Tag Archives: Disruption

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Our Gender Bender discussion panel saw a great topic being openly discussed, with a fantastic input from our audience members (thanks) and one of the most balanced population we’ve had at an even (guys, you’re always welcome). We discussed the roles of parents, men and women, who should stay at home, how the Hong Kong helps and disables us with role changes, how employers react and behave and what we can hope for in the future.

To recap some of the points made, here is our #wmniwd stream of live Tweets, from the event:

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For our International Women’s Day event, we decided to turn things around a little and discuss whether some women block other women’s careers. Learn more about the event description, here.

Folllow the Twitter conversation and event highlights, here. If you want to join, please use #WMNIWD

Our wonderful panel was made up of Christine Brendle, Founding Partner of Kids Dailies and Independent Non Executive Director at The Red Flag Group Kimberley Cole, Head of Specialist Sales, Asia at Thomson Reuters andMariko Sanchanta, Asia Pacific Regional Managing Director, Media at Burson Marsteller, with the amusing and candid MJ Jennings, Director, Training & Executive Coaching, Active Communications as Moderator

Brendle: Was the only woman on her first team/ job – and the only one who knew how to use a computer. Therefore, there were no women in senior ranks. After moving to New York, she found supported female bosses… She quotes Madeleine Allbright, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Sanchanta: Had good sponsors and mentors as well as some issues – she joined the panel because she couldn’t believe that women would block each other.

Due to a fire, our Hong Kong President, Christina Pantin had to step in for Cole at the beginning. To start us off, she shared some information: For the first time, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y millennials are working together now.

  • Lawyers under 40 prefer working for men who give better direction and constructive criticism.
  • 40% of workplace bullies are women.
  • 70% of the time a woman is bullied is by another woman.

 

 

So, why might women step on each other?
Some women who play the lone female at work might feel threatened by other women that come into the work place. When women work together and become friends, they might also share some very personal stories and secrets – perhaps becoming a root cause for future bad behaviour with one another?

Cole shares that she tries to see which women at work always have their heads down, and then tries to mention to others about their work, to help them connect with each other.

 

Should women working in Corporations play by the men’s rules?
Sanchanta: I’ve always refused to do so – and I’m a small Asian woman so I just can’t take that presence. I’m feminine and a woman and kept a mix of friends. In my experience a lot of workplaces are gender neutral, for instance after work activities like drinking in the pub are quite inclusive.

Brendle: Those rules exist but I don’t think you should play by them. Moving from France to the US, it was like the ceiling was raised by about 50 meters!

But the same company can be a totally different place depending on the corporate culture there. Encourage women leaders. Think about who is replacing you and what that brings. I’ve seen women who I’ve hired and am grooming take a hundred steps back as they become Queen Bees or try to assimilate more with the men.

Pantin: If a man is running the business, then it is under such rules because women have different career tracks and styles. But until you accept and take into account the different biology, those differences will be clear.

Why do women leave the leadership stream? Do they settle or do they just not want it? Fostering women to move up the ranks to the top is a big change that has to be approached at all levels of the company and management chain.

 

How do you juggle your life balance?
Cole: My kids were born in the UK where maternity leave is fantastic and practical. I came back to Asia to have them looked after!

Women feel guiltier going back to work and feel bad – men take it differently. I don’t think you can have it all, at the same time.

Brendle: For my second child I stopped work and enjoyed it because for my first born, I missed out. When you leave and come back to work it’s great to feel welcome – don’t bring them back and give them a second rate job.

 

Women are delaying careers for their family but might still go for new job interviews while pregnant. What are the compromises?
Sanchanta: Most of my colleagues don’t have wives who work. I have a baby and if I don’t leave by 6.30 I won’t see my daughter – I told my husband to stay home with her tonight instead of supporting me. I couldn’t miss bath time for a whole week but I think some men can.

Audience: I started my own business so that I could spend time with my children, when it became evident that between my and my husband’s career, we had no time at all.

In your early thirties in places like the US, you can’t afford a nanny or day care, so the pay gap between husband and wife determines who goes back to work.

I have three boys – once, they were all under five. I’m aware that my boys can learn why mummy shares responsibilities with daddy and why mummy needs to have a good job. We try to balance it as a team but I know my boys will be future workers. I’d prefer a good hour with them in the evening than time when I’m trying to do all of it, working from home, etc.

