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My Experience as Mentorship Chair of EO Malaysia 2016/17

2 years ago, George Ang asked if I would like to join his board in EO Malaysia Chapter as a board member. Initially, I thought I was going to play a role to spread EO’s entrepreneurship spirit among university students and I agreed. However, after being on board, I was assigned as the Mentorship Chair.

As a mentorship chair, I had the duty to ensure that EO mentors and mentees will be paired according to the suitability and relevance.

Being a EO member for 3 years plus, I’ve never truly experienced how EO is like as a global organization until I had the opportunity to attend the Global Leadership Conference where I had the opportunity to meet EO members from all over the world.

Raymond and I took the stage to have some fun at Global Leadership Conference.

The Malaysia contingent at Global Leadership Conference.

To kickstart my year, I had to organize a Mentorship Bootcamp for mentors and mentees to meet. During this bootcamp, I had the support of Stephen Liu, a regional representative and George Gan, a global representative to conduct the program. Both Stephen and George has been instrumental to the Mentorship Program in EO Global and both of them happen to be from Malaysia too!

In the blink of an eye, the entire program has ran for a year!

At the end of the one year program, we brought together mentors and mentees for an Appreciation Dinner.

During this dinner, I had the amazing opportunity to present my mentor of the year, Gan Te-Shen a 1oz Superman .9999 silver coin. Throughout my experience being a mentee, I have learnt the importance of having a mentor in business. A mentor is like a GPS. They are constantly pointing you to the right direction especially when you’re swaying away!

Thanks Te-Shen for being the brain to pick, ear to listen, and for constantly pushing me in the right direction!

And lastly, I want to express my appreciation for Ryan Loo for agreeing to be my co-chair for the entire year. It has been a pleasure working closely with you!

Thanks EO for the amazing experience! This is a definitely must-join organization for all entrepreneurs!

Owners Circle at Kechara Forest Retreat

Learning and growing has always been among the top of my values and I have instilled this values among my team members in Owners Circle. Therefore, every quarter of the year, I make the effort to organize trips for my fellow comrades to attend to learn and grow as a team.

Recently, we have been truly blessed to have Phng Li Kheng hosting and facilitating an Inner Peace Retreat for us at Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR).

For a good 3 days, my team and I did some of the best things we have done this year. I had the opportunity to bring my parents along for this trip too!


3 days of social media diet as every day we were only allowed to hold on to our mobile devices for maximum 15 minutes per day. A great experience on social media detox!

No meat for 3 days? No problem! The vegetarian food served by KFR was simply delicious!

Waking up at 5.30am every morning. Walking up the hills to meditate while experiencing sunrise. Reconnecting with nature like never before.

We got to experience how is it like to be kids again. We were artists and painters. Unleashing our creativities.


We got to slow down, calm down, experience peace and serenity. Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.


Through this trip, I’ve the opportunity to not only know my team members better but also knowing myself better. At the end of the day, we are just a bunch of young people who wants to do purposeful, profitable missionary work that we are passionate about.


Thanks Li Kheng and Kechara Forest Retreat for hosting us and reminding us that our body is a temple. Helping us to keep our temples pure and clean for the souls to reside in.

Li Kheng was really nice as she commented on my FB post when I shared my learnings.

Do visit Kechara Forest Retreat at http://retreat.kechara.com to get more information about this amazing experience!

Moderating EO Malaysia’s Forum on Funding Growth

What a motivating Monday as I was given the enviable opportunity to moderate a forum on funding growth which featured:

1) George Ang – Shared how he grew Revenue Valley (Manhattan Fish Market, Tony Romas, Popeyes Chicken, Hainan Kopitiam) and sold 86% of his company to Ekuinas, a sovereign investment vehicle owned by the Malaysian government.

2) Lindsay Tan – 16 years of experience in private equity in SEA. He founded Crescent Point Group that has deployed over USD600 million of capital to Asia Pacific and Middle East to consumer-focused sectors and special situation investments.

3) Tham Lih Chung – Group CEO of Rhombus, an F&B ecosystem company (quick service, full-service, restaurant-and-bar, premium concepts) founded in 2010 which grew exponen-tially from 0 to RM96 million annual sales revenue in 2 years.

4) Kent Chua – Founder of The Beer Factory and last year started Suzie Wong which is cur-rently the top business lounge in Malaysia. He is also a fellow recipient of Malaysia’s 100 Most Influential Young Entrepreneur 2016 award.

The session was truly inspiring! Being the moderator, I’ve had the chance to ask questions directly and discover how entrepreneurs, private equity and ecosystem builders create businesses from scratch with different fund raising strategies, and nurture them to exponential and sustainable growth!
The world of business growth and private business investing is revolutionizing! Opportunities beck-on those who recognize them early and are prepared to seize the ‘bull by the horns’. It was really insightful to learn so many different amazing ideas from fellow successful entrepreneurs!

