helped me tremendously in my career. I also worked in a wide variety of jobs before, which provided me the opportunity to interact with a wide demographic of people and to handle different situations. I worked in nightclubs, did research for government policies, worked in corporate branding, did PR for beach resorts and launched a hotel chain. I’ve really learned to use my voice and let my opinions be known.
Click here to see the other four women on our list.
Photographer: Darren Gabriel Leow
Stylist: Adriel Chiun
Videographer: Stacey Rodrigues
Makeup: Cheryl Ow using Parfums Christian Dior
Hair: Sean Ang using OUAI
Photography Assistants: Eric Tan and Melvin Leong
Styling Assistants: Chandreyee Ray and Beverly Tan