Cole: I always intended to have it all and have a career and children. I would have gone back even if my work only covered the childcare, but I was probably lucky to have those six months paid maternity leave in the UK.

 

Who do you turn to when you’re afraid? A cultural shift in your organisation or managing your lives better? What about mentors and paid mentors?
Sanchanta: “I’ve had a range of different female mentors in my life – but only ever been sponsored by men (in hiring/decision making positions).

Brendle: I’ve had mostly male sponsors and mentors – usually the same person – but I have also mentored.

I never looked for a mentor but it happens sometimes. At one point I had two men above me in different arms of the company, but I learned a lot. If you’re hiring the staff you might have a lot of wisdom and be a great sounding board.

Cole: I’m task oriented so I needed a sponsor – if that person can be a mentor as well that’s great. I now have one woman who was my mentor but she’s been so elevated now is that she could also be a sponsor. But it’s great to have both internal and external mentors and sponsors, because if people leave, what will you do? You get the balance.

 

How do you celebrate success?
Brendle: If you only have one discussion a year about your pay rise, it’s something that most people don’t feel too comfortable about. Doing this, you have metrics that are measured, and some women feel quite trapped by having men measure this – “oh growth in Asia, well, anyone could do that” – make sure you have your facts and proof behind you. Prepare.

Sanchanta: In Japanese culture you should be humble – so it took me a long time to unlearn these things. Working for American companies, you have to learn to trumpet your achievements.

Audience: Have a yey me folder to track and recall your successes.

JJ: Share feedback about people within the organisation, about a team etc – it will impress managers too. What goes around comes around!

 

What helped you on your journey to keep growing and taking a step forward?
Brendle: I waited ‘til after I was 50 to become an entrepreneur, by enjoying the means I could from corporations. I’m still learning a lot – I’m good with the big picture but I find being detail oriented a struggle.

Sanchanta: I have had several catalysts that make me do things differently. Having a child encouraged me to leave my 15-year comfort zone of journalism. Networking is great and amenable here because of the size of the city. I just keep going and perhaps I’ll end up doing my own thing one day too.

Cole: I like a challenge but the reason I keep taking them is financial independence. I was brought up by a single mother and she always taught me to have options and being able to be in control. 



I came across Women Media Networks when doing research for my own site, The Modern Bitch, in August 2012. At that point I thought it would be a dream to be part of WMN and eight months later I was given the opportunity to attend an event in celebration of International Women’s Day.
One thing that inspired me to create a site for young women in Hong Kong was a TED Talk by Tavi Gevinson, a teen blogger who discussed feminism and how she was still figuring things out. Feminism has always been something close to my heart and since I was a child, I’ve always looked up to women and had female role models whether it be lead singers in bands or successful women in the corporate world.
In the UK, where I grew up, teen pregnancy is high and many of my friends weren’t aiming high or thinking about their future. When I entered my early teens I started to become very ambitious and knew that a career was something I wanted and family would come later. By the time I graduated and an opportunity came along in the form of Hong Kong, I knew it was a calling and I had to push past my worries and fears. Two years on I have a stable job that I enjoy and continue to think about my future in terms of career first and family later.
The discussion started straight at the root, as the panel asked each other if women could really have it all? I personally believe that women can, but not everything will be in balance all the time. It also depends on the definition of  ’having it all’ as this differs for everyone. Most of the room agreed.
My version of having it all from a basic definition would be having a successful career while having a family at the same time. One thing I took away is that the definition is difficult to simplify because all kinds of complexities come into family and career such as, whether you have your own business – and how big it is – how big your family is, whether you’re a single parent… the list goes on.
Bobbi Campbell touched on the point that you have to be really good at what you do in order to have the right to tell people you’re leaving at 5.30pm and will be unavailable for certain hours. I completely agree. It involves years of hard work and staying late to work your way up to the top, which in turn makes you really good at what you do. This isn’t always easy for women who aren’t necessarily at the top and after doing a little research on Marissa Mayer and Yahoo!, it’s clear that having understandable employers who support your choice of working and raising a family is something that is vital in having balance.
Doubt is one of the biggest problems that I face while trying to succeed in work and managing my side projects. It was a relief when Mia Saini mentioned this and an even bigger relief when other women agreed. Confidence is something that I have struggled with from time to time and I had a lot of doubts when creating my website, especially over the name. I overcame this by using my instincts and asking myself, what’s the worst that can happen?
It was great to hear advice from Bobbi regarding checking a company’s culture before working there and she stressed the importance of being comfortable asking co-workers for help. It was reassuring to learn that some women have key influencers to aspire to, which helps them overcome the fear of asking.
Letting go of some control over your work and allowing others to step in was also a big talking point and Chris Bowers mentioned having to allow her staff to handle things for her after having twins. I thought about this and considered it a challenge in the future for me personally as I like to be in control of every little detail and think that other ambitious women might feel the same way. Bowers also mentioned that she met with personal development coaches to better herself in order to better her business. That is definitely something to take on board. Other people help you grow.
Towards the end of the discussion, Shea Stanley and others panel members talked about the future and what can be done now, to help change the stereotypical view of mothers. It’s important to educate children on equality and leading by example by sharing chores between the parents, so the mother isn’t doing it all and they don’t see just mum doing it all. There is also some advice for younger women in that they shouldn’t worry about the future or planning family. Just focus on pursuing something you love and figure out how family will fit in later on. Not only that, but do not doubt yourself. Just own it!
One of the main things that I can relate to and take away from the discussion is that women are still trying to figure it out. None of the women in the room that day had all the answers or a 101 on how to have a career and family at the same time. What I felt inspired by is that strong and successful women have come together to discuss this. I may have a long way to go in building a career for myself, but I learnt a lot during that discussion and I think it’s very important to expose younger women to these discussions to ensure the lives and roles of women continue to progress healthily.

