Between acting, hosting and being a CEO, Irene Ang is no stranger to hard work. Juggling her various career roles with charm, vivacity and humour, the personable and hugely talented Great Women Of Our Time Alumna is also Executive Producer for an upcoming local movie, My Love, Sinema. While her success did not come without its fair share of struggles, including self-doubt and fear, Irene rose above the challenges and is now one of the most influential people in the entertainment scene.
Here, Irene shares with us 5 valuable life lessons and advice she’s garnered through her professional career:
1. Learn from the best in the industry
“We all play different roles at different stages of our lives. No matter which role I’ve played – whether it was a producer, actress or an entrepreneur – I do my best. You have to try your best to do it well.
When I’m given a role – for example, an insurance agent, mother, or director – I will find out more about it, whether from online, from people, or from the directors themselves. We have to find out and learn from the great ones.”
2. Stay true to who you are, even if people around you don’t
“People change. When you are just starting up [a business], everyone is poor, motivated and works hard. However, you come to realise that as the company grows, many people change when they start to come into contact with money or power. I have personally witnessed – even amongst my staff – the way that people can change with power.
I feel that the happiest people in this world are those who don’t let their success get to them, who don’t change their fundamental self, who are able to stay grounded and real while staying close to their values.
I can be whoever I am, but at the end of the day, I am still me. I still go for rehearsals. I still work with my team to get things done. The environment can change; your position can change. I can win many awards, but it doesn’t change who I am. We can change the way we do things but we don’t change who we are fundamentally.”
3. Be willing to adapt and step up to lead
“I’ve learnt to expect changes and adjust to people’s changes as well. As a leader, you must learn to identify opportunities that come by.
I used to be very afraid, and tell myself “I can’t possibly do this!” when I’m faced with a foreign situation. For example, asking a messy person to come up with an SOP… But when you are forced into a situation to do something no one else would, a good leader will have to do it… and you just do it!
Back when we could not afford a director for a project, I stepped up and that’s how I started directing. Now? People see me as a director and invite me to direct. You just have to step up when the opportunity comes, because when you think for too long and worry too much, the opportunity might be gone in the blink of an eye.
So, I encourage all leaders to go into things that are known, but with open eyes. Never go into something unprepared.”