When we sat down as a team to brainstorm on International Women’s Day (IWD) this year, we knew it wasn’t- it couldn’t- it shouldn’t be just another #trending topic to ride on. No. Deep in the pit of our belly, we knew (hoped, dreamed!) there was more we could do. Something that would truly celebrate women, all of us, not just for who we are, but who we can be – our innate potential, our untapped superpowers, our inherent worth.
This year, we decided to reach out and engage the younger generation – the adolescent minds, the blossoming beacons of hope for our future. Thus, “Do It Like A #WerkingWoman” was born – a half-day event, accompanied with an open invitation to students from all the universities and polytechnics island-wide, driven by a belief that this next generation of leaders will rise up to make a positive difference in the workplace. But how? They shouldn’t have to do it alone. Remember when we were about to graduate?
Oh god, what am I going to do with my life?
With that question in mind, we got to work, putting together a panel of culture changers and daring disruptors to share their personal stories and lessons on turning passion into purpose and carving out their own unique career paths.
The women who could deliver this message was pretty clear: GOJEK’s SVP of Business Intelligence and Growth, Crystal Widjaja, who sidelines as Co-Founder of Generation Girl; Vivy Yusof, Malaysia’s youngest e-commerce mogul and Co-Founder of FashionValet; Ginette Chittick, Fashion Design Lecturer and Programme Leader at LASALLE College of the Arts, who doubles up as local musician and fashion designer, as well as Love, Bonito’s own Chief Commercial Officer, Dione Song. Gosh, what a team.
We figured the eager undergraduates would also appreciate an up-close and personal glimpse into the different arms that make Love, Bonito, so we organised Breakout Sessions led by, er-hem, #teamLB. From Data to Marketing, Tech to Fashion Design and Merchandising — these workshops sought to inspire and empower the soon-to-be young leaders with practical handles and next-steps to discover & pursue their own passions.
Read on for all the highlights from ‘Do It Like A #WerkingWoman”.
PANEL TALK: FROM GRADUATION TO #GOALS
The panel is no doubt made of women whom we adore (did someone say #careergoals?), but the common thread uniting them is that they are all doing something completely different from what they studied way back when. School dropout? Law graduate? How about a degree in being a #girlboss?
Knowing that, we were dying to find out: how did these women get to where they are today? What were the difficulties that they faced and how did they overcome these challenges?
On the importance of college experiences:
“School is part of the experience of growing up and using it as an opportunity to meet very different people, or as a way to get outside your comfort zone. It was a stepping stone to learn how to stand up for myself and to stand my ground.” – Crystal Widjaja
“While you’re in school, explore all the internships and industries that are out there. Through exploring, you’ll find certain companies, certain roles that resonate better with you. That’s where you find out whether it’s a match with your technical skills.” – Dione Song
“College gives you feedback loops from your peers, from your groups mates, your teachers, and these are feedback that you should cherish. When you’re forced to reflect on what you did, and what you did poorly in, you begin asking important questions that help you improve. I think that if we aren’t reflecting and asking these questions, then we are wasting the experiences that we go through. You have to cherish this feedback from failures.” – Crystal Widjaja
“I don’t remember a thing from my law degree, but what I do remember is living abroad, learning to be independent, stepping out of my comfort zone, making new friends. These experiences shaped me to become the entrepreneur that I am today.” – Vivy Yusof
On finding your own unique career path:
“My journey and my road are very different from everyone else’s and so there’s no need to compare. Forge your own career path, and make sure you are happy with the path that you picked.” – Crystal Widjaja
“While you’re young, go broad and try everything. When you pigeonhole yourself into one silo and a specific track, you lose sight of a whole universe of everything else out there in the world.” – Dione Song
“Try not to say no to fun things! Just do it — you’ll never know where it’ll lead to. Through doing all these random part-time jobs that I’ve had since my youth, I became a people person. Today, I use these skills when I speak to parents of potential candidates. I know I’m good with people.” – Ginette Chittick
“I would advise going for what you’re good at. I’m passionate about so many things, from singing to scrapbooking, but where’s that going to get me? Sometimes, when you turn your passion into a business, it can suck the passion out of it and it becomes no longer fun. When you do what you’re good at and you keep at it until you see results, the passion will follow suit!”
– Vivy Yusof
On constantly improving yourself and honing your skills:
“Find yourself a good mentor that will point out harsh truths and to validate you when you’re doing well. It’s hard for us to become self-aware all on our own. Their direct feedback and opinions will help you grow, you need to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. And you need to know which ones to focus on.” – Crystal Widjaja
“We need to appreciate the things that do go well. It starts by reflecting on the little things that have happened in the day and understanding how to replicate the same success.” – Dione Song
“What you need to have is the vision. You may not have all the technical skills, but if you have the vision through various doing different things and experiences, then you become the right person to lead the project.” – Ginette Chittick
“All the failures I went through taught me so much. You have to go through it yourself. You can read about somebody else’s failures and what they’ve learnt, but it’s the emotional connection and the acknowledgment that you made a big mistake that grows you. Ultimately it grounds you, it makes you tougher, and it teaches you how to handle your emotions better.” – Vivy Yusof
BREAKOUT SESSIONS WITH #TEAMLB
While the panel talk sought to empower students with the courage to take risks and chart their own career paths, our breakout sessions were designed to inspire attendees to pursue their interests, whatever they may be, as a possible career.
In a sphere largely dominated by men, these women of #TeamLB have found not just a job which they enjoy, but a career that they now thrive in. Collectively, they represented the different facets of IT, from product management to software engineering and UI/UX design.
Attendees were given a primer on their individual roles and functions within the team and company, but what these women wanted to impart was much larger. They dished out advice on pursuing a career in tech while sharing their personal experiences of how they stumbled into the tech world.
Is Fashion Design Like Project Runway?
At the heart of Love, Bonito lies our dedicated Fashion Designers who gave students an exclusive peek into the process, guiding principles and philosophy behind their designs. And yes, our clothes are 100% designed in-house!
Step Into the World of Data:
The Data Team at Love, Bonito is more than just a group of number crunchers. They convert existing data into actionable insights for the company, positioning us as experts in female consumerism. Our Head of Data sat down for an intimate session with students and aspiring data analysts to share the value of data in any business, as well as her own personal journey with data.
What Omnichannel Marketing Really Means:
Students got to hear firsthand from the head honchos of LB’s Marketing Team about how to develop an overall marketing strategy across retail and digital touch points, in a world where e-commerce is of pivotal importance.
All About Fashion Merchandising:
On a day-to-day basis, our Head of Fashion Merchandising liaises with manufacturers, works with designers, decides on pricing, strategizes on how to push slow-movers, all while staying abreast of current fashion trends and styles. It’s much more than just shopping for a living and comes with its fair share of challenges — but she still loves it.
Whether or not you were there for our event, we hope you’ve picked up a thing or two from these amazing #werkingwomen!