Read more from Beth’s blog, The Modern Bitch.
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We don’t usually promote other people’s events on WMN, because we take care and precision over how we curate our calendar for the year. But there’s one debate which is really worth the attention and AmCham HK are running a breakfast event before our next, which should nicely inform and ripen our ideas before the day.

In our Careers Blog (members only access) I recently posted some background and interview with Anne Marie Slaughter, who says that we can’t have it all and that women are not supported to have a career and children, while continuing to support and raise their children throughout their childhoods.

The AmCham event is titled Male Female Differences at Work:

 

The ‘fit’ between gender and the different stages in an organisation’s ‘lifecycle’ will be used to illustrate that it’s very unlikely that the same individual will be successful leading an organisation throughout its entire ‘life’.

 

 

The implications of this research for corporate careers and corporate success will be presented, as well as some development implications.

 

 

 

 

 

On March 26th, we will host our next eventDeconstructing the myth – having it all.

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, WMN HK are having a very special event. To those of you who went to last year’s exciting CASBAA event it will be a similar format and in the same fabulous Bloomberg auditorium.The panel discussion will feature WMN’s founder (and mother of two and the COO of The Red Flag Group) Bobbi Campbell, as well as guest speakers. It will be moderated by Mia Saini, a reporter for Bloomberg.

 

All too often we hear the words  ”you can have it all”, particularly when we see high-powered women, such as Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) claiming success in juggling both work and family. Is it true – can we really have it all, or are we really kidding ourselves? This controversial issue will be the focus of the panel’s discussions.

 

Please join us for our debate and share your ideas and thoughts with us before hand, on our social media platforms (#wmndecon)

 

