This is the first in a series of profiles in the Surface Pro 3 Lighten Up campaign, where we sit down and chat with mobile professionals, influencers and creators in Singapore about their work and what they carry in their bag around town.
Gina is a woman on a mission. The 39-year-old entrepreneur is a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship and dedicates herself to helping others find success. To that end, she runs various communities in Singapore, all with the purpose of helping entrepreneurs and microbusiness owners build better business practices.
As an entrepreneur herself, Gina juggles no less that four different professional roles at any one time and somehow manages to keep them all up in the air. Nonetheless, even with all that on her plate, she makes it a point to always spend quality time with the other loves of her life: her husband and three children.
A true digital nomad, Gina finds productivity haven in multiple work spaces, from her home to a co-working space in town. By a stroke of luck, we managed to catch the elusive lady, all poised and confident despite her hectic schedule, at one of her favourite haunts in the CBD – Collective Works.
Q: What’s in your bag?
Most of the things I carry are for work – you won’t find makeup in my bag. A power bank, a 4G USB dongle, my Lumia 1520, an X-mini Bluetooth speaker for the times when you need music, and maybe a stick of lip gloss.
I may be a geek but I like small handbags, as long as the Surface Pro 3 fits inside!
Q: You’re quite the multi-tasker! Can you tell us a little bit more about what you do?
I’ve been called a networking strategist but really, I’m just an entrepreneur who loves to build communities.
I run Connected Women – a community dedicated to driving technology adoption by women in business and startup. At the moment we are working with National Youth Council to impact young professionals and entrepreneurs by helping them leverage technology more effectively.
I launched The Athena Network Singapore 3 years ago – a business networking community for women executives and entrepreneurs – we run 4 events a month and have just launched our online business and lifestyle directory www.executivelifestyle.sg
I’m also a board member for the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, which coordinates 57 local women’s associations into a national movement which promotes the ideals of “Equal Space, Equal Voice and Equal Worth” for women in Singapore. We also work with our regional counterparts for the advancement of women in ASEAN and the UN.
‘Business Rocks’ is an event I run with my husband – for people who love business, beer and music. Business owners and professionals can jam and enjoy meaningful conversation over a few drinks and even belt out some rocking tunes. It’s definitely very different from the typical networking event!
Q: That sounds like a lot of work! Do you have to run around many offices to fulfil your responsibilities?
I find myself most productive at my home office, so I aim to spend at least 2 days a week there. Catching up emails, writing, and any kind of ‘desk’ work, although my favourite spot is actually the sofa!
I’m a member at a few co-working spaces in Singapore, and I’ll spend the other 2 days of the week at one of those. Collective Works in the CBD is super convenient for team meetings, and for client meetings that need a nice professional boardroom. I also use The Hub in Orchard for casual coffees and networking, which is a great place to brainstorm and get creative. They have fab coffee too!
My newest found haven is Woolf Works in Joo Chiat. It’s a beautiful co-working space set up especially for women, and caters mainly to hot-desking working mums who need to get out of the house for some peaceful productive time. I live in the east so Woolf Works is perfect if I need a quick escape for work that needs concentration and focus.
Surface Pro 3 really suits my working style! It’s super light yet powerful, and the pen plus OneNote combo is just genius for quickly jotting down thoughts and ideas on the move.
Q: Have you always been such a workaholic?
Some people call me a workaholic but I honestly love what I do so it doesn’t really count as work to me – except for accounting!
I love taking on new challenges – I’ve run a farm, I’ve been a long haul cabin crew and I’ve run an IT company. That was after being a really late adopter of technology – my dad had a computer and email before I did!
As a mum, it is liberating to work in-between school runs, homework, parties and playdates. How and where I work is on my own terms. I can be just as productive as anyone who sits at their desk from 9:00am to 6:00pm all day – even with a kid jumping on my head and a teenager negotiating an extension of his world of Warcraft subscription.
Q: What’s the next big thing we can look forward to?
I’m on a mission to help create more women entrepreneurs and we need to leverage technology to do that – to create more impact. Entrepreneurship is a catalyst for social mobility and with technology the playing field has been levelled in a big way.
Technology is a game changer, especially for women. We can change the world from our kitchen tables!
A collaborative online platform for women entrepreneurs is my next big idea, one that I have been sitting on for a long time. I’ve finally started working on it, and I love it!
Q: With that crazy schedule, what do you do to relax?
The two greatest loves of my life are my work, and my family. My husband and I always try to be back for dinner – every single night if we can, so we can have a bit of quality time with the kids. I have a two-night-out a week rule and I do my best to stick to this.
Once the kids are in bed at 9:30pm it’s time for a beer, some music and a bit more work. I keep evenings for the creative type of work – it’s how I relax. My husband and I are quite happy just working away, listening to music and chilling out together.