Core Values. Those two words defined Mette Johansson’s message, whether it’s talking about leadership or entrepreneurship. It’s about being the best you can be and helping people do the best they can.
I met Mette Johansson when I nearly triggered her migraines by my camera’s flash. It was my second time volunteering as an event photographer for PrimeTime Business and Professional Women’s Association, one of Singapore’s largest non-profit women association. Harry’s Bar was dark and I was trying to get the best photo I could. Mette talked about launching KeyNote, PrimeTime’s initiative to bring diversity to the stage by creating a women’s only speakers registry based in Singapore. At last count, there are now 23 KeyNote speakers.
I met her a few more items as she sold the message to attendees of PrimeTime-sponsored events. That’s when I decided to approach her and ask her about what makes her tick, what made her succeed in Singapore.
“You must have a risk appetite (and) need a certain tenacity…as well as having your own values,” Mette Johansson explained when asked about what is required when starting a business.
Working in a career, a business, or an organization aligned with your core values energizes you, she insisted. She was preaching to the choir.
As a lady who had years of experience working in communications in multi-national corporations, living in 11 countries, establishing herself in Singapore wasn’t very hard. Mette had a midlife crisis. “I was simply unhappy with my job and I decided it can’t continue like this.” She decided to start her own business, Meta Mind Training.
A few weeks after she resigned, she was back at her company training her former colleagues and bosses. Her heart pounded the entire time, she admitted, but she hasn’t regretted it since. Everything she did and does align to her values. She strongly advocates doing so; otherwise, she said, the work “drains you.”
For those holding dependent visas in Singapore, she encourages them to be open to opportunities and to attend different networking activities. Singapore has a lot of opportunities, she stressed. It’s up to people to grab those opportunities.
In Mette Johansson’s case, she not only started her own business, she wrote a book, “How to Make Yourself Promotable,” and she’s also the chair of KeyNote. She tirelessly promotes the organization because she believes that “more women should be on the stage.”
A week ago, a month after this interview, Mette spearheaded a 6-month training program for aspiring keynote speakers.
How do you handle all these? I asked her.
She loves what she’s doing, was her reply. “I actually sleep less now but I still feel energized.”
Here is Part 1 of the Mette Johansson’s interview
And part 2 of Mette Johansson’s Succeeding in Singapore story.