TED Talk Inspiration: Margaret Heffernan

Dare to disagree! Margaret Heffernan gave an entertaining and inspiring talk about arguments and conflicts which can be enriching and can  help you progress in life.


Jumpstart Magazine: Coworking for Women in Singapore

This article was written by Woolf Works founder, Michaela Anchan and was originally published in Jumpstart Magazine.


Like Hong Kong, Singapore is a major hub for expat workers and the city consequentially finds itself a hub for their accompanying spouses. Often these spouses have left high powered jobs and rewarding careers themselves, to allow their partner to take up a dream international posting.

The role of the depressingly named, ‘trailing spouse’, can be a blessing and a curse. For many, it’s a chance for reinvention: to study, start a family, take up freelance work or volunteer in the region. For others it’s a catapult into a world of lost identity, homesickness and complete isolation. For a third group it’s a time stretch some entrepreneurial wings and to take advantage of Singapore’s relatively transparent business laws, steady economy and high disposable income levels.

Women-led start-ups are thriving across the world as the growth of digital technology fuels new business models and flexible work environments. Mothers can especially benefit from being able to reenter the business world on their own terms, outside the box of 9-5 corporate life.

Coworking spaces are booming across Asia and the world, as this new work era demands flexible workplaces and fluid community interactions. In Singapore we have workspaces for social entrepreneurs, high powered small business teams, artists, designers and tech start-ups. Woolf Works is a coworking space for women.

The coworking model is ideal for women who are often struggling with the balance between raising a family and growing a business. The idea of home businesses run by ‘mum-preneurs’ is inherently fraught – the home is a minefield of distractions and it can be impossible to be mentally engaged completely in the business. Working from a coworking space allows a real mental switch off between work and home, resulting in more productive work hours. It also helps against the dreadful isolation and ‘sameness’ of working alone at the kitchen table every day.

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Woolf Works aims to help women put themselves and their business first. We found that women, and especially mothers of small children, habitually put themselves and the needs of their business way behind the needs of other family members. Working from home really adds to this and Woolf Works aim is to provide a space where women can focus one hundred percent on their business. To achieve this we focus on three essentials for our members:

– A calm, quiet office in which to work productively
– A community of supportive, professional women
– Business opportunities within our network

Our members are a mix of freelance editors and writers, remote corporate workers, and small business owners. We have a range of women from a diverse number of industries. A few examples of the interesting businesses who use our space include:

Woomentum is a global crowdsourcing platform for women entrepreneurs to access business advice, mentorship and funding. Woomentum aims to be the most community-focused knowledge and experience-sharing platform for women in Asia and globally; as well as being the largest reward based crowdfunding platform in Asia, providing women with access to critical capital, particularly at the early stage of their businesses.

Attaby is a three year old fashion design label. Attaby clothing is feminine, easy to wear and designed with the Singapore climate in mind. Attaby clothing is sold globally through their e-commerce platform.

Tekkie Help is a family run business which focuses on getting people’s technology working how they want it to, both at home and at work. They have a growing team of tech specialists and are exploring moving into other markets in the region.

We also have a growing group of writers in our midst, both doing journalistic writing and fiction writing. One of our members, Shasta Grant, recently won a US Short Story competition, which was judged by acclaimed author Ann Patchett.

The role of ‘trailing spouse’ can be lonely and unfulfilling. Coworking spaces for women can provide community and support to expatriate women as well as networks and business opportunities. Woolf Works’ bigger vision is to provide space and community for all women who want to prioritize themselves and their business outside of their role as a parent and a partner.



Upcoming Event: Woolf Works Wednesday

Woolf Works Wednesday

Join us for a very special Woolf Works Wednesday this month. We will learn about and discuss the Mindfulness Framework – an amazing tool for governance of country, the business world and of the self.

We will also discuss a Bhutan trip which Khatiza is guiding in October and I would love a small team from our Woolf Works community to get involved with!

We will have the usual wine and great snacks available for your reasonable ticket price. Please join our last social session before many leave for summer holidays!

Event: Woolf Works Wednesday: Mindfulness
Date: Wednesday – June 10, 2015
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 PM (SGT)
Venue: Woolf Works – #02-01, 176 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore


More about our evening:

In these VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) times, is a “Pause for Reflection” considered a luxury or a necessity?

In the midst of constant challenges, how do we:

· Inspire ourselves as individuals to sustain our values through mindful practices?

· Empower ourselves as cohesive team members through the habits of mindful team leadership?

· Engage in social responsibility that creates the ripple effect of mindfulness in communities?

More info and tickets here!

Herstory: Mary Ellen Mark – Through the Lens of a Talented Photographer

American photographer Mary Ellen Mark’s successful career in the world of advertising photography, portraiture and photojournalism was one to be admired and emulated. She has exhibited in both museums and galleries around the world, was the recipient of numerous awards and fellows, and is proof that photography knows no gender.


Image courtesy of imgkid.com

Born in Philadelphia on March 20, 1940, Mary Ellen Mark ventured into photography using a Box Brownie camera at nine years old. Mary Ellen obtained her BFA degree in art history and painting in 1962 from the University of Pennsylvania. Two years later, she would receive her Master’s Degree in photojournalism in the same university under the Annenberg School for Communication. A year later, she began her travels to Turkey, Germany, Greece, England, Spain and Italy to photograph, thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship.

