I attended a women forum recently under the invitation of the co-organizer whose CEO also happens to be a friend of mine. I was one of the panelists for the two-day session. The forum was held in Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur; the set up was very classy and the stage was beautifully done. I met a lot of people during the two day-session and was awed at the strength of these women leading their lives.
I think one of the most inspiring sessions was when three panelists spoke about their fight against cancer. I was such an intimate topic that I think you ought to really embrace the challenge in order to be able to speak about it. They fought and won. These women are all leaders in their own right, societies, organizations and communities.
Cancer is like a time-stealer. They take time away from you. Inspiring sessions like these, I think, is very important for one to reflect on our own journey in life and to sort what matter to us. No one can tell you what they are, only you can answer this yourself.
I hope I have made a difference in someone’s life on that day.
After my session on the second day, I stepped down from the stage to the ladies room. Some reporters stopped me to take pictures. More people stopped me on the way out and more when I walked back in. They gave me call cards and told me how inspiring my story was to them.
That second session was entitled “Is Entrepreneurship For Everyone?”.
It was an open ended question. I shared my stories; how I grew up in a family where everyone was an entrepreneur. The good and the bad ones were all there. There was a story about how my grandfather, the sifu of the clan sold off one of the mountains in the village to some guy. The mountain was never his.
But then, he was gifted with the gift of the gab…
I started off my first foray in business right after school. The mom gave me some cash on my 18th birthday and I figured that the money will eventually be gone in days. Kuantan is a town by the beach and Teluk Chempedak was (still is) a haven for tourists. But, there was hardly anywhere to buy nice beach wear.
So, a boutique selling beach wear was the decision that I had. I had two talented batik designers from Terengganu to paint beautiful series of nature inspired pattens on the pareos. Their bright colours of lotus blooms and dragons from Lake Chini coloured the sun-kissed landscape.
There is one important learnt from all these- to be an entrepreneur, you have to embrace risk.
Coming back to the women forum.
As George and I were walking towards the lift at the end of the forum, I saw a lady heading towards an exit. I saw her in the crowd for the past two days. She was elegant and very classy looking, and love her baju kurung.
I introduced myself and she said she enjoyed my stories. They were so inspiring that she retold the stories to her son.
That night, I thanked God for the journey I had lived so far. That my little stories have inspired someone that day.