Anyone familiar with the entertainment scene in Hong Kong in the 2000s would recognise this familiar face. Previously an actress and cantopop singer with multiple accolades under her belt, Race Wong, still poised with timeless youthfulness and elegance, is now the proud co-founder of the property platform Ohmyhome.
A far cry from her first full-time job, the Singapore-raised 39-year-old entrepreneur founded this tech startup alongside her sister, Rhonda Wong. Their main aim for the business was to revolutionise housing-related transactions, creating solutions and providing homeowners with a platform to buy, sell and rent houses in a fast and affordable manner.
Catch our interview with Race to find out more about her drastic career transition and how she subverts expectations as an entrepreneur and a mother.
Switching Stardom for Entrepreneurship
When asked about her first full-time job, Race looks back fondly at her 20-year-old self, who moved from Singapore to Hong Kong in pursuit of a life as a celebrity. From the years 2002 to 2009, Race was actively making movies and records as a member of pop duo, 2R, with her sister in Hong Kong. The pair garnered massive fame and bagged multiple awards, which was an extraordinary feat for Singaporean Artists.
However, Race had always known that this was not the career she wanted for the rest of her life. Desiring a long-lasting career, she exited the entertainment industry at the peak of her fame. At 25 years old and unsure of her future plans, she proceeded to get her Master’s degree in business before joining the workforce in a finance firm.
Deciding to move back to Singapore at the age of 30, Race joined her sister Rhonda, who was already in the real estate industry. Together, they started Anthill Corporation, which assists high net worth individuals purchase properties in different countries. This eventually led to the founding of Ohmyhome in 2016 as she wanted to create a solution for all homeowners and make a difference in their property transaction experience, not just for her previous venture’s target audience.
Describing her entrepreneurial spirit as an innate ability that runs in the family, Race shares that it has always been natural for her to have business ideas. However, whenever these ideas occur, she always tends to favour the option of working on it independently instead of approaching a third party company to materialise it for her. This desire to realise an idea from scratch was the main motivation for Race and her sister to build their start-up and run it on their own terms.
No Success Comes Without Sacrifices
Since the inception of Ohmyhome, the roles that Race has to play have expanded, becoming the leader of over a hundred employees while being a mother of two children.
As the Chief Product Officer (CPO) of the business, Race carries massive responsibilities on her shoulders. She is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the business divided into several departments. Race is constantly engaged in dealing with the daily challenges that are thrown her way. This has made work dominate the majority of her time.
With her eyes set on the prize, Race acknowledges the sacrifices she has to make in the other aspects of her life. Although she is unable to spend as much time with her young children as she would like, she constantly places effort to build an effective support system around her to ensure that the health and well-being of her children are taken care of.
Race laments her inability to conform to her children’s schedules as it conflicts with her time in the office, but recognises her immense responsibility to her business’ stakeholders. Therefore, she is grateful that she is able to trust her support system to ensure that her children have their routines in check.
When she does find the time to spend with her children, she makes the conscious effort to spend quality time with them. Race puts her phone away when she is with her children, focusing her full attention to connecting with them. She has attributed this to her amazing relationship with her children, especially her 5-year-old daughter, and being able to balance her roles as a CPO and mother.
Women Should Not Be Limited By Their Gender
Being a successful woman entrepreneur does not come without its challenges.
Race is no stranger to the differing gender expectations that are prominent in society, having experienced first-hand the attitudes that investors have towards pregnant women compared to men who are expecting to be fathers in the future. Race refutes this as she empowers herself and other women to find their own benchmarks, choosing to reference success in comparison to other successful businesswomen who are also mothers and not being receptive to any negativity.
In addition, Race is a passionate advocate that a woman can simultaneously be a mother and successful entrepreneur. A strong believer that there should not be differing standards between women and men, parental responsibilities should be shared equally between the two parties. Frowning upon the mindset that a woman should be responsible for taking care of children and men do so to “help”, she feels that there is still a tremendous amount of progression that can occur in culture such that women should not feel alone as a parent.
In that aspect, Race is championing this movement, setting an example through her actions to show that there is “no reason why women can’t run a business”.