Capturing Poignant Images of the 60s and 70s

Mary Ellen Mark was also well known for her moving pictures of countless socio-political issues and demonstrations in the late sixties and early seventies. A move to New York (which would also serve as her home until the time of her death) in 1967 saw her documenting images of demonstrations in relation to the women’s liberation movement, the Vietnam War opposition, transvestite culture and more. She gravitated towards the raw and troubled side of photojournalism – far from mainstream society and well into significant social issues.


Mary Ellen Mark, 1975 – Image courtesy of flickriver.com

Through her photography, she shone the spotlight on issues such as prostitution, homelessness, drug addiction, mental illness and loneliness, among others. Her aim in focusing on such subjects was to show their way of living to those who were in the best position to reach out or at the very least acknowledge that they exist.


This prostitute is a transvestite; Falkland Road, Bombay, India – 1978 – Image courtesy of http://www.maryellenmark.com/

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Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon, 1976 – Image courtesy of http://www.maryellenmark.com/

From Photos to Film

Some of her work was also translated into film; her “Street Kids” project eventually turned into the movie Streetwise. In the seventies and onwards, she dabbled into unit photography. She was involved in more than a hundred known films such as Alice’s Restaurant (1969), Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Apocalypse Now (1979), to name a few. In the early nineties, Mary Ellen Mark also became an associate producer, still photographer and a writer for the film American Heart, which starred Edward Furlong and Jeff Bridges and was directed by Martin Bell, her husband.

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In a settlement camp near New Delhi, one of the daughters of Waris (monkey trainers) plays with the animals that provide the family’s living and exist almost as members of the family. (1981) – Image courtesy of http://www.maryellenmark.com/


“Rat” and Mike with a gun, Seattle, Washington, 1983 – Image courtesy of http://www.theguardian.com/


The Damm (homeless) family in their car, Los Angeles, California, 1987 – Image courtesy of http://www.theguardian.com/

Mary Ellen Mark also went on to publish a total of 17 photography books, contribute to popular publications such as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Life and The New Yorker, and even became a guest juror for entries submitted to The Center for Fine Art Photography.

It was a very busy and full life filled with active involvement in the world of photography, film and the media for someone like Mary Ellen Mark. Her powerful and moving photographs serve as an example of brilliant photography that not only captures beautiful subjects but also brings to the forefront issues that continue to plague our society today. On May 25, 2015, she passed away due to myelodysplastic syndrome at the age of 75 in her hometown of Manhattan.


Image courtesy of imgbuddy.com

For more of her renowned works, please visit https://www.pinterest.com/source/maryellenmark.com/


Tech Tools: Mail Chimp – The Best Email Marketing Platform for You?

In the realm of digital marketing, email service is a necessary tool. This is why it is important to utilize an email marketing service that has all the features you need to deliver your message. One such service is provided by MailChimp, which has been around since 2001. But has MailChimp been able to evolve in a way that its range of services is considered to be top of the line? This review will help you see if this “freemium” email marketing service is the one for you.


Image courtesy of wpbusinesstips.com

Features to Like:

MailChimp has several features that users will easily appreciate and take to right away, including:

1. It is easy to create newsletters for your company thanks to the available templates, if coding is not your thing. On the flipside, you can also customize newsletter to the hilt if you want to go beyond what MailChimp templates offer.

mailchimp templates

Image courtesy of mailchimp.com

2. You have the option to use the built-in photo editor. Let’s say you want to make some tweaks to a photo that you want to attach to your email. Instead of having to go through (or learn!) Photoshop, you just need to upload it to the built-in photo editor and perform basic photo-editing or enhancement tasks.

mailchimp imge editor

Image courtesy of mailchimp.com


3. Your mailing list can be segmented into a variety of target audiences. It also has an option for RSS-to-email, allowing your newsletter to be sent out automatically whenever you do blog updates.

mailchimp mailing list

Image courtesy of mailchimp.com


4. MailChimp comes with a report feature that lets you know if your advertising efforts are indeed paying off. The report lets you know who and how many people are opening your newsletters and if they are sharing it on various social networks, among others.

mailchimp reports

Image courtesy of mailchimp.com


5. The program comes with mobile device compatibility for iOS and Android devices. For the digital marketer on the fly, this spells good news as she has the means to push out content as soon as it happens – without having to open a laptop.

mailchimp mobile

Image courtesy of mailchimp.com


6. Mail Chimp easily integrates with the widely used apps that are being utilized by small business owners like Facebook, Google apps, Paypal, Highrise, WordPress and Zendesk to name a few. You can connect your Mail Chimp account with these apps for smoother workflow.

mailchimp integration

Image courtesy of mailchimp.com


A Note on Support

One thing worth noting about the service is that it does not easily connect you with the service support team in real time. There are options for sending out queries via a contact form, but that’s basically it. A closer look at the program will reveal that a generous amount of self-help information is at the user’s disposal: from a quick start guide to a glossary list and a video tutorials section. Perhaps the makers seem to expect that any sort of problem their users might find while using the program can be answered by the information here.


True to its “freemium” nature, MailChimp gives the option of being able to send a maximum of 12,000 emails or newsletters to no more than 2,000 subscribers. Doing the numbers, this seems pretty generous. But this free version does not have the automated email sending feature, nor the audience or time zone segmentation, among others. For those features, you will have to shell out a minimum of $10 each month (limited to 500 subscribers) or $25 each month (limited to 2,000 subscribers). Large-scale and enterprises can go for the higher packages, and for those who send email intermittently a pay-as-you-send option is also available.


MailChimp Suitability

So, taking all of these things into consideration: it will seem that the best type of businesses to take advantage of MailChimp’s features would be the small business owners category. They can initially try the free version when they are just starting out. As their business grows they can also consider the paid option to get the analytics report and other features.