Here are the stories of three women who have broken ground in their fields – leading the charge and paving the way for fearless women like themselves.
Jaelle Ang, The Great Room
Living big, living great
If you've been to CapitaLand’s One George Street building, you may have also visited the coworking space – The Great Room. Paying homage to the world’s finest homes and blending elements from the most luxurious hotels and business clubs, The Great Room is designed for executives to have quiet moments or to socialise, entertain and network.
An architect by training, Jaelle has worked in Credit Suisse and Citibank, lived in Bangkok, and launched an art school for children.
She is also now the CEO and co-founder of The Great Room. It is an understatement to say that she has singlehandedly built a life of ‘greatness’ and gone on many grand adventures.
Jaelle is also a mother to four kids, juggling the needs of nurturing her family while growing her business.
It’s not an overstatement to say that CEO and founder of the Spa Esprit Group, Cynthia Chua, transformed the face of the beauty and lifestyle scene here with the opening of Singapore’s first dedicated waxing salon, Strip in 2002. Tackling the hushed topic of grooming in an era where women (and men) are expected to look like Greek goddesses without any external intervention, Cynthia’s bold business model and cheeky ads have made the need for grooming and self-care more important and transparent.
The Spa Esprit stable now has 17 brands across 9 countries – including popular lifestyle F&B brands like Tiong Bahru Bakery, Common Man Coffee Roasters and Open Farm Community. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics from the National University of Singapore, it's fair to say that Cynthia’s career has taken quite an unlikely turn.
She went on work in a bank and also became a property agent but her passion for holistic therapy brought her to learn massage therapy in the Bronx and aromatherapy in London. Cynthia has since brought the Singapore brand to London in 2009, when it opened its first waxing salon in the city.
Little known fact – the next time you try the calendula or aloe vera products at Spa Esprit, there's a good chance the product was grown in a secret, rooftop farm at Raffles City Singapore.
Synonymous with custom bookbinding and leather crafting, Singapore brand Bynd Artisan is helmed by Winnie Chan and her husband, James Quan. Harnessing the skills and experience of craftsmen who have been working on the production floor since her grandfather’s traditional bookbinding business in the 1940s, Winnie has given the business a new lease of life.
Through new initiatives for the company’s branding, human capital and manufacturing processes – Winnie has evolved the business into an experiential retail concept. She has also been a strong supporter of local brands and talents, partnering fellow homegrown fashion label Ong Shunmugam and industrial designer Olivia Lee.