Natalie Sit came straight from Changi Airport to our studio in the east to record this episode of The Portfolio Podcast. She had lined up a few meetings in town and the recording was the first among them. During the brief commute to our studio she told me that she has checked her emails, signed an important document, and sent it back to her team at the company headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
No time is ever wasted in her hands.
As we waited for the equipment set up and testing, we talked about the online gallery dedicated to her social enterprise, Creative Cloud Community (CCC). Designed to support young designers looking to join the industry, CCC hosts an annual call for a design submission and competition. The top and winning entries are displayed in the said virtual gallery.
On top of the prizes, the annual event, which today attracts thousands of participants, provides entrants the chance to upskill, get registered as a designer, and obtain valuable exposure to major industry players. The local winner gets a chance to compete internationally, turning the exposure into an important introduction to the global design market.
Sit’s avowed objective in this major endeavor is to touch lives, as much as her business has been doing for many years.
As the group CEO of Acestar Group, Sit leads a major IT solutions provider in Southeast Asia. Acestar specializes in providing creative software, high performance computers, and digital workflow management. Its clientele is spread across education, enterprise, SME, and public sector markets; in Malaysia, it serves over 70 per cent of higher education institutions.
As an entrepreneur, among her major contributions is bridging the gap between the skills that individual creatives offer and the actual needs of the market. “Very often, the what students learn in school is inadequate for the industry requirements,” she says. By providing upskilling and micro-credentials, Acestar prepares these professionals at many turns, updating their accumulated skills and ensuring they are relevant to what the industry is seeking.
Born and raised in rural Ipoh, Sit overcame several challenges during her childhood, but through sheer determination built herself a career in sales, and eventually set up her own company. But her success did not come easy—along the way she battled depression and losses.
“Each time I wanted to quit, I would have this conversation in my head. I would remind myself that if quitting was my solution to problems, it could become a habit. A bad habit. I had to break that habit by finding real and effective solutions, and not an easy way out.”
Since then Sit has become a highly successful serial entrepreneur in the creative software market and systems integrator (SI) business. She has shown her abilities as an innovator by replicating her success in the field of sales automation in a reputable homegrown CRM solution, Saleslive.
The Portfolio Podcast is presented by YPO, Young Presidents’ Organization. A worldwide leadership community of chief executives with over 30,000 members in more than 130 countries, YPO offers access to rich learning programs, sharing of exceptional experiences, and lasting friendships.