Suzette Simon, brand store manager of Suit Supply Singapore, strongly believes that the noblest art is making others happy. This belief has led her to where she is at today - excellence in serving her clients and leading her (mostly-male) team, while also providing the best for her two children at home. Suzette shares with us how she drew inspiration and strength from her mother’s struggle and success in her political career. She also shares how the right mentors and encouragement helped her overcome discrimination and bullying in the initial phase of her career working away from home, in Singapore.
It is a misconception that women lack the capabilities to lead and I believe that you cannot put a limit to what women can accomplish. When I first started working in Singapore, my confidence level was not very high. The experience I had in Joel Robuchon trained me to be more independent and to have trust in myself. The mentorship I received from Joel Robuchon taught me how to fight for my rights and stand up to bullying. We learn the way, on the way.
My mom is living proof of women empowerment and inspires me on how I lead my life. She successfully juggled a political career while working extremely hard to ensure her 9 children were equally cared for. Her political career was especially challenging due to her gender and lack of education. She overcame doubts on her capabilities by focussing her energy on contributing and caring for the people in the province she grew up in. She proved her male detractors wrong and went on to win provincial elections several times in a row.
The world sadly remains prejudiced against women and girls, with plenty being undervalued and disregarded, yet they are afraid to stand up for themselves. The unknown future is scary, but what's scary is not taking a leap of faith in yourself. I would love to encourage women who had been through very difficult situations, to stand back up and live their lives to the fullest and also know that they are not alone in their journey.
If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self that I am very proud of her and that she is stronger than she thinks! She’s been through a hurricane and picked herself up even when it felt like it was impossible to survive. She fights her battles bravely and she always knew how to put a smile on her face to encourage and love the people around her.
I balance my career and personal life by learning to prioritize what’s important, and being disciplined. It may not always be easy, but it is important to acknowledge the hours you didn't spend on yourself or your family, and try to make up for them.
I set boundaries to ensure that I spend quality time with family and am fully focussed when I am at work. At home, I try to set aside my phone and work laptop to make sure my full attention is on my family.
I also believe that self-care starts from within and Loving ME is the number one thing I do for myself! I'll make it a point during my free time to do one thing that makes me happy! These can be simple yet varied acts like doing a manicure/pedicure, getting a massage, exercising, shopping, eating good food and pairing it with wine, cooking for my kids or preparing breakfast before their school, and taking care of my plants!
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Photos c/o Suzette Simon, Photo Editing by Faye Chan