Every year, The Singapore Women’s Weekly gives prominence to 18 distinguished and powerful women who are successful in their own right as part of the Great Women Of Our Time awards. Meet 2020’s Finance & Commerce nominee, Anna Vanessa Haotanto, CEO & Founder of The New Savvy and CMO at Gourmet Food Holdings.
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Meet Anna Vanessa Haotanto – Great Women Of Our Time 2020 Finance & Commerce Nominee
As the Chief Marketing Officer for Gourmet Food Holdings, and Chief Executive Officer and founder of The New Savvy, Anna Haotanto quickly recognised the importance of financial literacy and wanted to create a platform to empower women to achieve financial happiness.
Going into the field of finance was a personal choice that was motivated by her childhood. The 35 year old shared that growing up, her family struggled financially and she always wondered why her parents would make certain financial decisions that in hindsight would reveal themselves as basic mistakes. She realised that they just didn’t know much about financial literacy, and so she decided to go into finance at SMU.
She immediately fell in love with finance and went into banking once her degree was completed. “Over the years, I looked at my friends, and more specifically my female friends, and what I realised is that a lot of people are not saving money. When you first work, it feels very empowering to have your own paycheck so you splurge. You buy branded bags, shoes, watches, or other luxury goods, and you’re unlikely to save because most of us weren’t taught the concept of having a financial goal.”
The CEO and founder of The New Savvy went on to share “I know a lot of people who are in credit card debt and I wondered why this was happening among my peers. We are all educated, we went to good schools, and yet many of us found ourselves in these situations. This sparked my interest for financial education and literacy in Asia.”
The New Savvy, Asia’s leading investment, career, and financial platform for women. Anna started this platform five years ago and it currently holds about 60,000 subscribers across five countries. She believes that women have always been an underserved market, especially in the financial industry. A lot of technical terms and jargon are very foreign and can feel intimidating, and this platform bridges a gap between this disconnect.
“I think a lot of financial firms focus on men, and when I first started The New Savvy a lot of men told me I was being crazy because women are not interested in finance and this would yield nothing. But that is not true. Now as women are more educated and taking more roles in the workplace, we actually want to focus and want to learn more about finance.”
“Five years ago when I first started, I actually wanted to start on financial education for children because I believe that children should also be learning about good money habits. We are taught to be good at everything in school, but never financial management habits. Nobody teaches us to have a healthy relationship with money.”
Though she has more than 10 years of experience in finance, Anna recounts that if she could do things slightly differently she would have started earlier. “I think I made the mistake of wanting to buy nice things so I bought a lot of useless things in the past. One of my biggest regrets is actually not buying a property in the old days when I graduated. If I had saved money and not spent needlessly, I would have done so. I think the first advice I would give myself is to start learning about finances earlier and start saving earlier so I can start my financial journey as soon as I can.”
The Chief Marketing Officer for Gourmet Food Holdings believes that even though her platform caters to women, the financial literacy journey is for everybody. It is a long journey but, “You start with the mindset of thinking about why you need to do it, and why you want to do it, then it can move on to what you do.”
The Great Women Of Our Time Awards 2020 is brought to you by the presenter, Lancôme.