31 Mar - 30 Apr 2021
Many of you have enjoyed our sharings from the everyday female heroes at By The Bay. For our second installation, we introduce the behind-the-scenes females who run the operations and management at By The Bay. Here’s to the women in our lives with multiple roles, be it a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur, a career builder or all of these at once. Let us continue to celebrate every woman’s achievement in the month of International Women’s Day.
Ms Chan Ai Lin, Head of Office
Her 7th year with By the Bay, Ai Lin oversees all office spaces, new lease lettings and lease renewals in Marina Bay Financial Centre and One Raffles Quay that account for the largest integrated mixed use development in Singapore with 4.5 million square feet of prime Grade A office. Her role requires negotiation commercial leasing terms and contracts as well as building relationships with tenants.
Q: Could you share how your interest in real estate began?
A: I started out in telecommunications and then went on to the information service industry. My passion for real estate grew when I joined a real estate company in 1997 to lead an administration team. My mentor then, who is now a close friend of mine, had given me an opportunity to assist the leasing department, something different from what I was used to. I started with marketing of retail spaces and eventually moved on to the office sector.
Q: Would you be able to share an experience that you overcame while in your role?
A: Along the way I decided to take up part-time studies to hone my skills. Little did I know that I would end up with 2 certifications – a degree certificate and a birth certificate! I was already in my last trimester during the final examinations and nearly missed it with an early delivery. Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to do all that but it makes for a good storytelling.
Q: What career advice would you like to share with the fellow women?
A: Do your best and when you have done your best, don’t beat yourself up over it.
Ms Jaclyn Chan, Head of Retail and Marketing Communications
Jaclyn has been with By The Bay for 7 years now. She began her career with URA in the Development Control department. After a 2-year stint, she decided to explore the world of retail leasing and has never looked back since.
Q: Why do you enjoy working in the real estate industry?
A: The dynamics and the constant stream of new retail concepts entering the market excites me. Being in retail and marketing communications, I have been given the privilege to get to know a diversity of our By The Bay office community and likeminded retailers, some of whom I became personal friends with.
Q: Could you share the favourite part of your career and your biggest challenge?
A: My favourite part would be being able to shop while on the job! Jokes aside, getting the right fit of retail tenants into the mall and seeing great success from their concept or business gives me great satisfaction. The biggest challenge for me is to lead the Marketing Communications department just one year after joining the company. It was out of my comfort zone, but I took up the challenge and it has been a rewarding journey as I learn and evolve together with the team.
Q: How do you find a balance between work and family?
A: I am very fortunate and grateful to have very independent children and capable team members at work. This allows me to focus and lead the team more strategically at work.
Ms Cynthia Lai, CFO
Cynthia has more than 13 years of experience in the real estate asset management industry, she is a seasoned finance professional, strategic in approach with practical understanding of business perspectives. She leads the Finance team and is responsible for stakeholder management and business partnering the management team, revenue and operating divisions.
Q: How do you overcome challenges in your role to be where you are now?
A: It has been a journey, balancing family time and the demands at work. I try to stay focus and look for new perspectives and ways to do things. I’m grateful for my family’s unwavering support, my mentors and team members whom I have had the privilege to learn from and chance to work with.
Q: What advice would you give to budding women in leadership positions?
A: Be a leader with integrity and be tenacious with a relentless drive to do our best. Do not let what you cannot do stop you from doing what you can do. Throughout my career, I never consider my gender to have any bearing on my ability to value add and make meaningful contributions.
Q: Is there any message you would like to give to those thinking about a career in finance?
A: There are no shortcuts, it’s hard work, be ready and prepared. Always adopt a positive attitude and be sensitive to opportunities instead of obstacles. You’ll never know if you never try.
Ms Tricia Lim, Senior Manager, Building & Projects
Tricia has been with By The Bay since Jan 2018. A manager with a hands-on approach, she has no qualms involving herself with her sleeves rolled up in any project from start to finish.
Q: How did you make your way into facilities management, a predominantly male dominated area?
A: 25 years ago, I started off my career as a Quantity Surveyor. After 6 years, I decided to switch to the project management field before focusing on facilities management, where both are predominantly male dominated areas. It was during these years that I’ve the chance of working with people from a variety of fields, consultants, builders, plumbers, electricians, security guards, cleaners and construction workers that has helped me to understand and apply different communication skills regardless of their roles and gender.
Q: What advice would you give to women looking to enter the facilities management (FM) field?
A: There are many things to consider if you’re looking to enter FM. You need to be open-minded, hands-on, willing to learn, manage people from different industries, good with numbers, a logical thinker and be customer focused. Don’t be afraid to learn and ask questions, even if it is technically challenging. With digitization transforming the FM industry, we must be adaptive and embrace change.
Q: How do you find a balance between work and family?
A: I find systematic scheduling the key to balancing work, family and personal time. No matter how busy I might be, a good scheduling allows me to follow through work, enjoy family time and pockets of time to chill out with my girlfriends.