career transitioner/ restarter
Business, Executive & Team Coach,
Carol Lim Coaching, Training & Consultancy
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Carol decided she wanted to become an urban planner at the age of 14, after visiting an exhibition on planning Singapore's future. But it was during her undergraduate days overseas when she experienced a moment of epiphany upon realising that most of her college mates were studying for the sake of the intrinsic value of learning and did not view education and career as a linear progression. This revelation transformed her personal definition of success and mindset towards career progression. Reframing her career as opportunities for impact-making, she made her first career pivot 2.5 years into her work life, switching into public relations and corporate communications where she relearnt everything on the job, so that she could be in a position to question and influence policy-making legitimately from within the organisation. She then went on to sell the vision of Marina Bay to international investors and developers, at a time when it was just bare reclaimed land. Her next career pivot brought her into education, rebranding and marketing a tertiary institution which was traditionally viewed as a second last resort by teachers, parents and students. Her decade there sealed her conviction of the urgency to bridge the gap between integrating business/industry and education, so that our youth could be better prepared for the future of work.
Sensing the exponential changes that technology was making to the world outside of public service, Carol disrupted herself yet again by taking a significant pay cut and leaping into the world of technology startups next, working her way up from customer success, tech support, QA, to business development, and eventually COO cum Product Owner. At the height of that startup role, she discovered her north star‚ her deep desire to multiply her impact through coaching founders/executives and their teams full-time, so that she could help them achieve laser-sharp clarity, build people-centred organisational culture, and attain moonshot capability in a VUCAH world, through critical thinking, agile mindset and mental fitness. Hence she stepped into a brand new adventure as a solopreneur coach and trainer earlier this year. At the same time, leaving her full-time startup role also enabled her to dedicate part of her time and energy - through her work with two social enterprises, as well as a host of other nonprofit organisations, back on helping students and youth discover themselves, navigate life, find their career fit, and to groom changemakers to create social impact in the near future.
In her own words:
To prepare myself for the career transition, I started taking up several accreditation courses based in the US concurrently, via distance learning. Given the time zone difference, I persevered through lectures and practicums between 10pm and 3am, a few nights per week, and woke up the next morning to continue with my part-time and freelance work as well as parenting duties to four boys. So far, I have earned four certifications through being a highly engaged and conscientious learner, and there are a few other courses lined up! I have also been very proactive in creating, leading and facilitating various new international communities of practice among my coaching certification cohorts to support one another’s learning and business growth through weekly or fortnightly meet-ups.
I see my “habit” to align and re-align my personal and professional mission, interests and values to the needs of the community, industry and world as a deeply self-empowering practice. It is motivated by a deep desire to make meaning of how I channel my energy and time, and ensure that I am creating purposeful impact and making a difference to others’ lives holistically. I have walked this talk myself, and now I walk alongside my coaching clients on their journeys, to empower them to define their team and personal purpose, and multiply their impact at work and at home.
When I became a mother, the impact I wanted to create naturally extended to parenting. It influenced the way I wanted to educate, coach and bring up my kids, with great intentionality. It also inspired me to play a role in the larger village of supporting other parents in their parenting journeys, and empowering children, teenagers and youth to figure out themselves, their place in the world and the impact that they want to create in society through training and mentoring.
Biggest challenge thus far
Stepping out from the comfort zone of having a stable income with great job prospects in the public sector, without a job in sight, only armed with a conviction to disrupt myself for the better was an act viewed as brave by some, reckless or foolish by others, and even irresponsible by yet others (after all, I am a mom with four hungry boys to feed constantly!). To then jump from one unknown into another unknown of an early tech startup, when I had zero prior experience in private sector and technology, was a constant leap of faith that I did for the nearly five years I worked in the startup. The learning curve was always steep.
I went from being tech noob to Product Owner, concurrently leading the software engineering and UI/UX team, and the customer success/business development/marketing team, as well as being the COO. I am proud that I made good on challenging myself beyond my comfort zone and taking the leap of faith, and the support shown to me by my family, especially my husband.
what judges say
Story of consistently reinventing herself and taking on challenges the both helped her as well as people around her to be the best they can be. Well done!