In conjunction with Mother’s Day, Prestige Malaysia talks to three exceptional mothers who work alongside their daughters – as business partners, invaluable mentors and best friends.
Anne Tham, Erica Tham & Grace Tham
Anne is group CEO of ACE EdVenture, working alongside her daughters Erica and Grace. The journey began in the ‘90s, when Anne, then a college lecturer, noticed many post- secondary students struggling to thrive in a higher education setting. The biggest challenge appeared to be that many students struggled to coherently form and present arguments, quite aside from their language proficiency. Writing academic papers was another area of significant difficulty. Realising that there was an urgent need for a system that would facilitate some sort of reform and remediation, Anne opened an English tuition centre in 1995.
ACE EdVenture expanded with the opening of Sri Emas and Dwi Emas International Schools in 2012 and 2015, respectively. The latter is Malaysia’s first-ever entrepreneurial school with children as young as seven being taught how to run profitable and sustainable businesses.
“My daughters were helping me with my business from the ages of seven and nine,” Anne recalls fondly. The girls would assist with various tasks like answering phone calls and organising lesson sheets.
As adults, the Tham sisters chose to continue supporting their mother’s vision for educational innovation. “The culture is empowering,” Erica says, now the chief EdVenture officer of the ACE EdV.
Grace, who is the director of training at ACE EdVenture, adds: “We should always add value to the people around us. I think that is a beautiful way to live life, because it is always focused on giving first.”
Nurul Izzah Anwar & YM Raja Nur Safiyah
A member of parliament for Permatang Pauh, Nurul Izzah is serving her third term in the Malaysian legislature while remaining a member of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
“Most of the initiatives that I am involved with have been inspired by my children, Safiyah and Harith. As a mother, you always want to leave them with a legacy and do something meaningful for them,” she says.
Her daughter, twelve-year-old YM Raja Nur Safiyah, looks up to her with great admiration and a growing understanding of her mother’s ambitious efforts.
Nurul Izzah shares, “In a lot of my discussions with Safiyah and Harith, we talk about how people come from different economic backgrounds and how we can change lives,” the politician explains. “You want your children to value and cherish human life. More than leaving them with monetary wealth, it is really important to leave them with a heart that’s intact.”
This close-knit mother-daughter duo understands that there are many ways in which to build a better future for those around them. Although Nur Safiyah has no interest in pursuing a career in politics like her mother, she does aspire to build and develop communities as an architect.
Nurul Izzah supports her daughter with unbridled enthusiasm. “I want her to feel that she can reach her full potential,” she says.
Maria Tan & Angeline Tan
Maria who is the founder of Maria’s SteakHouse says her odyssey into F&B was an evolving journey. “After I got married, I became a woman of leisure, looking after my children,” Maria says with a chuckle, revealing she is a doting mother to four daughters and a son.
As a family, Maria says they were inclined towards beef. Roast beef was a family tradition. “When my husband’s business didn’t do so well, I got into setting up the restaurant. That is why I chose Western cuisine,” she says of the genesis of Maria’s SteakCafe, which opened its doors in Ipoh in 1999. Today, Maria’s SteakCafe has flourished into five restaurants. The latest being Maria’s Signature located at Suria KLCC.
“The most important thing is that you have to learn to cook. Otherwise, you will depend entirely on the chef. There were many a time, I was played out by the chef. So, you must know the basics because even though the chef has left you, you can still do the cooking,” Maria says, adding that formed the basis of which she advocated for Angeline to enrol in Le Cordon Bleu courses.
Angeline is now the CEO of Maria’s SteakCafe. “It is really about respect. I have so much respect for my mum. I listen to what she says and I learn everything from her. But at the same time, working with my mum is very easy. She gives me freedom in anything I want to do. She trusts my judgement and knows I will make the right decisions,” Angeline says.
Read full story in Prestige Malaysia’s May 2021 issue on Magzter.
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