Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Ke Wei Chua, Head of Marketing at Crown Digital IO

Ke Wei Chua is the Head of Marketing at Crown Digital IO, which harnesses the power of robotics and AI for the new retail.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I started off in hospitality as an air stewardess and have been in marketing ever since! I did a short stint on the agency side before making a move to the client side. I love a challenge – Marketing to me is about possibilities and adaptability, so I’m always expanding and exposing myself to different product segments.

The industries I’ve been in range from luxury retail (real estate, watches) to health and wellness and lastly, tech and f&b. It’s been such a joy cross-pollinating insights and uncovering better ways of doing things.

In my current role, I’m leading a talented team of marketing associates, graphic designers and a UI/UX specialist. It’s a tech start up and we’re solving very real F&B operating issues with automation and technology, starting with Ella, a robot barista. It is a cause that means a lot to me given how I’m living in Singapore, a small city where manpower is scarce and expensive. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday? 

I have a stand up with my team every Monday to set priorities but more importantly, to come back to what we all love doing the most – marketing. We share interesting reads, discuss the latest trends, and exchange our opinions.

Nothing company or work related. Just talking and stimulating each other’s minds. It can be easy to fall out of love with your passion when it becomes drowned with other organizational responsibilities so it’s important to always go back to the very beginning to remind ourselves why we’re doing what we do. How we fell in love with it in the first place. That’s my guiding principle.

I love community-building so we also take this time to catch up on each other’s lives and interests, and just kick back. I usually leave my team to work on their projects for the rest of the week after priorities and timelines are set. 

The rest of my day can be extremely varied with a mix of desk work and being on the move – from strategy meetings, business development pitches, creative campaign reviews, data-crunching, partnership discussions, investment meetings and of course, marketing development work.

I’m currently working 3 days a week from the office and 2 from home –  the split works for me as I get the chance to really concentrate and work in a way that’s output focused as well as maintain social health which is super important to me. 

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance is a state of mind. It means what I do in my personal life fuels my professional energy at work, and what I do at work inspires, or at least, gives me space to develop and care for myself personally. It means I’m at peace.

 I try to work in a pattern that works best for me and encourage my team to do so as well. I’m a huge externaliser and an ENFP so my best ideas and solutions often come after a good conversation or a walk. I love taking walks because it both clears my mind and expands it. 

Before I head into work,  I set aside 10 minutes of my time in the mornings to practise mindfulness. My morning practice is to commit to 1 or 2 big decisions for the day and make  my smaller decisions around those two because we get bombarded by so many choices in a day it’s important to cut through the clutter and stay focused. This makes it easier for me to achieve both work and professional goals throughout the day.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I am intentionally practising the act of ‘savouring’. I have always been a go, go, go kind of girl but over the past year I’ve learnt to pause and learn how to respond, instead of react. And that includes trusting the moment and savouring it, even if it’s a bad situation.

When I take a minute to step back to savour a moment, I start seeing how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that helps me make more thoughtful and meaningful decisions.

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I start my day with Max Lucado’s Encouraging Word Podcast. It’s a short 15 minute podcast that reminds me to lean in to Christ no matter what happens through the day. 

Sahil Bloom’s Curiosity Chronicle is a newsletter I look forward to receiving each time, along with his Twitter updates. He recently unpacked a series on ‘razors’ – I encourage everyone to jump onto it.

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Lee Kuan Yew.

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Set your personal standards – always ask yourself  “Will I be proud to say I did this?”

Nothing feels like work if you’re happy doing what you do. 

Lastly, let your actions always speak louder than words, be it at work or in your personal life.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.