Paula A Lee, Sales and Marketing Manager at 2Spicy Entertainment, Malaysia

“One must stand their ground if they know it in their gut that they are right,” Paula A Lee, Sales and Marketing Manager at 2Spicy Entertainment, Malaysia <br> <br>In an interview with SCIKEY, Ms. Paula speaks of her journey, her love for F&B, and everything related to food and how

Paula, tell us about your journey, the share of challenges how did you overcome them. Share with us some incidents you feel were the turning point for you.

I started working for the company five months ago, and this was a new field for me altogether. Before this, I was in the retail line for close to about nine years. When I got a call for this job, I delightedly said yes since it was a different line for me as I’ve been in a different industry for the longest time. I have always loved the FB line, and personally, I love food. Even though the job scope is pretty significant for any person to take on but how I’ve agreed and stepped ahead to take up this opportunity. I decided that I can do this and turn things around. Earlier, they had a team that was pretty much from a different line altogether.
I work for two companies now. One is the FB company, Elements KL Sdn Bhd that supplies food and beverages and 2Spicy Entertainment Sdn Bhd is the company that provides the entertainment products. Our products consist of experiences. We have a Dinner in the sky, La Petit Chef, Whimsy, Elements Grill Bar, Lounge in the Sky, and Plane in the City. When I came in, I was the marketing manager for all six brands and not knowing what I am doing. I came in with the idea of how things can be for the company to grow and train the existing staff that we had.
During my first three months at the company, I used the time to get to know everyone, their personalities, and everything else. Before this, I was working for myself. I own a company that deals with e-commerce services. I wanted to switch to something more different. Furthermore, I wanted to spend more time with my two kids, an eleven-year-old daughter and two and a half-year-old son. When I was working from home for the first five years because I wanted to spend more time with the kids. As of last year, I realized that my kids are a little bit grown up now, and they are pretty much sorted; I wanted to do something for myself.

What were the challenges you encountered after you joined the company?

The primary problem was communication. “People are a creature of habits, so trying to change the mindset is one of the hardest.” The people that I work with are emotionally connected to the company because most of them had been with the company for many years. About a month ago, I was asked to replace a position which was much higher than mine since the CEO of the company was planning to leave, and he wanted someone to take over his team.
Apart from being offered to take over the teams of sales and marketing, I was also asked to take over the role of the PR of the company and also the customer service part of the company. The company is going in a direction whereby they want much more clarity on what everyone is doing at work. For a month now, I have been working very closely with everyone and everyone had been so co-operative and supportive. My challenge was to live up to the legacy of the person that I will be following.
In the three months that I took over from him, it has been quite overwhelming. My nature is that of a passionate person when it comes to my work. I have OCD in pretty much everything I do, and so I need everything to be organized. They have taught me to be more zen, to be a little bit more conscious of my surroundings, and also to take a step back and not be stressed out about things. The last thing I’ve learned is not to micro-manage with the ones I work.
I was glad to see about everyone gradually welcoming me into their family; they have taught me to be a bit more patient and honest with everyone. I tell the truth when I am unable to cope, and they always offer to help. I love what I do and the people I work with, and that’s why I decided to take up this role.
For me, my role is big, because I have four departments under me. Usually, when it is sales and marketing, it is just limited to one person to 1 or 2 departments. However, right now, I have four departments, and it can be terrifying since everyone looks up to me, and I don’t want to disappoint them.

Do you have instances that shaped your way of thinking?

I don’t have any instances as such. But I can be very passionate and loud and very opinionated, which sometimes does not work well for me. This is when my kind bosses tell me to take a different approach. That I need to be more subtle and softer, based on my work background, I can be aggressive at work. They also help me understand my work and get along with my subordinates. We have six restaurants at work, but now I make it a point to go down and listen to their problems.
“When you understand somebody’s job, you know what difficulties they are facing,” and as a departmental head right now, I’m glad that I’m able to have that connection with them, and I can make the difference in their lives that would help them. I hold a meeting every month where they can come and talk to me and can understand how I want to help them. I work alongside the operation crew and the GM of these locations to understand their needs. Some of their ideas are brilliant because they work first hand and are the front liners. Hearing this can be very refreshing. The problem of miscommunication has been reducing for the past two months and how there is lesser misunderstanding now.

Describe what does #SheTakesTheLead means to you?

In my opinion, that person should know what she wants and go for it, and when they are doing something happy and what they love, they shouldn’t be thinking about anything else. I will be turning forty this year, and I ask myself what I always wanted in my life. “I always wanted to build a career for myself and build myself a name that if you want somebody to turn things around, who do you look for,” and I’ve always wanted to be that person. It’s not about money anymore but making a name for myself. No matter what comes my way, I believe there is always a solution to it, but “one needs to be a little bit more patient and never give up on anything no matter how hard it is.” I believe that honesty and kindness are paramount. One must stand their ground, especially when they know in their gut, in their heart that they are right.



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