inspiring women to spark change
After working overseas for over 20 years, Christina returned to Singapore with zero network contacts. Retired and eagerly seeking new purpose, she was ready to put herself out there and replug in her home country. When the word “startup” constantly popped up in her radar, she realised it was her first time encountering a worldwide phenomenon with zero familiarity — it piqued her interest.
Enter: Slush. The hype surrounding the world’s leading startup event arrived at a great timing — September 2016 with their inaugural event in Singapore. Christina felt compelled to attend it in-person — rather than Googling it. Despite missing half the event, she was blown away. Meeting entrepreneurs and touring around Blk 71, she found herself impressed by the Singapore government’s huge support for startups and intrigued by the maze of an eco-system.
As the event went on, she heard an increasing number of foreign startup terms. Having ran and led markets, product categories, and regions in an entirely different setting at companies like IBM, Acer, 3Com, DEC, Yahoo!, O2, and CSL; Christina soon realised, while startups are no doubt fascinating, they are alien territory to those who are new to it — especially executives working at corporates. Christina felt she was on to something. This was a puzzle she needed to solve.
While chatting with female entrepreneurs at Slush, she realised she had a ton of insights to offer, despite not coming from the startup world. She also learnt, startups too, are intimidated by corporates. Witnessing the unique set of challenges from both sides, she left the event and launched Startup Asia Women, a community aimed at fostering education and connections for women aspiring to start or have started startups. She then went on to create a series called WomenChangemakers profiling strong corporate women or corporate-women-turned-
entrepreneurs as role models to inspire women who are entrepreneurs, developing their careers or in transition.
Proud of her corporate heritage, Christina felt a yearning to introduce her fellow corporate women to the possibility of engaging startups from all around the world to take on global challenges and innovate on status quo. By then, she1K, a natural extension to take a more tangible role in creating real impact to change, was bubbling in her head.
When she pitched the idea to corporate women in New York, all of them wanted to be a part of it. Their confidence was the boost Christina needed to make this happen. She discovered these women in their late 40s, 50s, and beyond wanted to give back to the causes they believe in having achieved a considerable amount of success in their careers. However, with the demands of working in corporate and being a wife and mother, it’s difficult to put everything in action. These women were looking for structure; specifically a program that gives them an extra push while amplifying their efforts and contributions.
Hence, Christina officially launched she1K, a collective that presents a barrier-free introduction into angel investing for senior corporate executive women by membership to collectively empower entrepreneurship at scale.
Today, she1K is on its way to rally 1,000 corporate women and empower and champion 100 startups across the globe. It is the world’s first and only private network of like-minded senior corporate women executives who support with industry and functional experience and network, which is just as significant, if not more than pure funding. Despite holding 50% of wealth in corporate America, less than 10% of corporate women dabble in angel investing, missing out a great opportunity to learn and stay up-to-date with innovative advances and design thinking.
she1K is formulated to celebrate women in strength, to encourage women in position to contribute and continue to learn and be in the know. she1K’s first belief is banding strong women together to forge deeper alliances and leverage partnerships that already exist in the startup eco-system and exponentially accelerate amazing results.