Whether your career brought you to Singapore, or you came here as a so-called “trailing spouse”, you may be feeling lost or uninspired. Here are women shaking things up by taking a completely new direction in their lives.
Australian-born Nici Schueler worked as a copywriting and account director for an advertising agency for 15 years. After an agonising fertility battle, she had a complete career change and became a life coach, helping adults to navigate their way through life and its curveballs. Having seen a need for children to learn life skills such as resilience to help them cope better, soon after moving to Singapore with her husband and their daughter she discovered SoulKids and became one of its mentors. Recently, she launched the Facebook group Seasoned Singapore Expat Women – a venture that has harnessed all her skills, she says.
I’d always been an avid member of social media support groups, but I felt something was lacking. There was a lot of content for newcomers on settling in and adapting to expat life – which is of course extremely important – but there wasn’t much support for long-term expats. I started to find the typical “newbie” questions repetitive, and my search for groups that went deeper proved fruitless. I decided to create a new, community-driven group that would address different issues, and so Seasoned Singapore Expat Women (SSEW) was born. It’s a space where long-term expat women can connect, share information and forge long-term friendships in a positive, non-judgemental space, and where expat businesses can gain exposure in an agreeable way.
It’s my vision to grow an online empire of positive connections, where we can always find each other through our common interests. Offline, SSEW will continue to host regular events and add to the growing number of spin-off groups where people can connect face to face. We currently have over 20 such groups, representing shared interests such as reading, cooking and so on.
Having experienced it myself, I’m acutely aware of the emotional damage that people can inflict online. I’m therefore committed to member protection. The group is secret, and all members have to be introduced by referral and have been residents in Singapore for at least three years. I also have admin volunteers who monitor the page to ensure the rules are adhered to. I’m overjoyed that to date we’ve had no issues. Our members show maturity and sensitivity towards each other, and I’m extremely proud of the space we’ve created together.
I didn’t expect the avalanche of interest which ensued so soon after launching. When my first event – which I thought would be an intimate ladies night! – attracted 150 responses, I quickly realised this was going to be bigger than I’d expected. I’m brimming with ideas for the future, and see plenty more areas where SSEW can be of help.
Don’t let fear or self-doubt hold you back. Feel the fear and do it anyway! Ask for help from people around you; the only true failure in life is not to have had a go.
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