Co-Founder & Director, The Little Executive
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Michelle Choy is the co-founder and director of The Little Executive, a skills studio developing children to be ready for the 21st century. Michelle is an occupational therapist but spent 15 years at home raising 6 kids as a full-time job was out of the question. Michelle started her first business so she could have flexible hours (and to help women) but it failed when hit by SARS and lost a lot of money.
Michelle and her spouse had 3 young kids and were penniless. It was a tough time but they survived. Michelle took up part-time jobs such as being an insurance agent and baking 3D cakes. Michelle also started blogging to share her advice with other parents and from there, became a parent coach to help other parents struggling with their kids.
Michelle thought she will never dare to start a business again. But after she turned 40, when her youngest kid started preschool, Michelle co-founded a business in education teaching executive function skills which she is passionate about to equip this generation to prepare them for a different future. It was tough for the first few years as parents were not ready for this new Programme and as things picked up they were hit by COVID.
Things were really tough but with a never say die attitude, Michelle tried new ways to adapt and stay afloat. She continues to run parenting workshops to help them be better parents, for the ultimate benefit of the children. She has had many struggles over the past 20 years but she stays positive and keeps going without looking back.
In her words:
Raising 6 kids, surviving a failed business (with young kids to feed) and starting a new one.
Biggest challenge thus far
My whole adult life has been a challenge haha! Was pregnant while at university overseas, decided to keep the child, studied full time while raising a toddler, managing a husband, and deciding to have a 2nd child before returning to Singapore. Graduated with good grades even with so many other responsibilities! And going on to have 6 kids in all, and making life work.
I stayed home for 15 years raising 6 kids and that was extremely tough and I'm proud of all my kids. Instead of relaxing, I met a speech therapist and one thing led to another and we were extremely passionate about helping this young generation and started The Little Executive. Not only is running a start up very challenging, it was a difficult uphill climb as we were ahead of our time, and parents did not see the need for executive function skills in the first few years of business. I had to run parenting workshops every weekend to educate parents, and just when things started picking up, covid happened and we almost could not survive. It was through grit and perseverance that we did not give up, had to rethink our strategy, lay off our marketing teams and work long hours ourselves. And finally we managed to turn things around!
what judges say
Raising 6 kids and starting a business! And remaining so positive despite the challenges - hats off to Michelle!