Biz Dev & Sales / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Sue-Ann Wilson, Head of Business Development at Clyde & Co

Sue-Ann Wilson is the Head of Business Development for Singapore at Clyde & Co, a global law firm with over 50 offices and associated offices across six continents.

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

My background is in business development, sales and marketing. I have over 15 years of progressive leadership experience in driving profitable growth for B2B services organisations across Australia and APAC.

My deliverables include establishing and leading client-centric strategies, initiatives and teams of business development and marketing professionals.

In my current role, I work in a large international law firm and I primarily help the partners build crucial competitive advantage and brand equity as well as identify new opportunities for revenue growth through a robust client focus.

This includes developing and launching new service offerings, building market profile and thought leadership as well as proactively adopting a forward looking approach.

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

No two days are ever the same for me and the variety keeps things interesting. Most days begin with spending time with my family over a quick breakfast and before I do a scan for any urgent emails.

A day last week included a client meeting to gain insights on our service delivery and ways to build the relationship globally, preparing a tender response for a new service offering in Singapore and meetings with partners to drive the sales pipeline.

As the head of diversity and inclusion for our Singapore office, I also had a meeting which focused on building a calendar of D&I activities for the new financial year.

In the evenings, I have dinner followed by story time with the kids and catch up on emails if required. On the odd occasion when schedules permit, my husband and I squeeze in a walk to the beach or a drink at our local to unwind. Before I head off to bed, I try to do a short meditation.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

The pandemic has meant that almost all businesses have had to embrace both flexible and remote working in one way or another.

I am fortunate in my position as I see it as having the best of both worlds – being able to have more time with my kids as we moved to home-based learning whilst continuing to pursue a career.

For example, being able to have lunch with them and checking in on how their home-based learning activities for the day is going (or not going..) or taking them to the park for a cycle in the late afternoon. This obviously doesn’t always work out perfectly in reality on a day-to-day basis and some days are better than others!

As a leader, I make sure that we are staying connected as a team through regular communication and look for ways to support each team member in achieving their interpretation of flexible working.

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

Work-life balance means being able to pursue a meaningful career whilst not compromising on family/ relationships and finding time for myself to pursue what I love. Although I recognise it isn’t a perfect equilibrium.

I try to achieve this through what I call by “trifecta”:

  1. Firstly, I have a professional coach – Claire Bibby. She is someone I look up to and I catch up with Claire regularly to make sure that I am on track with my goals and getting her insights on how to tackle challenges. I love that she always makes herself available and on hand to guide me on any issues I need help and support with in a practical manner.
  2. Secondly, I have an awesome support network of like-minded friends whom I love learning from and are always there for me when I need them. I also have an extremely supportive hands-on husband who over 22 years, has been alongside me through the highs and lows of life and really understands me. The mental load is real and I rely on him to help me out especially when things get hectic!
  3. And thirdly, I’ve been fortunate to have sought the advice of leaders who have successful careers and are so generous with sharing tips and advice on career and raising a family.

Success is a team sport and for me, it’s about having deep, well nurtured relationships.

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

I’ve started paying more attention to my wellbeing and gone back to doing Pilates – something which fell to the wayside when the boys were younger.

I’ve also worked on my mindfulness and learned how to better focus on the present and be grateful for all that I have. As part of this I have started meditation which is a work in progress for me.

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

I love reading anything by Malcom Gladwell.

When I was looking to return to the workforce after parental leave, I read The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb, and The Working Mothers Survival Guide by Melissa Doyle & Jo Scard in my quest to understand what work-life balance means for me as a working mother with career progression aspirations.

As part of my current growth faculty membership, I also like the surprise of getting a selection of business books sent to me throughout the year.

For podcasts, I’ve recently started listening to WorkLife with Adam Grant.

In addition to the major business newsletters, I subscribe to Women’s Agenda, Ruby Connection and No Mercy / No Malice.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I love a good list and journals/planners that keep me on track with my goals. Places I have gotten my stash from include Mi Goals, KikiK and Kind Friend. I use my iPhone a fair bit for the basic apps like banking and social media to stay connected with friends and family back in Australia.

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

There are so many inspirational people to choose from! Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Indra Nooyi, Christine Lagarde, President Halimah Yacob and Kathrin Jansen who is the Head of Vaccine Research and Development at Pfizer who was tasked to create and test a viable COVID vaccine in less than a year!

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

  • Find what works for your personal circumstances.
  • Nurture relationships as that’s what matters most.
  • Be kind to yourself.

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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.