A Fine Balance: Olivia Lee

by Portfolio Magazine
06 Nov 2023

With long working hours, an endless list of tasks, and families to care for, we can’t help but be in awe of these individuals who make juggling responsibilities seem so effortless. But is it really as easy as it seems to be? We find out their secrets to doing it all and how they know when enough is enough.

Briefly tell us about yourself, what you do, and what else keeps you busy outside of work.
I'm the founder of SoGoodK, an online boutique specializing in premium Korean produce, and Brandfit, a marketing company.

During my personal time, I often catch myself yearning to dive back into work! It's a place where my dedication thrives as I endeavour to not only raise awareness, but also foster appreciation and find new produce to introduce, since our adventurous locals are always looking for something new to try. Overtime, I’ve built strong relationships with Korean farmers and have been working closely with the Korean Government on upcoming projects/events. As a representative for premium Korean produce, I take on the roles of a leader and pioneer.

I must admit, keeping up with this fast-paced industry can be quite the balancing act. Ensuring that our patrons are not only satisfied with the quantity of offerings, but also delighted by the exceptional quality, is a top priority for me as this ensures that the legacy of premium Korean produce endures and thrives in the modern world. As I navigate this thrilling tightrope, I'm not merely juggling quantities and qualities; I'm crafting an experience that nourishes both the palate and the soul.

It is about more than just success, it's about legacy. I firmly believe in the responsibility of passing down the torch of knowledge to the next generation. If not me, then who else would take up this responsibility? For me, this isn't just a job; it's been my lifelong vision to educate and make everyone in Singapore and Korea fall in love with premium Korean produce.

In addition to running SoGoodK, you have also been organizing a lot of food-related events abd chef collaborations. How do you manage to get everything done? What is the secret to juggling these responsibilities and executing them well?
I'm always eager to experiment with fresh and imaginative ways to showcase premium Korean products, and I welcome new challenges with open arms. Events and pop-up stores provide lively settings to showcase the wonderful qualities of these products. One of my favorite ways to promote the ingredients is collaborating with Michelin-starred chefs known for their culinary talent. I'm always captivated and enthused by their ability to infuse creativity into crafting dishes, all while exploring the unique, exclusive premium Korean ingredients. It's not just a challenge for me; it also sparks their creativity, and I find that really exciting. Moreover, this collaboration not only displays the wealth of experiences gained, but also showcases the remarkable capabilities of these premium ingredients to our consumers.

Rather than getting caught up in the intricacies of how I managed to accomplish everything, I find it more memorable to reflect on the journey of bringing it all to life. It's about savoring the moments of creation, the steps taken, and the collaborative efforts that have been woven together to shape these accomplishments. It's like savoring a delicious meal, appreciating each ingredient's unique contribution to the final flavor.

When I get an idea in my head, I can be a bit of an overachiever. I'm all about the 'never-stop-thinking' mindset, and I truly appreciate every opportunity that comes my way. Of course, things will get heated and stressful, but I have always kept in mind to stay positive and work toward a better tomorrow every day. Even on stressful days, I take a moment to count my blessings, which include my lovely daughter, supportive husband, and the incredible people in my life who keep me going. Yes, I'm human, and I do get stressed with all the responsibilities, but I always make an effort to reset my mindset every day and tackle each day with a positive outlook.

(Related: 5 individuals who are primed for passion)

As an entrepreneur, wife, and parent, I’m sure exhaustion gets to you. How do you know that it’s time to take a break? How do you slow down and what helps you get back on track?
Over the span of four years, I enjoyed my honeymoon-like period, diligently supporting my husband and nurturing our growing family. It was a cherished chapter, but I must admit, the 'stay-at-home' label didn't quite suit me. In fact, it became evident that I was missing something – work. I suppose you could say I was eagerly eyeing the career track while managing diaper changes and nap times!

When the opportunity finally presented itself to restart my professional journey, I jumped on it. It was as though my passion for work had been bottled up for too long, and the cork had popped with a bang. As an entrepreneur, wife, and parent, recognizing the signs of exhaustion is crucial. For me, it's usually the not-so-subtle urge to break free from the mundane routine and rediscover the excitement of tackling new challenges.

To slow down, I retreat to self-care and reflection. Whether it's the simple pleasure of a peaceful walk, a delicious meal, or relishing quality time with my family, these moments heal me with motivation to keep going on with my life. Getting back on track? Well, that's where my family plays their magical role. Their unwavering support and love serve as a gentle nudge in the right direction, reminding me why I do what I do.

What lessons have you learned from the past that prove to be helpful in this age of “hustle culture”? What words of advice do you have for this new generation of professionals?
In reflecting on the past and considering the age of 'hustle culture' today, I've learned some invaluable lessons that continue to guide me. One of the most profound teachings I've embraced is the practice of daily appreciation, a wisdom passed down from my mother. She taught me the importance of greeting each day with gratitude and approaching every situation with a positive mindset. My mother's wisdom lies in her unwavering belief that a positive outlook has the power to shape the course of our lives. I couldn't agree more. When we approach life with negativity, it's more likely that things will take a negative turn. On the other hand, by maintaining a positive perspective, not only do we enhance our odds of success, we also craft a path that's brighter, more fulfilling, and ultimately more rewarding.

My advice to this new generation of professionals is simple yet profound: Embrace the power of positivity. In the midst of hustle and ambition, never underestimate the transformative potential of a positive mindset. It's not just a mindset; it's a key that unlocks a world of opportunities and leads you toward a future brimming with success and fulfilment. Each day is a chance to appreciate what you have and to pave your way forward with optimism. Trust me; it's a journey worth embarking upon.

As the year draws to a close, what else are you going to be busy with? Also, how do you intend to slow down?
I currently find myself wrapped up in an exciting and hush-hush project that's brewing behind the scenes, a little like a secret recipe in the making. It's like a carefully wrapped gift waiting to be unveiled at the perfect moment. I assure you, it's a significant milestone in my journey, and I'm genuinely enthusiastic about sharing it with all of you. So, please look forward to it!

As for family time, my family's schedules have revolved around work, but we've made it a tradition to plan two annual vacations, with one during the upcoming holiday season. These vacations have become an essential part of our lives, providing us with invaluable moments to bond, rejuvenate, and create lasting memories together. It's during these getaways that we disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and truly savor the joy of togetherness.

Despite my busy work schedule, I deeply treasure every precious second I get to spend with my family. It's a reminder that no matter how busy life becomes, our loved ones are the true treasures that make it all worthwhile.