I have the pleasure of knowing some amazing people. People who have done extraordinary things with their ‘ordinary’ lives. Natalie Chan is one of them.
They inspire me to think beyond the ‘normal’ as to what’s possible for my life – and I hope that by getting them to tell their stories here, they might just inspire a few others of you too.
Natalie is such an engaging woman. She made me realise that whilst our professional careers might seem quite unrelated (leadership coach vs financial advisor), our reasons for pursuing them were very similar: to empower women and help them get clearer on their goals… and how to reach them.
Natalie Chan – Strategic Advisor for Expats in China
Tell us a little about yourself…
Standing outside a prestigious private girls’ school in North Sydney (Australia) in my bright yellow uniform, I was greeted by every young soul who crossed. Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be a School Crossing Supervisor. That, was the beginning of my 6-month career break.
By profession, I was an Associate Advisor at an investment firm providing strategic and investment advice to High Net Worth and Ultra High Net Worth individuals in Australia. At that time, I was (and still am) happily married with a young family in a beautiful country. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Taking a pause on my career to reflect on what was important to me and was truly a turning point in my life. It allowed me to give time to myself and be true to who I was. Life is just too short.
How do you know Nicki?
In June 2018, a focus group for women called Her Century invited me to run a workshop to share my experience and a few tips to empower women in making better financial decisions. I delivered a session called ‘Women + Finance = Empowerment’ and Nicki, who at that time had set up & ran their mentoring programme, was one of the attendees.
Tell us a little about the life that you have created – and what you most love about it?
Home is where your heart is. I am very fortunate to have my boys (my husband and our 4yo son) in China with me.
I am a mother; a wife; a financial planner; a strategic advisor; advocate for women empowerment; a business connector; a self-taught water colour painting artist; a speaker; a beer girl; an ex-spartan-er (6km race with 23 obstacles); an active volunteer; an advisory board member for a registered charity, Xiersen, in China; a mentor to young graduates; and a junior ceramic artist with a love for wheeling and pottery.
For the first time, I feel that I am at the right place at the right time. In a sense, I feel I belong.
What are the defining moments in having created this life you love?
Spending over 13 years in the corporate world, I had opportunities to work with a variety of high-caliber professionals and executives. I have learnt to set a high standard for everything I do; to go above and beyond, even at times the outcome is not clear; treat people the way you want to be treated; be genuine and always be professional. I apply all of these to everything thing I do, from an elevator talk with a delivery guy to answering my son’s Why questions; as well as helping clients and their families to fulfil their aspirations.
Losing my father, my uncle and my grandfather in the same year made me realise that life is too short to not to follow my heart. I still remember having a great deal of support from my husband who helped care for our son at home by himself when our bub was only 2 months old. That allowed me to travel to the other side of the world to bond and grieve with my family. My husband is and has always been a few steps ahead of me. He sees through things from the surface and knows exactly what I need.
What I know now…
Everyone has a story worth listening to. Be curious and be present.
Surround yourself with people you love. Be loved, love back and have some fun.
Only when you are willing to give up what you have, will you then will be ready to receive what you desire. The moment I let go of what others and the world perceived of me, I started living my own life.
Who are your key supporters along this journey – and what have they given you?
My darling husband; our little one and my mum for their unconditional love.
‘We don’t have to do this you know honey.’ – I recall from a conservation with my husband. He is a man with few words but he never fails to surprise me with his love and care for me and our family.
‘Why are you sad mummy?’ – my son once asked me when he saw me come home from work looking a bit down. That reminded me that it is ok to be vulnerable. I want my son to be able to recognize his emotions, good or bad. Be resilient – this is a skill that would stay with him lifelong. Being sad does not make us weak. Something that I still have to remind myself of to this day.
My mum for being the single mum all these years supporting me and my sister; being there in my life in her capacity. The “small” things she does in her way to take pressure off my day-to-day.
How do you now ‘pay-it-forwards’? What support and inspiration do you provide to others to enable them to create a life they love?
Share my experience, good and bad. To help others to see things that they may not see at times. To realise their full potential and bring awareness of what’s really important to them.
What’s your current favourite book recommendation?
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
Be so good that they cannot ignore you!
What’s next for you on your journey?
A place with good beer, great wine and lots of love.