In the ongoing journey of organizational growth and development, it’s imperative to recognize and elevate the voices of emerging leaders. At Elitez Group of Companies, we recognize the invaluable contributions of our young leaders every day. These individuals embody the spirit of innovation, resilience, and dedication, driving positive change within our organization and beyond. Through their unique experiences and perspectives, they inspire us to envision a brighter future and empower us to strive for excellence.

To gain insight into their remarkable journeys, we sat down with one of the young team lead at Elitez Group, Eevann Seah, business unit leader for FMCG to hear his story, challenges, and aspirations.

What is your role within Elitez, and how long have you been a part of the team?

Eevann: I have been with Elitez Group for 5.5 years, fulfilling the role of Business Unit Leader for Elitez FMCG. Time truly flies when you are passionate about your work.

Take us through your journey at Elitez Group, starting from when you first joined to your current role?

Eevann: I decided to leave the air force when I realized it was no longer fulfilling, and my bond had expired. I discovered a passion for event planning when I organized a squadron event in 2015. I had fun organizing it, and it allowed me to think on the fly and be creative. After I left the force, I faced a period of unemployment due to limited transferable skills from my previous role as an air force engineer.

Met Wayne, whom I initially mistook for a recruiter, led to a candid conversation where I shared my career aspirations openly. My primary goal was to gain valuable experience before launching my own events company within the next 1-2 years. In summary, I began my journey with Elitez as a Business Development Executive (FMCG), where I immersed myself in learning about HR and FMCG services. Fast forward two years, I was entrusted with the opportunity to establish and lead a Business Development team.

Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, our team pivoted from brand activation to offering courses, embracing the opportunity for growth and adaptation.

In 2021, I ventured into entrepreneurship by launching Auntie Sam, a Free Samples Vending Machine, alongside expanding our events staff despite the prevailing market hibernation.

By 2022, Elitez Events was officially established, with a focus on aggressively pursuing tenders and expanding client outreach. The fruits of our labor became evident in 2023, as we achieved a gross profit of $250,000, attributed to strategic hiring initiatives and a heightened presence within the industry, instilling optimism for our future growth trajectory.

What made you joined Elitez then?

Eevann: Honestly, I’d be lying if I say that I am instantly bought in the moment i joined. However, it was the leadership exemplified by Wayne and Derrick during the initial stages of my career here that truly resonated with me.

Their growth-oriented and opportunistic mindset convinced me that they were the kind of leaders I wanted to collaborate with for the long haul. Beyond their professional roles, Derrick also takes the initiative to impart valuable insights on personal finance and development, a gesture that I deeply value and hope to emulate in fostering similar discussions among my peers in the future.

What have been some of the most significant milestones or achievements?

Eevann:  I spearheaded my first event in 2018, orchestrating the successful execution of NEA’s Reverse Vending Machine Launch Event at Our Tampines Hub. Witnessing the support of my colleagues during this event was particularly memorable.

Eevann: In 2023, during our town hall meeting where we reviewed and celebrated the achievements of 2022, I experienced a significant revelation. Despite my team’s commendable performance in my eyes, I realized there was always room for growth and improvement. Following this realization, we collectively strategized and set ambitious goals over lunch. The pinnacle of my career thus far occurred during the 2024 town hall, where three of my team members were recognized on stage for their outstanding contributions. Their achievements were a testament to our collective hard work and strategic planning. Looking ahead, I am determined to continue pushing boundaries and aim to see at least five team members honored at the next town hall meeting.

Who have been your mentors and role models throughout your career, and what qualities or attributes do they possess that have inspired you?

Eevann: Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have role models in my higher management team such as Derrick, Rong Jie, Wayne, and Yvonne. Despite my limited corporate experience, having come from the air force, observing their dedication and teamwork has been truly inspiring. Their accessibility and willingness to offer guidance and advice have been invaluable.

Among them, Derrick stands out as a mentor figure. While he may not specialize in the fields I’m venturing into, such as events management, digital marketing, or Auntie Sam, his emphasis on seeing the bigger picture in business has left a lasting impact. Rather than providing direct solutions to my challenges, Derrick teaches me valuable problem-solving approaches, which I find immensely beneficial. It’s remarkable to me that a company would invest nearly 300K in a business idea led by someone like myself, fresh out of the air force with no relevant experience. I’m grateful for this opportunity, even though I sometimes struggle to comprehend why it was entrusted to me. Moreover, the life experiences shared during our informal conversations have been enriching and have contributed significantly to my personal and professional growth.

What influenced your leadership style and your approach to managing a team?

Eevann: I find it challenging to pinpoint a single framework as my sole influence. However, certain principles deeply resonate with me and guide my interactions with my team. One such principle, which I learned from Yvonne during a candid conversation, emphasizes leveraging individuals’ strengths while actively working to improve their weaknesses. This revelation prompted a shift in my expectations from team members.

For example, I have a colleague with a wealth of experience in events. Initially, I expected him to excel in sales and lead generation. However, it became evident that his true strength lies in crafting high-quality proposals efficiently and executing events with finesse. In response, I adjusted our approach, focusing on generating sales leads while allowing him to shine in proposal creation and event execution. This collaborative dynamic has proven successful for our team.

