Friday Interview: Ghilaine Chan

This week, I have had the pleasure to interview Ghilaine Chan, a business manager who  helps people to run their business, making them more productive, efficient and customer focussed, by looking at what isn’t working and getting it to run more smoothly.

So what is it that you do?

In the simplest terms, I help people to run their business, making them more productive, efficient and customer focussed.

I help to save time and money, increase motivation and improve customer relationships. I help companies and people do more with what they already have and spend money wisely to promote growth.

I connect ideas and people to solve complex or difficult problems. I make others’ lives easier. I am operational, taking someone’s vision to reality. I am enthusiastic about technology and how it can improve society.

I build and maintain relationships across multiple disciplines, cultures and levels, translating business needs to the technical teams and providing practical feedback to the leadership or executive teams.

I develop permanent or temporary global teams and have a passion for diverse views and cultural differences. I create order from chaos and build scalable and robust processes and programs to take a business from start up through scale up and beyond

How did you get into the startup ecosystem?

I am passionate about technology and wanted to do more for early stage technical businesses so I intentionally introduced myself to people already within the ecosystem. I went to events that focussed on subjects I was interested in and met people who were introduced to me by others who they thought would be able to help. Before long, you are in the ecosystem because people know who you are.

Why do you think networking is important to entrepreneurs?

No-one is successful alone, no-one can know everything. It is true that it is not what you know or really who you know, but who knows you. People you meet give you a different perspective, they have different skills, they can help you see things you wouldn’t be able to find through ‘paper’ research alone. They have great ideas, they make you think. You cannot quantify the outcome of 2 people having a conversation. It is something that machines will not be able to do in a long time or ever. People are behind and use Technology. It is people that are the common denominator. Technology cannot replace the physical relationship that needs to exist for life to function, but it can make it a lot easier!

What other skills do you think are crucial to new entrepreneurs?

Listening, curiosity and humility. You may have a great idea, but does it solve a problem that exists? Are there people willing to pay to have that solution? Knowing who and what is already out there is very important. Questioning collaborators, supporters and competitors and finding out about them is important. You cannot do this without listening.

Is there any individual you look up to in terms of work ethos?

I have found that looking up to someone can put them on a pedestal that they don’t wish to be on, but I have many friends who I hold in high esteem that have given me great support and ideas, by naming any of them, I will likely miss out someone and that would not be good.

Twitter: @LadyGhilaine

Ghilaine is one of the mentors at the Migrant Business Accelerator.
If you wish to help migrants become entrepreneurs and change their lives for the better, get in touch with This Foreigner Can Social Enterprise.