We celebrate #MothersinTech this May!

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, we have the honor of having these three inspiring women in the technology and innovation ecosystem share their views on managing motherhood and leading a career in technology startups. In this article, we hope to highlight their struggles, share some tips and tricks on how to make it work and debate on the definition of work-life balance.

(From left) Melisa Teoh, CMO of CXA Group which aspires to transform employee benefits in Asia by shifting spending from treatment to prevention; Ee-Leen Tan, Chief of Global Expansion of Ninja Van, a series B last-mile fulfillment tech startup; Karena Belin, Co-Founder of W Hub, an online community-based in Hong Kong that connects stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.

(From left) Melisa Teoh, CMO of CXA Group which aspires to transform employee benefits in Asia by shifting spending from treatment to prevention; Ee-Leen Tan, Chief of Global Expansion of Ninja Van, a series B last-mile fulfillment tech startup; Karena Belin, Co-Founder of W Hub, an online community-based in Hong Kong that connects stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.

Motherhood Versus A Career In Tech Startups

“Managing motherhood and a career is challenging in any business,” quoted Melisa when we asked about how different it is juggling motherhood and a career in tech startups as compared to corporate. She further explained that she has been fortunate to have great employers so far, so it has not been much of a difference. However, she acknowledges that startups are like newborn babies that fill you with excitement and anticipation but also demand persistent nurturing until they reach adulthood. The ability to experiment, innovate and move swiftly in startups can be addictive for people who enjoy the freedom to create and make an impact with their ingenuity. At CXA, health and wellness are a priority. Everyone is encouraged to set time aside for their personal wellness, and new moms are provided with a nursing room while parents are given the flexibility to work remotely when the need arises.


Working in startups is not all a bed of roses too. Hence, when we hear what Ee-Leen has to say about the work that comes with the flexibility, we can’t agree more.

Startups offer slightly more flexibility compared to corporates - It does not mean you work less (often it’s the opposite!) - but, it also means one can better manage one’s time
— Ee-Leen

Karena tells us that being her own boss gives her such a sense of purpose that she ends up with less time at home. However, with greater flexibility, she can choose moments where she can have higher quality time with the family and yet have the satisfaction of making an impact with her start-up.

Work And Family: How Do You And Your Spouse Make It Work?

Melisa shares that she and her husband work together to ensure that their priorities are met. They set aside family time to share daily experiences with each other. Throughout the week, they find opportunities to combine various strands of priorities to maximize their use of time. Here are some examples of how Melisa and her partner accomplish it: Use the first and last meals of the day as opportunities to connect with each other by learning through cooking or discussing different topics over meals, combine their exercising schedule with their daughter’s sports activities and lastly, create social events around shared interest with their daughter’s friends and parents.

Alternatively, you could rope in your parents or extended family to help with taking care of your children so it frees you up to concentrate on your career during working hours, knowing that your children are in safe hands. As Ee-Leen says,”any help from family is precious!”


Work-Life Balance - A Matter of Expectation

At ConnectOne, we believe that work-life balance is a matter of expectation and there is no single formula to having it all. The definition of quality and quantity between work and family is so diverse that what makes one mother ticks the box that she has great work-life balance may be frowned on by another. Our consultants have gone on long sabbaticals to see to family matters - and come back renewed and motivated to work hard!  We have a culture of ownership and encourage remote work as long as it helps us stay productive!  

Find your balance and stand with it. Find your song and sing it out. Find your cadence and let it appear like a dance. Find the questions that only you know how to ask and the answers that you are content to not know
— Mary Anne Radmacher

And finally, to the moms that are reading this… Thank you! We hope you have been inspired by our #MothersinTech who continue to work for something they genuinely care about while balancing the demands of a family.

Startup or Corporate: Which is Better for Your Career?

Startup or Corporate: Which is Better for Your Career?

When it comes to the classic job-search duel between startup and corporate, you probably know the basics of each type of workplace. After working in both environments, I’ve been exposed to the benefits and shortcomings of each option. So, if you’re undecided about which path to take, consider these questions to help you make the most of your career—both now and in the future.

Love the prospect of joining this start-up but am I adequately compensated?

While there are various salary surveys for traditional industries, the information on compensation in the technology start-up space remains ambiguous. So aside from simply asking friends and associates, check out these tips to do a self-assessment.

The key is to be confident that the founders' have a compensation strategy that reflects their commitment to attract, motivate and retain the best employees.

a) Is the compensation mechanics transparent? Can everyone involved in the decision making part of the hiring process communicate what the company’s compensation mechanics is and how it aligns with the company’s overall values?

b) Do the people involved in making the offer and negotiating salary or equity know how they arrived at the final offer? 

c) Does the compensation structure have clear salary bands and salary/equity mix? Having some solid rules regarding compensation is as critical as a flexible and scalable architecture for an application. The issues will not be apparent when the volume of employees is small but the inconsistency will surface when scaling from the 10th to 50th employee and beyond.

d) If I am willing to take a pay-cut, how I am compensated for that? Do I have sufficient equity to feel valued and have “skin in the game”?

e) Do I know what my job scope is and how I will be measured? Will I be making an impact on growth?

 

And if it is “negative” to all the above questions and your gut tells you that it is the still the right move - go for it and let me know if my questions are useful in retrospect? :)