First-time Investec Super Rugby champions, the Hurricanes Rugby

Rugby is regarded as New Zealand’s national sport. The All Blacks (NZ National Team) is the most successful international rugby side of all-time. With a winning percentage of 77.1% over 552 Tests (1903-2016), they are noted as one of the most prolific teams across any sport in the world!

Three key points to take note about the Hurricanes Rugy:
• 5 of his players are currently playing for the All Blacks.
• The top player in Hurricanes, Beauden Barrett has been named World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year for 2016.
• In 2016, Hurricanes were the champions of the Investec Super Rugby!

What a pleasure it was to meet Avan Lee in person, CEO of Hurricanes Rugby. I’ve always regard-ed managing a sports team as similar to managing a business, so I asked him two burning ques-tions:

Jonathan: What was the most painful decision you had to make to build a high performance cul-ture?
Avan: A leader must have difficult conversations with your key people. At times, your objective as a leader may not be liked by many. However, if you’re single minded focus, know what you want to achieve and be true to yourself, you’re OK!

Jonathan: You have 5 players in All-Blacks and a team of young, world champions. How do you keep them humble and constantly motivated?
Avan: Whether you’re a world champion or a young player, everyone is treated equally during train-ing. All-Blacks has a very humbling culture. When they leave the changing room, irregardless of how dirty the room is with beer cans and others, the All-Blacks will clean up the room and do not leave it to the cleaners. This culture reminds them that they are ordinary people because no one is more special than anyone else.

My biggest takeaway from Avan? Always stay humble and strive for excellence! That is the winning formula. Having the right culture is truly the breakfast of champions.

Interview with Property Insights

Thanks to Property Insights magazine for featuring me this month as I shared my experience from my early years as a financial planner to starting SilverMalaysia and now my latest venture, Owners Circle – an Influence Investing community.

In this article, I explained how influence investing has helped me to venture into investing in a private retreat villa together with Dato Tan Su Cheng and also an environmental education hotel together with Calvin Ngai.

I personally believe that the world of business ownership is changing. As the world move towards an era of digital transformation, there is a convergence in crowdfunding and crowdsourcing to opens doors to most people to co-own and grow purposeful and profitable businesses that they are truly passionate about.

Intuition alone is not enough to enter an investment or raising capital. Having the right knowledge and applying it at the right time is power!

P.S, Just to clarify an error printed in the interview, I wasn’t a financial planner 6 months before starting Owners Circle. It was the beginning of my career before I started SilverMalaysia.

Leadership 360 for The Connexion Group

Shout out to the leaders of Connexion Group who went into total immersion at Leadership 360, it was an absolute privilege to share and serve you all over the past 2 days.
I love you guys. Thank you and I salute the exemplary culture and essence that you have built as the true DNA of success! ?? ?? ??

“True leaders inspire more leaders!” And remember, there is always enough beer! ? ?? ?

The Connexion Group

Incorporated in Malaysia in 2010, is a leading restaurant and bar group in Malaysia with principal activities being in operations and management. Their strength lies in identify-ing, sourcing and locating potential and uprising hotspots and trends by placing the right concepts either through a corporate-owned or licensee program. Since establishing their first outlet in 2010, Connexion Group is proud to own 5 strong brands i.e. The Beer Factory, TBF, The Library, Geo-venture and The Rabbit Hole today).

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

You’ve taught me so many lessons and I’ve grown in so many ways.

Thanks for teaching me love. Love is when you live to give. Love is when you trade expectation for appreciation.

Thanks for teaching me patience. Patience is not the ability to wait. But to maintain enthusiasm while waiting.

Thanks for teaching me humility. To stop being concerned with who is right or wrong. And to focus on doing the right things right.

Now I’m ready to explore my potential and become the best version of myself in 2017.

The inconvenient truth is… It’s not how good or bad you’re right now that matters. It’s how good do you wanna be!

Work hard and strive to give your best every single day. Until the people who you see as your idols become your partners one day.

Life is lovely when you’re determined to write your own inspiring story!

A student of life,
Jonathan Quek

100 Most Influential Young Entrepreneurs 2016

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I’m truly honored to be standing among the ranks of Top 100 Malaysia Influential Young Entrepreneurs (MIYE) 2016.

In this blogpost I would like to take this opportunity to thank 5 categories of people:

Firstly, thanks Candice Lee, my business partners who believed in me and gave me the extra boost of confidence I needed to kickstart my entrepreneurship journey in Malaysia. Your role to take care of all the mess I’ve created has allowed me to stay focus on the mision to make a difference through financial education.

Secondly, thanks to all my mentors who have inspired me to conquer all the challenges and doubts I’ve had along the way in business.

Thirdly, thanks to all my team members who have went the extra mile to help us during our times of ups and downs. Although I’m the one standing here accepting this honor but the award belongs to my great team that I’ve had good fortune to work with!

Fourth, thanks to all clients who have supported us in many forms. Your kindness has helped me during my journey.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who have rejected me. Your rejection has given me times of reflection to spur my determination to get better!

