International Women’s Day is around the corner, and we’re celebrating some of the most successful women in Singapore. The ones who beat the odds in largely male-dominated industries to rise to the top of their professions, steering empires worth millions of dollars and impacting thousands of lives, both within and outside their firms. These 5 businesswomen in Singapore made it to the leadership positions at their organisations and inspire us to lead from the front.

5 Women in Singapore Who Show Us How to Have Successful Careers

1. Madam Ho Ching, CEO, Temasek Holdings

Madam Ho Ching is perhaps one of the best-known businesswomen not just in Singapore but also around the world, controlling one the most powerful business empires globally. The 63-year old is a regular on the Forbes list of most powerful women and seems to show no signs of letting go of the title anytime soon. Under her tutelage, Temasek has grown to a top line of over S$250 billion with its eyes now firmly set on expansion in Europe.

Finance and accounting careers

Want to follow in Mdm Ho’s footsteps? You can absolutely do so. With Singapore being the financial hub of Southeast Asia, there are immense opportunities for you to succeed in that sector. There are various institutes that offer excellent courses in finance and accounting.

Check out courses offered by the likes of the James Cook University Singapore and Singapore Management University. We also recommend checking out the events and mentorship programs of the Financial Women’s Association Singapore. This could help you to speak to other women in the sector, and understand opportunities.

Additional read: Most financially rewarding careers in 2017

2. Jenny Lee, managing partner, GGV Capital

The former jet engineer wouldn’t have thought of attaining a powerful position in the world of business, had it not been for an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management, which she says opened her eyes to a much larger world of opportunities. Lee is widely credited with having set up GGV’s China operations, leading large-ticket deals such as the one in technology firm Xiaomi.

According to Lee, being a female professional doesn’t set her back in any way, but rather helps her with additional perspective. What matters more in the world of business, she says, is “having the right passion, the right team, and the right background.”

Careers in Engineering

Around the world, women are being encouraged to pursue careers in Engineering. The UK celebrates the National Women in Engineering day on 23rd June, encouraging women to scout for career opportunities in the sector. Singapore is also making similar efforts. The number of engineers in the country have been steadily rising since 2008 and is likely to continue seeing an upward trend.

Engineering sub-disciplines, such as biomedical engineering and life sciences, offer good salaries and opportunities as well and has seen women engineers grow their careers here. If you have a keen interest in technology and are constantly intrigued by its wonders, you could consider pursuing an engineering course from one of the many institutes including the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.

3. Chua Sock Koong, Group CEO, Singtel

The 60-year has taken Singtel from strength to strength in the past few years, transforming the Singapore-based telecom firm into a global behemoth. The head of Singapore’s largest listed company, who is now overseeing its emergence as an integrated communications firm, joined Singtel as a treasurer.

Ms Chua is a CFA charter holder. She is also a Fellow Member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants. Her advice to all the women striving to make it big professionally is to decide for themselves how they will strike a work-life balance and juggle family and work rather than worry about what they are expected to do by society.

Careers in Telecom

The telecom sector in South East Asia is likely to see huge investments in the coming years. And this will throw up more job opportunities. The coming together of digital services for telecom players will also present interesting careers for women to look at. Another area which is seeing women participate more than ever before is telecom consulting.

If you aspire to make it big in the telecom industry, you could sign up for a Higher Diploma in Telecommunications and Network Engineering offered by Auston Institute of Management. For telecom consulting an MBA from a recognised university with experience in the sector may be a preferred route to take.

Additional read: 5 ways to be a more skilled worker

4. Cynthia Chua, Founder and MD, Spa Esprit Group

The lifestyle baroness started her first spa outlet in 1996. In 21 years, the company has built a formidable portfolio of over 18 brands and more than 100 food, beverage, and lifestyle outlets, among them a speciality coffee brand, a cafe chain, and a pizza chain.

The ‘queen of lifestyle’ now oversees a business worth over S$90 million, with 800 plus staff and operations in several countries around the world, including in cities such as London, New York, and Hong Kong. Chua says she owes her success to hard work but also to the fact that for her “work is play” and that she is able to go on doing it because she enjoys every minute of it.

5. Jennie Chua, Co-founder, Beeworks

No discussion about women’s contribution to Singapore’s hospitality sector would be complete without the mention of Jennie Chua. This ace hotelier’s story has a lot to be inspired by. Chua is the oldest of her 12 siblings and had to give up a scholarship course at the University of Singapore just after a year due to her family’s unfavourable financial condition.

From being a tutor and typist to having worked with renowned brands such as Westin Hotels and Raffles Holdings, Chua’s journey is motivating for anyone planning to make a career in the hospitality sector. She retired from the position of CEO and president of the Ascott Group and the Chief Corporate Officer of CapitaLand in 2012. Thereafter, she co-founded Beeworks.

Careers in hospitality

With the tourism industry booming in Singapore, the demand for well-trained hospitality professionals is on the rise. Singapore has many hospitality courses that follow modules that perfectly combine theory and practical knowledge to ensure that you are completely trained for your hospitality job beforehand. Some of these include MDIS School of Tourism and Hospitality and SDH Institute which offer both degree and diploma courses.

These women have shown that with the right drive and spirit, anyone can rise to the top. So what’s stopping you?

This post appeared first on the BankBazaar blog. is a leading online marketplace in Singapore that helps consumers compare and apply for the best offers across all financial products: personal loans, home loans, credit cards & investments.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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