@wmnasiapacific

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

LinkedIn group

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Our first event of the year was an exciting and fun one – which if you’re not morning person (I’m not), is just what you need. And I should mention, our kind hosts California Vintage did a great job with the menu (California breakfast muffin, yes please). Moreover, the topics and advice syncronised nicely with everything else that’s been going on in my life lately, both at home and at work.
The task for the event was Developing mindfulness, reliance and confidence, learning strategies and techniques to transform challenges and setback into opportunities.
Our speaker, Sally Dellow from Rock the Boat had promised a frenetic event with audience participation, which is what we got with our small but comfortable crowd.
“Are you dealing with VUCA? ” Asks Sally.
VUCA is Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. The term was coined in the 90s for those dealing with the military issues. It’s likely that you’ve felt this at work or home recently. We live in a VUCA world, which isn’t going to change, so we have to manage our reactions.
We’re asked to put down our bags and phones (as if that isn’t scary enough?) and shut our eyes. This is a grounding exercise, so we tune out everything but place our feet on the footrests and consider that we are planted on the stool and the stool is on the ground. We bring the energy up from the ground and into our bodies. Sally asks us to feel connected and say: “I am grounded. I am open”. This is a good way to check yourself in the busy world; it will help give you resilience.
Ever seen anyone shake when they’re giving a speech? In our daily lives, our fight or flight response will blind us. But then when we need it, adrenalin kicks in. Yet constant adrenalin is bad for us too. This is Sally’s killer cocktail – adrenalin and cortisol, those stress hormones, which will literally give you a heart attack.
With a chart provided by Sally, we look at the world around us.
Meet SCARF
Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness.
Engagement and motivation will make us move toward a person, job or situation. But bad feelings will give a fight or flight response, where of course, flight takes over (see image at bottom).
Another slide shows that 65% of us are disengaged, un-energised – or worse – through our work. You might not think it, but those feelings and sentiments lead to feelings of stress (it’s not just complacency). High stress gives a 23% increased risk of a heart attack.
Meanwhile, a survey in Hong Kong shows that 74% of white-collar respondents experienced short attention span, memory loss and difficulty processing tasks. Our brains need a rest too.
There’s more than one reason why we need to give ourselves a break and put ourselves first. Ever flown on an airplane? The answer is yes, I’m sure. Think about how we’re told on flights to place our own oxygen masks before helping others. It’s for a reason. We need to breath healthy oxygen and have clear minds in order to think in order to act – in order to be of help to others. It’s an analogy also used in twelve step groups to show that it is ok to put yourself first; it is not necessarily selfish.
We naturally think it’s bad to put ourselves first, but it’s not. So here’s another exercise. Think of two situations where you need extreme self-care. It could be having a lie-in on Saturday. It could be making a delicious meal. Commit to yourself that you will do it in the next seven days. Write it down. Go on!
And when you’re getting stressed, remember to take a moment to come back down to earth. Because you need to be resilient.
Resilience will help you
  • Bounce back from adversity
  • Overcome the stress of threatening circumstances
  • Adapt successfully to challenges
Resilience is actually genetic – some of us really are more resilient than others, according to Sally. Those who are more resilient tend to be highly committed to the things in our lives. The more threads we have that connect us to our world – friends, family, hobbies, work, societies etc the less we will be rocked when one of those threads breaks. Our zone of control is less highly shaken.
When everything goes wrong, we can control our bodies, thinking and even our feelings.
Sally shares tips for feeling in control:
Permanence: To have a positive and resilient mindset, see negative events as temporary.
Pervasiveness: If one thing is going badly, focus on where things are going well and remember that you are the same person across those situations.
Fully acknowledge the things you can and cannot control.
And finally, forget the three pillars of happiness – some people don’t feel happy but there is something that can be more important.
The five pillars of wellbeing (PERMA)
  1. Positive emotion
  2. Engagement
  3. Relationships
  4. Meaning
  5. Achievement
In this exercise (PDF attached at the bottom), take two coloured pens and mark your score in those areas (each ring is 25% with the lowest percentile in the centre. Make a mark in the correct ring for you, under that category). Do one colour for you and another colour for work in order to see where you’re at.
How perfect is your circle? Now think about how to move towards where you want to be.
What went well
Here’s an exercise to do every night. When something scores low, think about what your wish would be to change it. Doing this will help you to get your ideas and sense of gratitude in order. While this exercise seems simple, let it become a practice and it will really help. It will become part of your natural approach to looking at things in your life; it breeds positivity.
Respond don’t react
Don’t let your emotions take control of your behaviour. If you’re afraid, it’s because you think you’re facing a saber tooth tiger. But you always control your breathing and your body, so take control and loose the fight or flight response. Breath, smile, deflect and decide.
(You don’t need to be unemotional – process your emotions).
Mindfulness exercises are plentiful
Shut your eyes and practice your smile without interruption.
Hormones can also help:
  • Connect with people and it releases Oxytocin along with sentiments of trust, loyalty and openness.
  • Laugh, serotonin gives perspective and stops you from muffling your words.
  • Be mindful, it lowers the stress hormone of Cortisol. Slow down, don’t get bowled along by life.
  • Exercise gives endorphins, which gives women a bigger hit than men. Just move around and feel more euphoric.
Well after an hour of inspiration, it’s time to STOP.
  • Sit
  • Take a breath
  • Observe
  • Prioritise

