“Work on Yourself and Invest in Yourself”

Malou Caluza, the CEO of QNET says her role model is her mother

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
I am currently the CEO of QNET. My day starts at 7 am with meditation, a morning workout, and reading books. I don’t normally eat breakfast, but when I do, it’s 2 boiled eggs or a cup of yogurt. I cannot last the day without coffee. I start working, i.e., reading my WA messages and emails in the car on my way to the office, and then it’s all calls, meetings, and decision-making all day through. I usually go back home at 7-7:30 pm, have dinner with my husband and the boys, read books on Blinkist for 30 mins, plan the following day, and then go to sleep at 10-10:30 pm.

Did you always know that working in the industry you represent was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
No, when I applied for the customer service position in 1999, I was just looking for a job. I was coming off from a 4-year break (I got married and had my 2 boys and had to stay home and take care of them). I did not know Direct Selling as an industry until I worked in QNET. I grew to love the industry and of course QNET because it’s a people business.

It’s all about building relationships and offering services and great products. I love talking to our customers/IRs and helping them solve challenges, fulfill their requests, and address their concerns. Since I started working with QNET only 6 months after its founding, I had the privilege of working directly with the founders, which taught me a lot.

I was able to travel to many countries, meeting and serving our customers, and this experience was and still is very meaningful to me. Another important reason why I love what I do and stayed is that what we do changes lives for the better. I witnessed many of our customers and IRs achieving success and markedly improving their own lives and the lives of their families. Witnessing this solidified my belief in our company and the industry.

Do you have a role model?
I’ve many role models when it comes to business and leadership. Some of them are Indra Nooyi, Sherly Sandberg, and Oprah Winfrey. I guess your role models change or you add to your list at every stage of your career and personal life. But my constant is my mother. I got my tenacity, grit, resilience, and strength from her.  She continues to inspire me to this day.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?
My breast cancer diagnosis was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome in my personal life. I was diagnosed in 2016 and did all the conventional treatments, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and so on.  I learned from this obstacle/challenge that you can overcome if you have a strong, positive mindset and faith.  You need a clear mind to be able to have a plan on how to fight or overcome an illness like cancer.  You must also have a very strong support system, be it in the family or at work. I am blessed to have had both during this toughest time of my life.

Professionally, I would say that the limits I had put on myself. I was not always this person who thinks that I can break barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and so on. It took me years to overcome my insecurity and lack of confidence. I am very blessed to have mentors like Dato Sri Vijay and Mr. Bismark who patiently taught me to not only believe in myself but also cultivated in me the courage to move forward, get up when I failed, and have big goals and a purpose.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry you represent? What do you wish you had known?
Always have an open mind – be willing to learn and fail. Work on yourself, and invest in yourself. Women tend to forget to take care of themselves. We need to prioritise our well-being because it is only when we are okay mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually that we are able to help others including our families.

Find your own work-life balance. Design this yourself, and don’t let others dictate it for you.  It’s different for everyone. Personally, I don’t subscribe to 50-50 balance,  what I practice is when I’m home, I am 100% present for my husband and children. When I am at work, it’s the same 100%. Sometimes, these 2 collide and it’s ok, do not feel guilty or frantic,  this is life, and we need to be able to adapt, adjust and accommodate.

What do you do to unwind after work?
I like reading books, meeting up with friends over coffee, running, biking, and window shopping.

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