Christina Chan

Employee 001 @ Gyrotonic Instructor & Fitmum

After 18 years at an MNC, Christina Chan decided to change her priorities. “At the time, I was working with a multinational IT firm in various roles, including sales and marketing, and managing business partners in Malaysia and the Asean region,” she explains. She left her position because she couldn’t find reliable help for her children, at that time aged 7 and 10. Now she’s the Sales Manager at Ash Be Nimble, a locally-designed sports apparel brand. “The kids needed someone to be around when they came home from school and to help with their school work.” For Christina, it just felt like it was the right thing to do to invest her time in her kids rather than the office.

Her taking up a job at ash be nimble was, in her words, ‘uncanny’. “First I saw ash be nimble products popping up on my social media, and it caught my eye, mostly because of the fox logo. And then my husband picked up some things at the Malaysia Women’s Marathon, where Ash Be Nimble had a booth. Not long after that, Hui (Matthews, ash be nimble founder) put up a call on Facebook, looking for a Sales Manager!” Christina laughs.

“It combines two of my favourite things, so sometimes it doesn’t feel like a job!”

She’s currently responsible for stockist sales in Malaysia and the other countries that the brand is expanding into, such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Christina admits that going into the interview, she had a lot of doubts, especially about her lack of experience in retail sales and marketing. But she also told herself that there was no loss in trying it out. After a successful interview, Christina decided to give it a go. After almost two decades at her old job, she approached her new job opportunity with a completely different mindset. In the corporate world, the job has to come first. Here, Christina told herself she would prioritise her children. “I no longer felt I had to keep the same job for 18, 20 years. I knew then that I had a choice to leave if my priorities could not align.”

Fortunately for both Christina and the company, things worked out. In fact, a lot of Ash Be Nimble’s philosophies line up with Christina’s own. “Staying active is very important to me,” says Christina, who also teaches Gyrotonic classes, an exercise method described as ‘Yoga for Dancers’. “I am a female who loves to work out and also look good doing it, and that makes me passionate about my job. It combines two of my favourite things, so sometimes it doesn’t feel like a job!” Her first work meeting with Hui was on the trails of Kiara Hills, and they exchanged backgrounds, spoke about her role in the company and had a general discussion while sprinting through the hills.

“It was a memorable first meeting,” laughs Christina.

“It was really refreshing to literally have an outdoor meeting, with some adrenaline and sweat thrown in.” Although the transition from working at a multinational to working at ash be nimble’s office, or den as they call it, didn’t particularly phase Christina, she did face some concern from her former co-workers and peers. “They would ask me how I’m doing financially if I was alright. There’s still a stigma when it comes to working for an SME.” She admits that it’s difficult for some to adapt to the change when they are so used to having their personal identity.

Follow Christina’s Journey here:
All photography and videography credits go to: SME Lifestyle

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