August 28, 2020

Singapore’s poster child for entrepreneurship Rachel Lim has spent the last ten years building a fast-fashion empire for women, while Ho Renyung has taken the sustainability route with her label Matter Prints before returning to her family business, Banyan Tree Holdings. In this “Leaders on Leaders” conversation, the two discuss a range of topics, including their leadership styles, hiring the right talent, mindfulness and motherhood.

Below are some highlights from their conversation.

Renyung on Letting Go of the Idea of Leadership

I realised that not feeling like a natural leader means I had an idea of what leadership looked like. When I stopped thinking about myself, whether I’m a leader in this or that, I started thinking of the people around me. From my experience, leadership is whether or not you’re able to bring out the best in the people around you, and inspire and motivate them towards a common goal.”

Rachel Lim

Rachel on How She Came Into Her Own as a Leader

“When I first started out, I would read about over-glamorised leaders like Steve Jobs and think to myself: ‘Oh, I’m nothing like him!’ I felt that way because I didn’t have any hard skills. I struggled a lot, also because I have never worked under anyone. I did not know the difference between a good and bad leader. I had to fumble and learn along the way to discover it. And it’s been such a long journey of confronting the truths of who I am, who I am not, what my strengths are and leading with them. I find that I’m more of a people-oriented leader.”

Renyung on One Characteristic She Looks for in Potential Employees

“I think self-motivation is really important. People who are naturally competitive with themselves and have a constant self-improvement streak. They always want to become a better version of themselves. They are not only hungry and driven, but also want to create an impact that benefits the people around them. They are the kind who want to make the situation better and derive satisfaction from that.”

Ho Renyung

Renyung on What Mindfulness Is

“Mindfulness is about empathy. It’s this sense of recognising the common humanity in you and me. If I can be present with myself, I can be present with you and your needs. If I cannot be present with you, how can I understand what you want and deliver it in a way that comes from an authentic place of wanting to care for you or to solve your problem?”

Rachel on Being Mindful at Work

“Looking back, I’ve come to realise that the mistakes I made could have been avoided if I had been more mindful and present in the situation.”

Renyung on Being a Mother

“It’s important to know why you want to be a mother. Everyone will have a different reason. For me, being one has exposed me to a form of love, which I’m learning to practise. Because love is a skill and a practice. It is not an emotion. How do I bring out the best in my child? How do we love someone in the best way possible? How do we love ourselves in the best way possible? It’s a practice of love.”

Watch the full video here.