December 23, 2019

This year, we caught up with the co-founders of KOP Limited, learnt the secrets of building a multi-million dollar enterprise from a millennial leader, told the story of an ex-military woman who exemplifies the values of servant leadership, and found inspiration in Rosaline Chow Koo’s embracing of her identity as an underdog and minority. Taking a retrospective look at the profiles we published in 2019, here is a round-up of our favourite longreads that offer the most enlightening insights on how to be successful in business.

“Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams Thrives on Creating Disorder”

We picked Will Butler-Adams’ brain on his leadership philosophy, so you’re able to gain wisdom on how to lead and empower a team in a rather unconventional style. Humility is key, and so is creating space and opportunities for your employees to grow and take ownership of their efforts. Bonus: There are a few other lesser-known practices you can use to harness and inspire the best out of your staff.

“How Goh Yiping is Levelling the Playing Field in Venture Capital”

Master the art of attracting the right venture capital investors to take your start-up to the next level. This interview with Goh Yiping, a serial entrepreneur and VC extraordinaire, offers insider tips to how founding teams are judged, and the sort of traits that venture capitalists typically look for in potential investments. If securing VC funding is a major goal for you in 2020, this story is a year-end must-read.

“An Epic Conversation with Ong Chih Ching and Leny Suparman”

This piece explores the ingredients of building an effective relationship between business partners, by looking through the lens of Ong Chih Ching and Leny Suparman who have enjoyed substantial longevity and consistency in the years they have run KOP Limited. Companies tend to suffer because of bickering co-founders that end up more as enemies rather than friends. Learn the tricks to successfully manage co-founder dynamics through the duo, and sidestep the pitfalls of falling out with your partner-in-crime.

“DocDoc Co-Founder Grace Park is Curing the Pain of Shortchanging Patients”

In this story, we profiled Grace Park and gleaned from her the ways of being a servant leader—inspired by the time she served as a military leader at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The erstwhile managing director of a Fortune 500 firm also speaks about the transition from a major corporation to a growing start-up, and how one can survive the changes and apply the same principles to lead with character.

“How Secretlab CEO Ian Alexander Ang Built a $300 Million Company in 5 Years”

Find out what it’s like to operate a business from the perspective of a 20something. This interview will teach you that being young isn’t a disadvantage, as you gain an understanding of running a millennial company and engaging with employees in that age group (without compromising your authority). If you are thinking of scaling, this homegrown start-up is a prime example of how to reach a global consumer base and become a $300 million firm in a short span of time.

“Tong Yee on The Importance of Self-Work, and Being Financially Sustainable While Creating Social Impact”

While it sounds like a fairly straightforward affair, the implementation of corporate social responsibility may not always end up as a success—one that has significant impact, benefits worthy causes and isn’t just a paper exercise. Tong Yee, the co-founder of The Thought Collective, steps in to provide guidance on making the most of these programmes and sees creating social impact and raising the bottom line as working hand-in-hand with each other.

“The Underdog Story of Rosaline Chow Koo”

Wrap up your year by revisiting one of the earliest profile pieces we published in 2019, in which CXA Group’s Rosaline Chow Koo shared about how she made the leap from a stable, high-ranking position at a major firm to starting from scratch as an entrepreneur in her 50s. This story of empowerment will remind you that there’s power in being an outsider and a minority, and how to harness that in business by making it your greatest strength.