Name: Kai Xin Lee
Role: Client Services Director at Wild Advertising & Marketing Pte Ltd
Kai Xin has been helming the ship of ad agency Wild for more than a decade as their Interactive Director. She also has worked at Lenovo, The Brand Union and Microsoft.
1. What are your hobbies?
I love to cook and bake. I find it almost a meditative process where you completely shut out everything for a few hours and just focus on the task. I love baking the classic chocolate chip cookies because freshly baked cookies are the best.
2. What is your favourite quote?
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
This is a really long quote but it’s one of my favourites. When faced with challenges and critics – and before self-doubt consumes me, this quote really keeps me going.
3. What is your favourite song?
Right now, my most played song is Blinding Lights. It’s the first song I play when I start my weekly runs.
4. Where’s your top foodie spot?
Yang Ming Seafood. The lobster chee cheong fun is to die for. The sauce is so good that I usually save it so that I can use it to stir fry my noodles for lunch the next day.
5. Three words people use to describe you:
Persistent, dilligent. As I get older, I have been told, I’m getting “auntie” and I’m okay with that. Aunties know how to sniff out the best.
6. Three words you’d use to describe yourself:
Passionate, authentic and positive.
7. Last good Netflix show you watched?
I’m so hooked on Schitt’s Creek right now. Everyone needs to stop watching “Emily in Paris”. If Emily ever worked in a real agency, she’s not even going to last a month.
8. Celebrity crush?
Jennifer Aniston. She still has the most amazing hair.
9. Personalities who inspire and influence you?
My principal from primary and secondary school. She dreamed big and pushed everyone to achieve their best. She still found the time to get to know the students personally with a lot of empathy. She was one of the first female leader role models in my life. Through her, I saw that women can lead with strength and compassion.
10. Any personal or life goals?
To always be present. There are always many things calling out for my attention and I always aim to give 100% of attention to whatever I am doing at the moment.
11. Share a common misconception about you that people have:
I’m stern and demanding. I don’t have the friendliest face so the general assumption is that I’m not approachable. But anyone who has worked with me knows otherwise.
12. What motivates you most?
My children. I always want to do better for them.
13. Campaign that most inspired you:
Prudential Day One. This campaign shared the stories of the first day of people’s retirement. The stories were beautifully told and through them showcased the challenges faced during retirement. However, one of the stories stuck with me. A retiree shared that she spent most of her life chasing happiness and now that she’s older and wiser, she realised that happiness is fleeting but contentment sticks with you. This actually changed my perspective on things quite a bit.
14. Campaign that you are most proud of:
I Can Adult – This is a campaign to get young people to start planning for their financial future early. It was insight driven. The creative idea was so clever, featuring toys from our childhood years, subtly bringing across the message that if your toys can adult, so can you. It was even recognised globally at the Shorty Awards.
15. Tell us a fun fact that most of your employees don’t know about you:
I’m a huge Dance Central and Just Dance fan. Perhaps linked to my obsession with DDR when I was young.
16. What do you look for in employees when hiring?
People who are team players, tenacious and empathetic.
17. Advice for students thinking of starting a career in an agency:
If you have a genuine passion for digging deep into human insights and translating that into compelling stories, this is a good place to start.
Also, find a place that actually nurtures you and harnesses your talent. The industry moves at a very fast pace but good mentors will still find the time to groom and help you grow in your career journey. At Wild, we put in a lot of effort in mentoring the young ones. The people managers are trained to take care of their career growth journey.
18. How do you feel about Wild being acquired by Prap Japan Group? Acquisitions don’t happen often in Singapore so share with us what the journey was like and what people can expect?
This was definitely a step in the right direction for us. We are always asking how can [we] make Wild better. At some point, we felt that while we have grown to a satisfactory size and enjoyed some success as an independent [agency], the growth in the Singapore market is limited.
With that said, the acquisition journey took some time. We were careful to make sure that the network we were joining shares the same values in business as us and we were happy to have found a good fit in so many ways.
19. How have things changed since the acquisition?
I’m glad to say Prap kept true to their promise and given us full autonomy to continue [managing] the business. Hence our brand, culture and point-of-view has remained unchanged. They have trusted us to do what we do best. At the same time, we have been able leverage on the partnership work with new Japanese clients. The team has even picked up some Japanese when working on the presentations to the Japanese team!
20. What’s the next big step for Wild as a part of Prap Japan Group?
In the past decade, Wild has largely worked with clients based in Singapore but the ambition is to grow Wild to become Prap Japan Group’s primary creative content agency in Southeast Asia. With the network support, we can offer more diversified services and our team can also look forward to wider exposure to clients beyond Singapore-based clients.
Bonus: Any shout-outs you want to give (to people, side-projects, clients, etc)?
Definitely the folks at Wild who have stuck with us in the past decade. So many ups and downs but the respect we have for each other’s work never changes. It’s so true that it’s ultimately people you work with that matters the most.
Kai Xin’s LinkedIn
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