 

3 + 1 Lessons before Turning 31

A week ago, I was invited as a panel in a forum and the moderator introduced me as “one of the youngest wealth coach in Asia”. I jokingly replied, “Yeah! That was a many years ago.”

 

In the blink of an eye, I’m turning 31 years old. Hitting my 30’s has been a true transformational journey in regards to my outlook and philosophies in life.

Just as I was about to turn 30 last year, I was hit by the biggest challenge of my life. Ending my 6 years love relationship with Candice, my now ex-girlfriend and still business partner. Then the oil crash drastically affected one of the companies that I’ve worked with, causing our business to come to a halt, teaching me a whole new meaning of a “major business disaster”.

For the past 1 year, I’ve burnt the most amount of money in my life. I’ve had the most sleepless nights and this is probably the only year I’ve taken sleeping pills because my fatigue was affecting my daily routines. It was also the year I felt the most depressed as my integrity was being doubted by many of my clients and even my closest friends.

But… This is also the year I’ve gained the most knowledge in business, law (in Malaysia, Singapore and Canada), accounting and corporate finance. My spiritual being has gained tremendous bond and connection with my Higher Power as I wake up every morning praying for my clients and business associates who were affected by the crisis. I’ve had the strongest bond with my business associates who stood together during our toughest time in life and now I can proudly call them my buddies-for-life. Hard times will always reveal true friends.

 

The entrepreneurship world is like climbing a mountain. To use this simple analogy, many people dream of reaching the summit. With stories of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, it makes the summit of the mountain sound like the perfect place to be. I was definitely one of them who dreamt of being at the top of the summit. I created a plan. I was mentally prepared to violate some social rules such as leaving my comfort zone in Singapore to set up my venture in Kuala Lumpur; built a team and promised them that we will do whatever it takes to bring everyone to the summit; aim for series of camps on our way to the top; make significant changes in terrains; thought that we were well on the way to the summit as I carefully calculated every step. But out of a sudden, a storm came and swiped us off the mountain. We fell. I looked at my team members. All of them were bruised. What truly broke my heart was when I saw my parents who were a part of my journey coughing blood.

In this post, I would like to share the 3 most important lessons I’ve learnt during the most chaotic year of my life!

1 Stay True to Reality

The market will make you look either smart or dumb. When the tide is high, it covers up a lot of mistakes. When tide is low, all your weaknesses will be exposed!

When faced with brutal facts, dare to make unpopular decisions. A leader’s role is to make hard and right decisions for his clients even if it’s gonna make him unpopular among several of his team members. In the words of Marco Rubio, “We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity.”

Effective leadership is not about making charismatic speeches or being liked. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.

2. Right People Doing The Right Things

The biggest nightmare of a Pharmaceutical business is when the top sales person tries to be a chemist. Just because he got a good track record of being a top sales person and he knows what the market wants, that doesn’t mean he knows how to formulate a prescription drug.

The old adage “Grow where you’re planted” means stick to the seat you know best and get the right butts on the right seats. The organization became fun for me to run when I started to be the dumbest person in the room. Instead of finding the right answers all the time, I started finding the right talent and spend time asking the right questions.

Then you need to evaluate all the key relationships surrounding you. Would you keep them? The toughest decision to make is when you need to make changes.

So when do you put a halt to a working relationship? Ask yourself, “Would you enthusiastically work with this person, knowing what you know today?”

This includes not only employees but existing customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in the business. It’s a painful question that requires one to face the brutal facts and make changes. It’s especially tough when the company or the situation has simply outgrown some earlier relationships

3. Work Hard On Your Routine.

Product failures. Getting your heart broken. What does it means? Give up? No way! It’s never in my dictionary. For every pain that is evoked, I asked myself, “What is the lesson to be learnt here?”

What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Over the months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and discuss with many business leaders who failed and bounced back even stronger. And I’ve noticed that they all have 2 major attributes that brought them to greatness.

In times of good or bad, they are constantly looking for better ways to do things and to improve. They never sit back and let other pass them by. They have an insatiable desire to learn. Every challenge creates learning experiences. For every blessing that took place, they ask, “How can we do even better?” They have an unquenchable bias for action to attack issues and make things happen!

Most importantly, they create a routine to hold their daily hurdle and implement it with their respective organizations. They bring this crucial communication rhythm down throughout the entire organization. Your routines determine your results. In the long run, your routines will set you free!

The Last Lesson

At the end of the day, the true measurement of success is not recognition by the media, entrepreneurship award or financial wealth. What matters most in life are the depth of your relationships with friends and family; and the people you’ve served along the way. That’s the true measures of wealth!

As I grow older, I’ve also realized that I’ve become more selective of friends and business associates I work with. There are some people in your personal or professional life who are energy vampires – draining life out of you – distracting you from your higher purpose and goals. There is a space to form where you can note relationships you want to end gracefully.

True friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient. It’s about being there when it’s not. Learn to let go and focus on the few friends that are truly worth the effort. Pay attention to the faithful people. The ones you don’t have to impress. The ones who will always have your back.