Yee Lin Loke is a digital marketing strategist, part owner of bookstore franchise Dymocks at Point Cook and a proud member of the MelbourneLean In community.
Yee Lin’s work in the digital marketing space has earned her a wide range of reputable health professionals as clients. In person, it is her quiet confidence and unwavering self-assuredness that is most compelling.
We spoke with the talented entrepreneur and mother of two to find out how she managed to transition from working adulthood to working motherhood. She also gives us a deep insight into her professional and personal life and discusses the perils of emotional labor. Following are the excerpts from the interview:
Q. What does Lean In mean to you and how do you ‘lean in’ in your professional life?
A. ‘Lean In’ to me means supporting and understanding our peers and colleagues, especially women, to help them achieve their goals.
In my professional life, I work a lot with women clients and ‘Leaning In’ allows me to see things from a woman’s perspective. Women tend to behave and react differently to situations and understanding that allows me when I am helping clients through their business cycles. Plus, the ability to have flexible working hours is important because it allows me and my clients to work on growing their business at a time suitable to them without having to compromise on family time.
Q.You recently had your first Lean In Circle meeting, what was your motivation to start that circle?
A. I started my own circle because I work remotely most of the time. I have lots of connections in the virtual world but it’s different. I believe having a circle of women with similar work interests and backgrounds can be eye-opening and help us grow our businesses to another level. It’s great being able to share things with like-minded people, which is quite a different dynamic from hanging out with a group of friends, there is a lot more energy and support for one another.
Q. As a business owner in the digital marketing space, how do you manage the stress of having to deal with multiple campaigns and constantly having to adapt?
A. As with most project-based work, there will be times it’s busier and times it’s quieter. What is interesting is that one learns to do things more efficiently as one becomes more experienced. There are times when I’ve learned it’s best to delegate some tasks to someone else. And then, it’s all about finding the right network of people you can trust to get things done. Planning is another key skill that is vastly underrated. Personally, it helps me to draw a flowchart of my campaigns. It gives me a visual representation of what needs to be done and when. Some days I need to work long hours but everything balances out perfectly on quieter days when I can catch up on things.
Q. When we talk about working mums, we tend to overlook the emotional labor that comes with the territory. What do you do to ease that pressure on a day to day basis?
A. I can resonate with this completely. The emotional labor to me is a lot harder than the physical demands of being a mother. The first thing I did was having an open discussion about this with my husband. I had to make a conscious effort to share the load with my husband. For instance, I got my husband involved in the children’s day to day as much as possible. It’s true that as mothers we can’t help but worry about every single detail. But sometimes learning to rid ourselves of the mother’s guilt can be beneficial. Also, having a partner who has a different perspective on things, helps. Sometimes just taking a step back to have a more holistic view of the situation helps me ease the pressure. And of course, having that “me time” every now and then helps me to reset the mind. I’d highly encourage mums to take time out. It’s not being selfish, it’s being sensible. We are like cars, we too need maintenance!
We are like cars, we too need maintenance!
Q. Are there any other major cultural shifts you’d like to see that would make the work environment more conducive to working mums?
A. We have come far but we still have a long way to go. I remember when I went back to work after having my first daughter, I realized how uncomfortable it was for me when I wanted to express breast milk. There wasn’t any private place that I could go to. It’s either the storage room or the toilet. And that couldn’t be defined as ‘conducive’. Eventually, I had to stop breastfeeding because it was too cumbersome.
I think Australia has come a long way in terms of being more supportive to working mums, allowing for flexible work hours and encouraging the family to work from home but I personally would love to see more support given to help care for our children while mums are at work.
I found having an extra pair of hands made all the difference in helping me move forward in my career. I relied a lot on my family to help, aside from sending my kids to childcare and kinder. But all this doesn’t come cheap. And the rebates given by the government don’t really encourage most working mums to get back into the workforce.
Q. Who has been your role model growing up?
A. You know, I’ve always found this a hard question – I’ve never really had a specific role model growing up. At least no one well known. It was mostly my parents because they made something of themselves all on their own and I really admired their tenacity.
Q. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
A. Your past doesn’t define who you are. We all have skeletons in the closet, so don’t be afraid to confront them. If there is something holding you back, find out what it is and change it.
Your past doesn’t define who you are.
We all have skeletons in the closet,
so don’t be afraid to confront them.
Join Yee’s Lean In Circle here : Melbourne Women Entrepreneurs
We had a candid conversation with Lean In Melbourne