There’s a great list of short, tweeted takeaways here:
Please share and repost this blog and follow us
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As some of you know, our first event of the year is coming up – and it’s part of the breakfast series so I really hope that California Vintage, our kind hosts, have good coffee. I’m a coffee snob.

But let’s not digress. I was hoping to find and share all kinds of interesting blogs around our topic for Wednesday, but with CNY and other things, I haven’t read anything that came my way, which fit. And I didn’t have time to search things out.

So here’s a note from me.

What I’m excited about for this event is that it follows on nicely from our last event at CASBAA. While Emma Reynolds, Mia Saini, Mariko Sanchanta and Joanne Ooi did a great job at disrupting our lunch hours, our ideas and getting us in the mood for changing things up, this event will be a great way of extending those sentiments.

 

Sally Dellow from Rock the Boat plans to share strategies and techniques to transform challenges and setbacks into opportunities. Well, ‘rock the boat’ already implies a bit of disruption, so I hope she’s ready to wake us all up.
During my degree, I faced a setback when a proposal for an exhibition was refused due to good old British Health & Safety. I was upset and taken aback – I was a first year student. My tutor told me to turn it around and create something in reaction to that. All I wanted to do was hide inside and eat biscuits and drink tea. It was winter. Somehow, I managed to combine my first idea, my tutor’s comments and my desire to hibernate into one, tiny art piece, which made the biggest statement to the powers that be. That was my first lesson in disruption.
Since then, I’m always looking for ways to do things differently and better – not bigger, better, faster, stronger, but with a better outcome for all those involved. As the Director of my creative services agency, I always have to consider setbacks and challenges. I have to warn my clients about them. While I admit to being able to do that, I’m less often required to turn something bad into something good, so Wednesday morning will be a real treat for me because I think that’s one area where I fall short. I get stressed, before being able to think things out.
Sally has promised lots of audience participation, which judging by our last event, will go down really well.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.

As a pre-event teaser, Rock the Boat have asked “think about which animal type you are and how this impacts on your reaction to adversity, so you can learn how to control and adapt your reactions.”

Wednesday 20 Feb, 2013
8:00am – Registration and networking; 8:30am – Talk begins

9:30am – Wrap

California Vintage
Shop 110, Brim 28
28 Harbour Road
Wan Chai

Cost: Free for members, $100 for non-members. Breakfast available to purchase.

To sign up, please click here.

 

Twitter
The event hashtag will be #wmntransform.
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Our first event of the year is coming up as one of the WMN Breakfast series.

 

With the Year of the Black Snake associated with intelligence, power and ambition, we are pleased to have Sally Dellow from Rock the Boat. She will share winning strategies and techniques to transform challenges and setbacks into opportunities for the year ahead and has promised an exciting event with lots of audience participation.
The event will provide the opportunity to meet like-minded media professionals from a range of backgrounds and sectors, and to gain helpful insights into cultivating valuable personal development and leadership strategies.

Wednesday 20 Feb, 2013
8:00am – Registration and networking; 8:30am – Talk begins

9:30am – Wrap

California Vintage
Shop 110, Brim 28
28 Harbour Road
Wan Chai

Cost: Free for members, $100 for non-members. Breakfast available to purchase.

To sign up, please click here.

 

Twitter
The event hashtag will be #wmntransform.
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This is a re-post from LinkedIn, which surprisingly doesn’t employ a proper infographic. But it ends with a good question, so I suggest we all meditate on that for a few minutes.

 

Throughout Change by Design, I tried to show that the designer’s skills can be applied to a wide range of problems—and also that these skills are accessible to a far greater range of people than may be commonly supposed. These two threads come together when we apply them to one of the most challenging problems of them all: designing a life. There is a big difference, though, between planning a life, drifting through life, and designing a life.

