Every year, we scope out 18 women who are driven by a desire to bring positive change and have achieved success in their chosen field as part of the Great Women Of Our Time awards. Meet 2019’s Finance & Commerce nominee, Shann Sok Aixuan, Group CEO, Kingsland Development:
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Meet Shann Sok – Great Women Of Our Time 2019 Finance & Commerce Nominee
The first thing Shann Sok wants you to know about her is that she wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. “People always say I’ve gotten to where I am because of my family but that’s not true,” she laments.
“While I do run my family’s real estate businesses, I had to work very hard and prove myself countless times before being able to do so.”
The turning point for her and what she considers to be her proudest moment was when she persuaded her father, Sok Hang Chaw, to develop an data centre.
“The project was a success, selling for $295 million to Keppel DC Reit, and I managed to gain my father’s trust with my shrewd business acumen,” says Shann.
“I didn’t listen to nor believe when other people said they doubted my abilities. I listened to my heart and put in my best efforts. Sometimes you simply have to trust your own instincts instead of giving in to your doubters.”
While her instinct has served her well, Shann says that she built up her knowledge of the real estate development business through sheer hard work, and not through family connections.
“I didn’t spend my holidays idling away my days. I used to follow my dad to the office and learn the ins and outs of the business at Kingsland when I was growing up,” she explains.
“I planned to join the broadcasting industry first but after my father had a health scare, my first thought was to consider the goals of the family. I wanted the best for the family and for the business. So I join Kingsland as soon as possible.”
She did not have an easy time in the beginning as she found it hard to persuade her father to diversify the business away from residential real estate projects.
“He is a traditional Chinese businessman and more conservative. But slowly, as I gained more insight into the workings of real estate deals, I became more confident and started to give out advice on what could be improved and how to grow the business.”
She has since applied that same savviness to her own venture; Shann founded a medical aesthetics company earlier this year in a sure sign that the mother-of-three wants to make a name for herself in her own right.
Describing herself as a driven and dynamic woman who loves to live life at the speed of light, it’s no wonder that Shann has the ability to juggle business and motherhood with absolute ease.
Despite all the successes in the corporate world, the legacy she hopes to leave behind is simple: “There’s no need to remember what I’ve done or what I’ve achieved. As long as my loved ones remember the love that I showered upon them then that is good enough.”
While being an accomplished woman in the corporate world is no mean feat, Shann knows that it is through the struggles of female role models like her that will allow the younger generation of women to thrive.
“My wish for young women and girls of the world is to believe that they are worth so much more than what they see at face value; they need to know that they are worthy of every dream they can think of,” she says encouragingly.
“Follow your heart and you can achieve and excel at anything you put your mind to. It is possible to have it all in life including finding that elusive balance between having a super successful career and a happy home life. People will tell you that you can’t but like me, don’t listen to them.”
Photos: Vee Chin & Tan Wei Te
Fashion Direction: Aaron Kok
Styling Assistants: Juliet Suen & An Lyn Chee
Hair: Jason Wong/Salon Nu, Grego & Ash Loi/Sonder Salon
Makeup: Keith Bryant Lee, Hongling Lim, Rina Sim, Wee Ming & Jyue Huey (for Shann Sok)
Location: 89NR, The Working Capitol, Botanico at The Garage & The Summerhouse