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5 Life Lessons With Adele Leong, Managing Director of Southeast Asia, OnTheList

A peek into the mind of one of luxury's leading ladies.


Be curious 

To always keep an open mind and embrace life with keenness. Listen well, always ask questions, do not be afraid of saying “I don’t know” and enjoy the process of learning. Seeing the world and experiences beyond face value allows discovery of new frontiers and opportunities. As a business leader, it is key to never be content with just the usual “this is how things have been done”. The power of curiosity leads one to find new, progressive ways to do things even better, to discover new ways to motivate the team and you will never know when a revelation or great idea can come up! Co-Founders of OnTheList, Delphine Lefay and Diego Dultzin are both such inspirations for me on this front.


Find one’s passion 

My career has spanned over 20 years in the Retail Industry, in roles ranging from Brand and Retail Management, and General Management in the Beauty, Watches & Fine Jewellery and Luxury Fashion industries. I am still loving every minute of it. I have always been drawn to Fashion and Beauty since I was young and recall saving up my allowance during my primary school days to purchase copies of local magazines like Her World to peruse after school. This was a monthly highlight for me as a kid.

My current role as Managing Director of OnTheList Southeast Asia is like a dream job for me as OnTheList has such a unique and innovative Members-Only Weekly Flash Sales concept. It promotes sustainability and minimises the environmental impact of the fashion industry, which is something I have always felt deeply about. With overproduction caused by seasonal inventory and miscalculated demand predictions, unsold inventory pile up every year in landfills and thus contribute to waste pollution and we are here to partner with brands to seek an environmentally and financially sustainable option for brands to clear past-season inventory without compromising brand value.


Optimism is not overrated 

These days, it is a fact that we have been surrounded by more bad news than good ones around us, particularly with the global widespread impact of Covid-19. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, I choose to focus on being optimistic and be constructive over things that I can influence. Particularly when managing a Retail business in such unprecedented, challenging times, the power of optimism allows one to have the right mindset and focus on the positive outcomes to be reached as there are certainly opportunities in this “new future” of retail.


Listen well 

In a way, listening, or rather hearing, is not difficult. Listening well, on the other hand, can be one of the hardest skills to master and put in practice consistently. To talk less and listen more, to seek to understand first, then to be understood. To recognize that knowledge, new perspectives and wisdom can be acquired through listening and not just talking. And listen to everyone. Their opinions or comments shared may not be immediately applied, but by keeping them to heart, there will certainly be a time and place for them to come in handy.     


Work – Life Balance

I am certain that every working mum would have gone through similar experiences as I did, questioning myself at times whether it is possible to have a happy family and successful career all at the same time. There is definitely no “one size fit all” solution for all. Everyone needs to go through the process of finding their own rhythm to best cater  to one’s lifestyle and needs. Thankfully, I strive on multi-tasking and for me, it really helps when I plan my schedule by week in order to be focused and efficient, make a list of priorities, and very importantly, set aside some “me time” daily to unwind. As a working mum of three kids (ranging from teen to lower primary level) who are growing up way too quickly, wife to a super busy IT Executive while heading up a start-up business, it has definitely not been a piece of cake. Yet, I am determined to strive to “have it all”. With a “can do”, optimistic mindset, and I am also immensely blessed to have a solid extended family network that I can lean on when needed, I think it has been all right so far. I will continue to strive to do better in pursuit of being a happy working mum trying to make my mark in the world.