Pest-busting mom wipes out competition
AS SHE walked up to make her final pitch to the judges on why she should win the contest, Jessie Sie-Tho, 39, looked straight at My Paper editor Rahul Pathak and said: "Rahul, if I win, I have a headline for you: 'Pest-busting mom wins My Paper Executive Search 2014'."
"It's too long to be a headline," muttered Mr Pathak.
Nevertheless, Ms Sie-Tho, senior Asia-Pacific marketing manager of BASF South East Asia, who impressed the judges with her quick wit and poise, was eventually crowned champion of the contest's seventh edition.
In the finals on Saturday at Movenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa, the 20 finalists had to do a self-introduction, make a business pitch to the judges and face off in a two-minute debate on topics such as "Your boss is always right".
The top five performers were then short-listed and made a final pitch to the judges on why they deserved to win.
Ms Sie-Tho, a working mother in a male-dominated industry, talked about her innate curiosity, the demographics she represented and how she dealt with the challenges that came her way.
She was awarded a cash prize of $10,000 and a one-night stay in Movenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa's Heritage Premium suite worth $800.
"The message my win brings across is that, for women, it's not just about juggling work and family anymore - it's about excelling in both," said Ms Sie-Tho, a mother of a five-year-old boy.
The oldest finalist in the competition, Ms Sie-Tho has been through some tough times in the past seven weeks, with her father suffering a mild heart attack three weeks ago.
"My father's sudden illness reminded me of what's close to heart," she said. Apart from re-discovering the importance of family through the competition, she gained new friendships and new skills from the workshops.
Ms Sie-Tho is planning to share 20 to 30 per cent of her $10,000 cash prize with the other finalists, so that they can donate to a charity of their choice.
"Some of the finalists sponsor underprivileged children and this sum of money could contribute towards that," she added.
The judges praised her poise.
Judge Gina Romero, managing director of The Athena Network, said: "The winner was very good at support-building and networking, because it was evident that she could rally the other finalists to cheer for her."
Mr Pathak said: "Modern-day executives need style as well as substance to get ahead. They need not only good ideas, but also the ability to present them persuasively. I believe that the 20 finalists displayed these qualities in abundance."
The first and second runners-up were Ms Meerly Wang, 29, general manager of Lomography Embassy Singapore, and Mr Benjamin Loh, 26, founder and principal trainer of Speaker's Flare Training & Consultancy, respectively. They walked away with $5,000 and $3,000 cash.
Ms Wang said the other finalists had inspired her. "I've now added more things to my bucket list after meeting these people. Life's journey should be either an adventure or nothing at all," she said.
She would highly recommend others to join the contest. "I've asked my husband to join My Paper Executive Search next year. I know he won't regret the time spent," she said.