We all know of people who go through life with every step preplanned. They knew which university they would attend, which internship would lead to a successful career, and at what age they will retire. Unfortunately, this never works out as planned. And anyway, if you know the winner before the start, where’s the fun in the game?

Like any good design team, we can have a sense of purpose without deluding ourselves that we can predict every outcome in advance, for this is the space of creativity. We can blur the distinction between the final product and the creative process that got us there. We can learn how to take joy in the things we create. We can work within the constraints of our own natures—and still be agile, build capabilities, iterate. We can conduct experiments, make discoveries, change our perspectives.

Think of today as a prototype. What would you change?

Original article here.

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The Firebrand Blog shared their best ten blogs from over the year. Among them was this one. With such a headline, how could I resist reading it? Especially when Disruption is a topic so close to the heart of WMN.

Here’s the re-post:

If you want your company to beat the competition and be the place the best clients and people want to be in – then make sure you’re hiring black sheep. And sometimes be a black sheep yourself. Here’s why.

Too often we hire clones — worthy clones: hard working, ambitious, disciplined, compliant, well educated, often trained and proven in a competitive firm, appropriately groomed, etc. You know the story. Just look around you. Look at yourself perhaps.

To really succeed in a fast changing world where rules of old are being broken every day — as a business or as an executive striving for the most vibrant of career — we have to resist the usual and be brave.

 

Read the rest here.



“What does disruption mean?” asks Janine Stein, at the panel of experienced change makers to start off the discussion.

Sue Adams, Head of Learning and Development at Aldersgate Partners and Bamboo Businesses, began the round by differentiating change and disruption. “Change occurs every day, whereas disruption is big transition.” As many women in the room could probably attest, Adams explained that having a baby or moving to a new job is a disruption – it’s not an everyday change.

Jennifer Berthold, Vice President and General Manager of American Express Singapore, said  “From a corporate point of view, unanticipated change is disruption – change that’s not asked for but happens to be change you have to respond to.”

Charmaine Huet said philosophically that what is permanent and what isn’t has been contemplated for centuries by thinkers such as Plato – disruption can be both big and small. Huet is the former Communications Director for Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific and described how leaving Discovery to take care of her baby, then becoming the General Manager at La Barca Ristorante was a disruption she initiated to create more balance in her life. “For big decisions in life, balance is key” she advised.

 

For Abi Sekimitsu, General Manager at Reuters South East Asia and Pacific, disruption is changing what we’ve always done. It’s about getting out of our comfort zone and often comes with the big question: Are we ready to challenge ourselves?

 

The panel gave a three-sixty perspective on how disruption presents itself, how it can be dealt with and harnessed to bring about positive change and improvements to get head, both in our lives and in the global market.

The common theme of the morning was that disruption was necessary for growth, especially in this time over ever evolving technologies, market behaviour and personal choices. Encouraging innovation (“embedding it into the DNA of a company”, as put by Jennifer), soliciting collective buy-in from all stakeholders and employees from the top-down and bottom-up and changing our perspective of failure are vital when embracing and deploying disruption. A good method to move towards this is to give incentives, understand the fear behind resistance and create a forum for discussions.

Both eastern and western approaches to failure were discussed among the panel. The concept ‘fail fast, fail quickly and move one’ was introduced. Adams offered a coaching perspective that ‘win, learn, Change’ is a more positive formula.

Review and acceptance should be part of every organisation – failure should be taken out of the equation. Bad decisions are not failure, Sekimitsu added, because it’s a step away from where we started; the only failure is not trying. From an eastern perspective, Sekimitsu and Huet noted that failure equates with shame. Asians need to learn to separate failure with shame so innovation can be adopted.

Guests at the event also heard that women make fantastic change managers. Women are natural communicators and collaborators. Good managers ask questions, they engage. It’s an ego-free process where what’s best for the organisation is conveyed and the best outcomes happen when everyone is one board.

 

 


 

About the author:

Amanda Blum is a freelance writer, traveller and social entrepreneur. She was born in raised in London and spent the latter part of teen and adult life growing up in a small town in Florida where she studied English Lit, Anthropology and Environmental Science.

 

In the spirit of change and innovation, Amanda recently migrated to Singapore in search of new challenges, projects and eco opportunities.

www.amandablum.com