Kicking off the first in our series of interviews with our female venture leaders this International Women’s Month, we speak to Fernn Lim, who is the Chief of Staff for Standard Chartered nexus. Standard Chartered nexus is our white-label plug and play Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution powered by Standard Chartered with a vision to redefine the banking experience for customers globally by digitally marrying ecosystems to banks.
What are three qualities you need to have to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Be decisive – When you have an army waiting for your leadership steer, you may not have the luxury to overthink. Make a business call and stick to it. If it’s wrong, pivot. Don’t vacillate.
- Celebrate vulnerability – The new generation of hires want to work for a leader whom they can relate to and professionally grow with. It’s okay to tell them that you are tired or unsure of certain answers. We are humans, not machines. They are looking for real humans to be inspired by, not ChatGPT.
- Have Stamina – Building a venture is challenging, tiring and lonely at times. Winning in our case need not necessarily be clinching another business deal/closing another fundraise. Winning is to have the stamina to stay in the game and keep playing. I’m a firm believer in the line ‘Sleep is performance. Health is performance. Diet is performance’.
We need to have belief in the business, trust in the people and stamina to last the distance.
What has helped you overcome any gender bias along your venture journey?
F: Gender bias happens for both males and females. What’s important is being cognizant of it and being intentional about our mitigation. For example, should female colleagues be the ones to order pastries for workshops? Should male colleagues be the ones to shift furniture around in the office? Sometimes, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to these questions but we should at least be conscious of them.
In nexus, 26% of our global staff are females. 34% of the females are based in Singapore and 33% of our global team are female line managers. For a technology team, these are great statistics to be proud of but it didn’t happen overnight.
We have been deliberate with hiring equitably, starting with how we craft our JDs. We have been running our Women-in-Nexus (WIN) workshops annually so that females in nexus have a community to lean on and discuss difficult topics. Every programme/activation has been intentional with the objective of helping our female colleagues win in life and at work.
It is my ambition and pride to have fostered a culture in a leading technology team where females can thrive and command an equal say in the business decisions we make. They should feel safe, authentic and proud that they have led a fulfilling career with us without having to compromise on their personal values and beliefs.
What is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self when you started your venture journey? /advice for other budding female entrepreneurs?
F: Trust your gut. Combining your sense of intuition and analytical skills can be very powerful as it helps you make better and faster decisions. It also gives you more confidence in your choices than relying on intellect alone.
Females view situations differently. As you build up work experience, you have something precious that’s unique only to you – your perspective.
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Learn more about Standard Chartered nexus.
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