Lam Tze Tze Reveals The Challenges Of Working In A Family Business, And Her Desire To Continue The Legacy
As the only child of entrepreneurs Lam Tong Loy and Lam Ping Yee, Lam Tze Tze is well-versed in the achievements of her forward-thinking forebears. Her paternal grandfather started out as an entrepreneur in pre-war Singapore, and Tze Tze describes him as a pioneer in the pawnbroking, gold bullion, diamond trading and jewellery business.
When the time came for her father to enter the working world, he “did not rely on his comforts”, Tze Tze points out.
Instead, he first worked for an MNC, then struck out on his own in 1982 to launch Electro-Acoustics Systems (EAS), an audio-visual systems integration company in Southeast Asia that remains a market leader in innovation.
Similarly, Tze Tze decided to make her own way after completing her tertiary education in the UK. She lived in Hong Kong for 10 years, working first in the telecommunications industry, then the biotech sector, before moving back to Singapore in 2016. She is now an executive director of EAS, and her experience of different corporate environments has definitely given her a broader perspective and more agility.
The telecommunications field was fast-paced and extremely dynamic, whereas dealing with R&D and international regulatory agencies in the biotech industry required much more patience, she reflects.
Helping to run a family business is a different animal, in that “to a certain extent, parents never really consider you as just a member of the company. Expectations are higher when you are their child, which can sometimes be a challenge”.
Nevertheless, “regardless of whether one is working for the family or not, one must enjoy one’s work, be open‑minded to suggestions and always have an optimistic attitude”, she believes. “In my previous roles, I earned respect through hard work and my own style of leadership. Likewise, I have to do the same in our organisation, as many of our staff have been employed by the company for many years and watched me grow up.”
To her, a responsible company is one that is attentive to the career development of its employees. “Continuous improvement and training will empower them to embrace the future and create a constructive and cohesive working environment for the different generations working in the organisation.”
(Related: Who Are The Women Behind Asia's Most Innovative Entrepreneurs?)
In particular, she hopes to attract more women into this industry—and that is just one way of keeping up with the times.
“As with all family businesses, the challenge is to continue the legacy and achieve greater heights,” says Tze Tze.
We speak to two more influential society friends, as they reflect on how their family values have guided their outlook on work and life in our October cover story:
Elaine Kim | Ginny Wiluan
- Photography Darren Gabriel Leow
- Fashion Direction Desmond LIm
- Art Direction Matilda Au
- Hair Ann Li and Elly Jiang
- Make-Up Dollei Seah and Zhou Aiyi/Makeup Entourage, both using Dior Makeup
- Photographer's Assistant Eric Tan
- Stylist's Assistant Joey Tan
- Location Raffles Hotel Singapore