Beyond specific leadership styles, my overarching goal aligns with the values I aspire to instill within my team: fostering growth opportunities, infusing work with enjoyment and challenges to ensure engagement, and cultivating a positive workplace culture where colleagues genuinely enjoy their interactions. Drawing from my personal journey, I’ve learned the importance of leading by example, avoiding a fear-driven leadership approach, and instead, earning the respect of my team through problem-solving, excellence in my own role, and providing avenues for personal and professional growth.

What specific skills or knowledge have you acquired during your time at Elitez Group that you believe have been crucial to your success?

Eevann: During my tenure at Elitez Group, I’ve acquired a range of skills and knowledge that have been instrumental to my success. Firstly, under the guidance of Rongjie and Derrick, I’ve developed a strong foundation in accounting, enabling me to proficiently interpret Profit and Loss statements (P&L), navigate cash flow intricacies, and analyze interest rates—all crucial elements for effective business management.

Furthermore, I’ve honed my team management abilities, learning how to lead effectively by creating and monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a team management masterclass led by Derrick, which provided invaluable insights. I look forward to further enhancing my understanding and refining my skills in this pivotal area of leadership.

How has your team played a role in your career journey?

Eevann: My team has been an integral part of my career journey, playing a vital role in my growth and development. Each member holds significant importance in our collective success, having placed their trust in me despite my initial limitations to offer extensive growth opportunities or guidance as a junior leader, they believed in my vision and leadership, providing unwavering support and dedication. Their belief in me fuels my determination to provide them with rewarding opportunities and a supportive environment for development.

I want to give special recognition to Josh Chia, Operations Manager for Elitez FMCG.  Josh is the backbone of our operations team, consistently delivering exceptional service to our clients and contributing significantly to our team’s success. His dedication and hard work serve as a source of inspiration for me and the entire team.

Can you share a particularly challenging moment or obstacle you faced during your time, and how you overcame it?

Eevann: One of the most challenging moments in my career arose when I confronted the limitations of our team’s specialization in FMCG promoters. We encountered a clear glass ceiling, with a finite number of companies requiring such services and a limited pool of temporary staff available for these roles. Moreover, the profitability of these services was contingent upon numerous stakeholders, including promoters, clients, stores, customers, operations teams, and warehousing.

During this period, we explored diversification into other sectors, such as F&B and hotels, but encountered internal competition and similarly low-margin, unstable projects. Recognizing the need for a strategic shift, I made a bold decision to pivot towards events, including brand activation, corporate events, and exhibitions. This shift allowed us to leverage our existing resources, such as warehouse space and operational teams, while also offering greater profit margins.

Since then, our focus has shifted from the stress of securing promoter jobs and achieving record-breaking deployments to prioritizing client excellence and delivering quality over quantity. This strategic pivot has proven successful, alleviating previous constraints and positioning us for continued growth and success in the future.

What advice would you offer to aspiring individuals?

For those seeking a high-growth career, prioritize working under leaders who cultivate an environment for innovation and growth, welcoming fresh ideas and new problem-solving approaches. Aspiring leaders should master resource management, utilize technology to enhance productivity, and avoid relying solely on overtime.

Remember, as a leader, your team has placed their trust in you. It’s essential to uphold their expectations by leading with integrity, providing guidance and support, and fostering an environment where everyone can thrive and contribute their best efforts. By prioritizing the growth and well-being of your team, you’ll not only fulfill your own aspirations but also empower others to reach their full potential.

Lastly, what are your aspirations and goals within Elitez FMCG & Events, and how do you envision continuing to contribute to the company’s success while furthering your own professional growth?

Eevann: My overarching goal is to provide growth and opportunity for all who seek it within Elitez FMCG & Events. In the short term, I aim to establish our presence as a reliable, creative, and impactful player in the events industry, embodying our mission as “YOUR TRUSTED PARTNER TO CREATE MEMORABLE EVENTS TOGETHER.” Simultaneously, I’m working towards transforming Elitez FMCG into a dynamic marketing agency, shifting from a promoter agency to offer impactful brand activation strategies and digital marketing services to our clients.

Currently, my focus lies on several works in progress (WIPs), including managing full-time promoters and merchandisers for my operations team, developing a digital marketing services division by assembling a dedicated team, and enhancing our events management capabilities with operational support for proposal development and execution. These initiatives present significant opportunities for growth and exploration for our entire team. Once we stabilize these efforts, we plan to explore expansion opportunities into markets like Indonesia or Malaysia, particularly in the events management sector.

In conclusion, Eevann’s journey with Elitez Group exemplifies the transformative power of leadership, dedication, and innovation. From his early days navigating challenges to becoming a driving force within the company, his story underscores the importance of fostering growth and seizing opportunities.

Eevann’s leadership journey at Elitez Group not only reflects his personal growth but also the company’s commitment to excellence in providing top-tier services. From staffing solutions to event management and digital marketing expertise, Elitez FMCG & Events stands ready to elevate your brand to new heights. Contact us to discover how we can bring your vision to life and drive unparalleled success for your business.

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