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The Balancing Act Episode #3: Becoming an empowered altruistic leader as a mom

Welcome to The Balancing Act, a special collaboration between Sleek and Parents in Tech that features our fellow Sleekers on topics ranging from creating work-life balance, balancing career ambitions, and striving in the tech industry – while being a parent!

In this episode, join podcast host, Qin En, as he explores how being a mother helps Pauline in becoming an empowered altruistic leader.

Listen as Pauline shares her insights about the capabilities of women at work being acknowledged and nourished more and more over the years.

Continue reading to learn more about some important talking points shared, or listen to the podcast. 

Challenges to be a mom

As a parent with more than one kid, it is always a different challenge where you have to step up at the different stages of the kids’ life. For Pauline, a mother to two boys and a girl, ages thirteen, ten, and nine, the parenting journey doesn’t get easier.

1. Optimizing your time

In the earliest of her motherhood journey, which coincided with her time in banking, Pauline lived with less than four hours of uninterrupted sleep every night as she had her kids in quite close succession. She became tuned to that sleeping pattern and learned to optimize herself in the day and then optimize her sleep.

2. Navigate the transition from childhood to teenagers

Now with her teenage son at a stage finding his own identities, Pauline tries her best to be there for him. She believes it is important to not be too intrusive and let him discover. The bond is built when your kids feel comfortable telling you anything and everything, even if it’s something that shocks your system. Still, there is a hard line to balance because you also need to still enforce certain values and disciplines, so that they will not go too astray.

3. Support system at work

The pace at Sleek is very fast and intense, while Sleek promotes a very well-balanced working environment, where personal time off work is respected by one another. This culture helps employees to have a balanced lifestyle enabling them to be productive and gain quality outputs from their work. The parents community within Sleek is another source for support to Pauline. She can easily bond and exchange experience with other parents the moment you know they have kids as they have been through a similar journey.

A strong advocate for her beliefs

1. Women in leadership

Outside of family and her work at Sleek, Pauline is actively involved with the Singapore Fintech Association as the leader of the Women in FinTech subcommittee. It actually took time for her to understand what it means to stand for women in the working world when she first started. Over the years, she came to see the nuances and challenges that women in leadership positions face.

One of the challenges for women to step up in leadership is for themselves to believe that we can do it. Some women do not push themselves there because they feel the obligation to be with their family. Especially for working moms, there is a thing called “mommy’s guilt” where you always wanna rise up to a certain level of giving for your kids.

On the other hand, the majority of the leadership in many companies are men who dominate the definition of a good management person. But women bring a certain vulnerability and also empathy to the table, which is very critical in today’s working culture with all those quiet quitting or great resignation. But this brand of leadership is not as appreciated because in leadership level, women are still the minority.

2. Giving back to the society

“Whichever business you are in, your success is partly derived from the people that have used your services and the society.” Now that Sleek has grown, Pauline believes that it is good to give back to the people that help us succeed as a company. She actively volunteers with Sleek’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

Recently, Pauline and her team is volunteering with a programme called “Micro Business Academy” which helps people with disabilities to set up and learn to run a small business through a series of training. She finds it fulfilling as this initiative empowers the families to be self-sustaining.

pauline family

Making the most that’s meaningful to you

Prior to the head of the FinTech and Partnerships team at Sleek, Pauline worked in the banking industry for 18 years. This bold career move is made upon contemplation about the midpoint or middle age, which she never calls a crisis but likes to consider as the “middle-age” fire. “Don’t be afraid as it is that part of the journey in your career that brings you to think about how far you have come and how you want to end the race.”

Now with an incredible set of responsibilities and commitments at Sleek, Pauline manages to devote herself to every place that she deems meaningful. Though she says that she is blessed with having a lot of energy and does not have many time management strategies, it is important to discover who you are and what motivates you. If you put yourself to things that you enjoy, then it is not a chore and not difficult to manage.

The downside of it could be an over extension of oneself. Pauline starts to become a little more deliberate about where she focuses and prioritizes. As the days go, because time is precious, it’s really about making the most that’s meaningful to you.

One piece of advice for parents in tech

“I would say it is to see the journey in the tech ecosystem as something that is going to help you to grow as a parent.

With so many changes happening everyday, we, parents in tech, get to be part of that change and we get to witness what's coming - all the new technologies. It helps us to be able to link to our kids’ world, the world that they're growing up in with all the YouTube-ing, Roblox, metaverse stuff. In the meantime, it is synergistic that whatever we are doing, creating, building in the tech space is gonna be the world that our kids inhabit."

Pauline Sim

What’s next?

Inspired to make the switch to tech? Join our supporting community here at Sleek. Take a look at our available positions here.

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