Back again! This time with another set of speakers bearing their total experience, knowledge and general awesomeness for the benefit of Monash University Malaysia!
As mentioned in the previous article, this article will serve as a sequel to our TEDx saga in Monash. Once again, the theme Glass Ceiling is very much still an integral part in each and every speaker as each of them take the stage to share, educate and enlighten us with their tales. Without further ado, here is Round 2.
Tee Ai Ven
As a pharmacy student in her uni years, Tee Ai Ven had always been interested in the business side of things in anything related to the field of pharmaceutical work.
She then proceeded to showcase a short clip of Leonardo Di Caprio from the Wolf of Wall Street. In the scene, Tee described him as a passionate and energetic salesperson. However, she could not relate to him at all as a salesperson. Describing herself as a quiet and reserved person, she has always had thoughts of inadequacy when it comes to her skills in sales and communications.
This proved to be her very first Glass Ceiling. But, she was not a quitter and still gave sales a go. It was only later did she realise that she had a real knack for sales, winning several awards and accolades in Asia. Thus, she was determined to cripple the stereotype behind an introverts inability to do sales.
According to Tee, there has never been a true correlation between being an extrovert and being a good salesperson. In fact, she later pointed out many flaws that extroverts possess when it comes to sales and dealing with people in general. Often times, extroverted salespeople tend to be very dominating, self centered and ignorant to the wants and needs of the customer. In contrast with that, introverted salespeople are the complete opposite, adding their very own brand of intra-personal magic.
Tee later ends her speech by reminding the audience to stay true to themselves and to play with our strengths and weakness when it comes to dealing with sales and life in general.
Mallory Loone Li Mei
Dandelion. A relatively pretty plant with spores aplenty. It was this plant that lead to Mallory equating our lives to a dandelion flower where a breeze could cause the spores to fly off and ride the air currents to the unknown. She describes our lives as a non-static being, forever changing.
It was through this analogy did she pose a question which touched upon the reason why people end up with careers or friends that they have now. Mallory later lamented that she too was also surprised by her choice of career to be an entrepreneur despite receiving a science/accounts based education.
Entrepreneurship gave her the opportunity to branch out and try new things as well. However, her path has not always been easy. Societal pressure and personal conflicts provided to be too tough and later caused her to desert her job as an entrepreneur at a company. Coming face to face with her Glass Ceiling gave her the push to try again, this time with a vision to help others to get through their own personal Glass Ceiling as they journey through to be an entrepreneur.
She later gave tips on how to go about being a newbie entrepreneur which touched on the need to keep trying, how failure is just an incentive to work harder and that it is okay to step back and just iron out the kinks in your foundation before the next big step.
Shuen Chiu believes in the power of personal best, a term defined as something that is attainable only by you and the challenges that come your way is unique to you as well. In her own words, you can achieve your personal best with whatever you have in your hands, solely if you use it well and with the hope that you can do better.
She talks more about the need to reach your full potential. Here, she relates the Glass Ceiling as your personal best and only by breaking through it, can your full potential be discovered. Life, Shuen says, has no pit stops or checkpoints for others to gauge how well you are doing. Hence, it is only your perception and your thoughts that decide otherwise.
She later brings up stories about her own start up company, Rent A Dress and how it took many trials and errors for it take off. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, her team deserts her and she is left alone with her company. It was here that she first encountered her first Glass Ceiling. With the constant reminder from her loved ones, Shuen questioned her own worth, her own credibility as an entrepreneur, only for her to realise that she is not alone. Here, she stressed for the need to not shoulder it alone as she remembered the things her dad would do for her by encouraging her and supporting her.
Ashley Sue truly believes in the power of women. A fighter for women, Ashley wishes to blaze the trail left behind by women to show that women can be a figure of power too. Her Glass Ceiling is none other than the very female stand in society. After negotiating her way into a top position of a job, it became clear to her that she wanted to do more to uplift not only women, but herself as well in life.
She continues to cite several notable female figures in her time such as her mother (WOW), teachers (shout out to them educators) and Britney Spears (mind you, the audience were audibly confused). Her songs such as “I’m a Slave for You” and “Hit Me Baby One More Time” reminded Ashley of the influence women can have on the world. Branching further, she expresses her displeasure when she mentions the meager amount of women inducted in the Forbes List of Most Powerful People.
She ties all this back to many occasions where women appear to be more willing to act subservient and meek in order to not be patronized by men. In the end, she spurs the women in the audience to understand their rights and power to be leaders.
A person of green passion, Serina Hijjas is an architect that dreams of making green big and doing whatever it takes to ensure the buildings of tomorrow are more environmentally friendly.
As a woman, Serina explains that as person from an older generation, the small number of women in workforce was not a rare occurrence. In fact, it was only true your work and contributions face judgement from your colleagues. But, she still strives to push the idea that women still can and will receive accolades.
A green advocate, she talked about her dreams to find a way to integrate green ideas into modern buildings in the hopes of combating the negative repercussions of modernization. She showed slides of schematics of buildings that had plants and trees growing on it, further solidifying her ideas.
What was truly interesting was her personal interpretation of the theme Glass Ceiling. Instead of the usual serving of personal barriers, Serina talks about the barriers and challenges that Earth and her people face everyday; which is climate change and sustainability. This breath of fresh air gave us insight on the many plans that Serina plans to reinstate in Malaysia including eco-friendly housing and creative spaces used for accommodation.
She further advises us to not only think about our own personal barriers but also of that our surroundings. For it takes teamwork to care for our Earth.
Stephanie Ping strives to tell us that Glass Ceilings can be anything and everything that someone tells themselves that they can’t do.
As a self-made woman, Stephanie insists on her relatively average skillset as nothing more than a stepping stone for her to reach out to other people in order to better herself, her company and life in general. Believing that the main problem lies in how we communicate to people, she first mentions that getting to know people and building trust is one of the few things that must be done in order to fully establish a connection with others.
The main Glass Ceiling resides in a person’s personal ability and capability to do work. This comes along with their understanding of their limits and their weaknesses as well. Stephanie urges the audience to understand that being unskilled in something does not make you unworthy or unable to do work. Instead, she asks us to reach out to people, find assistance, find connections to help us out.
Moreover, she also encourages the audience to figure out ways to encourage more social interactions and teamwork during work hours as well. She then proceeds to show us several slides of her work space where the tables and meeting rooms are often held in the communal spaces and there being no walls so everyone could see everyone while they worked.
Body image. Fat. Insecure. Fear. Ratnadevi has been fighting these words and many more ever since she was young child. She explains that in her youth she often felt neglected and looked down upon by her peers and her family.
All of this culminated into one event where she was slapped by her own father and created a Glass Ceiling for herself. It was here she began to convince herself that being quiet and non-confrontational was the only way she could live in this world without being looked down upon. She even tried to put on several personas in order to hide her shame.
And it was shame that became the main Glass Ceiling for her. As she grew older, another Glass Ceiling came into the picture and it was her problems with her relationships. However, she explained that these relationships were nothing but living proof for her to show that she is worthy, that she is desirable.
All this changed when she was finally introduced to a community of people who were just like her. Body, heart, mind and soul, they checked the bill. It was here where she found sisterhood. Ratnadevi then proclaimed that by talking alone on this stage, she is talking in defiance to the notion that fat people are worthless. However, she then says that strength can only come from within and that by finding that, one can do and believe in many things
And that marks the end of the TEDxMonash University Malaysia and the many wonderful stories it has given us. And no matter what, The Glass Ceiling is something we all will face at some point in our lives and it is up to us to decide whether to shrink from ever breaking through it or to fly past, shattering it to achieve The Silver Lining in the sky.