As part of our Leading Women series, we want to highlight the professional challenges and career aspirations of the women we work with here in Asia.  

In this story, Teresa Condicion, Founder & CEO of Shoplinks, shares what it was like to grow up in abject poverty and how embracing her roots has given her a newfound sense of confidence and leadership.  

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Q: What kind of barriers did you experience prior to your success? 

So many! Here’s one example. I’ve had the privilege of having a very diverse experience. I’ve lived in the Philippines, Singapore and China, and I’ve worked in a corporate startup and have both technical and leadership experience. Coming from a fishing village in the Philippines, I was hesitant to speak up when I first started working. I had a lot of self doubts. One time, when I was invited by my alma mater to speak about my experiences, I just froze. I couldn’t say a word. That experience stayed with me, and I really avoided that kind of speaking engagements.  
 
At some point, because of my corporate role, I knew that I couldn’t avoid it anymore. As an entrepreneur, I had to pitch to hundreds of investors, and I had to speak for an organisation that was rapidly growing in size. I also had to speak to reporters, join interviews, appear on television and be seen by millions of people.  
 
At first I was incapacitated, but I knew that I just had to get through it. I realised that it was just a muscle that I had to build. Public speaking was something that I had to do again and again until I felt confident about it, and it became more second nature. I learnt that a lot of it had to do with my mindset. It’s something that I still struggle with from time to time. It takes practise.

This is an abridged version of the full interview with Teresa Condicion. For the full version of the interview, click here.  

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