Today’s Roundtable discussion, “Advancing Entrepreneurship,” brought facilitator Mami Ito, CEO of an electroplating company together with 2nd-time ICWB panelist Shannon Kalayanamitr, a serial entrepreneur in the tech world. Both freely offered a number of powerful tips for company leaders and entrepreneurs on how to navigate today’s business world. Their advice, both timely and extremely relevant, applies to any business sector.
Ms. Ito: “Yes, I am the leader of my company, but I shouldn’t always be the decision-maker; I need to have their thoughts and ideas come into my world too.”
Ms. Kalayanamitr: “If there’s no door, then I will build my own door.”
5G Catalyst Technologies Co., Ltd. CEO
Ms. Kalayanamitr quickly recapped her extensive experience in tech and the broader business world. She started in investment banking before venturing into tech. After a stint at Lazada, Southeast Asia’s Amazon, she started her own women-focused company called Moxy (now Orami), an ecommerce group targeting women as the decision-makers of most purchases. Moxy, a blend of Ms. Kalayanamitr’s two passions, social impact and ecommerce, became a huge success in Southeast Asia. She currently serves as CEO of 5G Catalyst Technologies, an end-to-end solution-based company providing smart city technologies.
The two CEOs shared some personal stories on how Covid-19 impacted their business plans and offered tips on how to handle business challenges and how to identify opportunities to move forward, innovate, and advance as a company. Their personal stories revealed not an absence of setbacks, but how they turned those setbacks into new paths forward; Ito-san completely transformed her father’s company to align with a more modern workflow and Ms. Kalayanamitr seized an opportunity to create a brand new company.
They both offered some great advice on navigating the difficult obstacles one encounters on a day-to-day basis, such as how to create the right work environment and how to shape a culture with values and principles. Ms. Kalayanamitr also shared her thoughts on the ways that a multi-disciplinary environment can facilitate a dynamic and efficient workspace. They agreed on the importance of working together both inside and outside the office, and how a strong work culture is vital to innovation and to a better future.
In a dynamic Q&A section, the first question came for Ms. Kalayanamitr regarding the strong traditional gender roles in Thailand and how she navigates these in the business world. She shared a personal story about working as a “Thai, but not Thai” woman and guided the participants on how to navigate gender culture and how to stay focused on the product.
When asked what has been of specific concern in their line of work, Ito-san responded with a laugh, “Cash, number 1. Number 2, Human Resources” and Ms. Kalayanamitr quickly agreed, adding that her current challenge is what to do when there are “too many cooks in the room.” She offered some invaluable advice on making it in industries that deal with a constant flow of innovation and development, which can become overwhelming, and shared lessons on how to best manage this kind of a work environment. With her “can do, will do” attitude, Ms. Kalayanamitr provided some tips on how to find one’s place in the ever-expanding world of business and e-commerce. The Roundtable session, chock full of valuable advice, was truly inspiring.