Sat. Jan 18th, 2020

Miss Jacqueline Stansilas at the Young Professionals Network event held by the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. | Photo courtesy: Jacqueline Stansilas

A Jill Of All Trades

As part of our All in a Day’s Work series, we talk to Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) alumni Jacqueline Stansilas to find out more about her former career at the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

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Despite joining the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC) during a peak period where she was eventually thrown into the deep end in her first week at work, Miss Jacqueline Stansilas was not ready to give up without putting up a fight.

Although she was not equipped with the expert knowledge required for her job scope, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Communication graduate, who was required to deliver sales pitches, felt she was undergoing a baptism of fire.

But Miss Stansilas, who was fresh out of school then, decided to take it in her stride and saw it as an opportunity to further her learning instead.

“I did not get to practise pitching like how I did for writing before entering the working world.

“But this job not only gave me a chance to work on my weaknesses, it also taught me to really just jump right into it and learn on the go.”

A large part of Miss Stansilas’ (first from right) job scope includes organising networking events. | Photo courtesy: Jacqueline Stansilas

While the 25-year-old, who joined the organisation in 2017, largely helps out with the production of publications and the promotion of memberships for the organisation on a daily basis, she admitted that because of her personality, she finds it unnatural to find the best way to convince buyers to take up memberships.

But when the roles were reversed, she found that it was possible to do the sharing with honesty and always give people the choice to refuse the product.

“I learned that sales takes a person’s needs into consideration and it is not just about pushing hard sales,” she added.

“More importantly, it is about finding the right balance between my values and the job itself. 

It is more like how you can be yourself, and yet still the best version of yourself for the job.

Hard skills aside, Miss Stansilas, who has since left the organisation to pursue missionary work half a year ago, recounted that her “learning curve was very steep” as she also had to grasp the necessary technical knowledge in areas such as trade and information technology.

Miss Stansilas (third from left) at the Day of German Unity reception which commemorated German reunification. | Photo courtesy: Jacqueline Stansilas

However, she admits that it can get embarrassing sometimes.

“I did not know a lot about IT stuff so I had to learn a lot about things such as Industry 4.0, or even the Internet of Things (IoT).

“I remember the first time when my colleagues said that the IoT refers to the Internet of Things, and I said ‘yes of course, I know the Internet has things’.

“So I felt a little stupid in the beginning because these are not things I know. I only know communications. You can ask me to write, but I do not know anything IT-related.”

All Is Fish That Comes To Her Net

But as Miss Stansilas slowly eased herself into the job, the sanguine individual found joy in broadening her horizons by attending conferences and seminars where she could engage with the issues first hand.

One of her notable highlights was to be able to not only engage with local ministers such as Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran and Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing during exclusive SGC events, it also allowed her to have an open dialogue with them to gain a better understanding into industry insights and clarify any doubts for research purposes meant for her work.

“It is very open, and I was given the platform to really dialogue. It is without a doubt, a great learning experience where if I had any questions for my research, I could just ask them directly.”

Miss Stansilas connecting with members and non-members over breakfast and lunch meetings to identify their needs and further promote their business in Singapore and/or Germany with SGC’s services and expertise. | Photo courtesy: Jacqueline Stansilas

During the process of her work, Miss Stansilas also mastered the art of networking, a skill which she eventually found it to be very useful in her line of work.

Noting that the intricacies of socialising differed largely from that of business networking, she said: “I learned how to approach people for a conversation, the types of conversations to have, or even the appropriate types of body language to adopt in such a professional setting.

“Networking sounds (like an) easy (task) where you just go up to people and talk to them.

“But, (when you are in a setting where) everybody already knows each other, you need to know how to enter a conversation respectfully and to prevent situations where people just dismiss you as a new fish.

“In a way, I have also learned that when it comes to networking, you can and should feel free to be yourself without feeling the need to be this ‘corporate person’, and find what fits for you.”

Her working environment too, was something that she was thankful for.

Miss Stansilas (first from right) celebrated Singapore’s National Day with the German interns from her office. | Photo courtesy: Jacqueline Stansilas

Noting that it was not a competitive environment even though her job was partly sales-driven, she said: “I got along very well with my colleagues – they were friendly, helpful and easy to connect with and everyone helped each other out.”

Word Of Advice

Her advice to fresh graduates?

Miss Stansilas, who sent out about four to six resumes before receiving the call from SGC, said: “The opportunities are endless and while you may not think you are ready for it, just give yourself a chance to try it out.

“In fact, when I got the call for the interview after a week of submitting my resume, I was not keen on it because it seemed rather professional and I was not sure if I was going to be a good fit for it.

Miss Stansilas with German intern, Anja Jeitner, on the last day of her internship at the Chamber. | Photo courtesy: Jacqueline Stansilas

“(But) in retrospect, I am so thankful that I just jumped right into it because (I realised that) when you are on the job, you can be quite supported.

“So do not ever discount yourself before you even start doing anything.”

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