A Marketing Genius with an All-Rounded Personality
A true embodiment of beauty with brains, Sulian Tan-Wijaya, has been a driving force in Savills as she navigates her way forward to becoming her best self. She has a multifaceted personality that has made her excel in anything she does, from learning classical piano, being part of a rock band, being a professional DJ, singer, swimmer, squash player and most of all, an awe-inspiring leader.
Sulian grew up with a kind-hearted mother who always taught her the essence and importance of being humble and compassionate, which has resonated with her all through her life. When she was in law school and modelling part-time, she remarks, “I was comfortable being the shortest on the catwalk and always surrounded by beautiful women, so I’m never jealous of anyone better-looking, smarter or richer than me!”
She worked as a corporate banker in Indonesia during the 90s. It is through this, she witnessed the riots and the Asian Financial Crisis that made her feel inspired by the innate quality of resilience and strong willingness of the Indonesians. The country’s people positively swayed her as they never lost their sense of humour, even in tough situations.
Later she joined Savills, and Sulian has worked arduously and diligently since she set up their Retail & Lifestyle department 15 years ago. Regarding her role, she says, “My team works with retail property owners to introduce interesting retail, F&B, entertainment and other lifestyle concepts. We also represent overseas international retailers expanding into Singapore.”
She is proud of the Savills APAC retail team as they operate like a big unit founded on the principles of excellence and path-breaking endeavours. The brand has worked with several global giants like Adidas, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lululemon, New Balance, Fila, Penhaligons, Coach, H&M, Minotti, Rimowa, Leica, Topshop, Swatch, Under Armour, Aesop and more.
When it comes to the challenges faced by the retail industry, she states, “The retail industry is extremely dynamic and fast-evolving. Customers are getting younger and are digitally savvy. As real estate advisors for retailers and mall owners, we must stay on top of trends and spot emerging market leaders. It’s a never-ending but exciting learning journey.”
An ardent believer in creating your own luck, Sulian feels that the harder and smarter a person work, the luckier they get. She is unswayed by any failure as it becomes a stepping stone for achieving greater chances of success. This is the reason that she urges everyone to find a job or business that will ignite their passion and won’t make it feel like they are dragging themselves to work every day.
When it comes to the question of being in the rat race or being a tiger, she answers, “Definitely a tiger! Rat races are boring and get you into a rut. I’ve never feared taking on new challenges and playing by my own rules. It’s the results that count. Moving to Indonesia to work in a bank while learning to speak Indonesian took a lot of courage. I came into my current role knowing nothing about real estate agency work. It was a cultural shock, but I have no regrets at all.”
For Sulian, her mother has been the greatest source of inspiration for her. She always looked up to her as she herself was a busy career woman who sacrificed her own free time in order to make her and her sister all-rounders. Keeping this stride alive, she says, “My goal is to be able to seize new business opportunities which could transform my career while building a team which can one day succeed and surpass my achievements.”
She shares her pearls of wisdom with our readers and has listed 6 that can inspire and motivate everyone:
Treasure your family, friends and loved ones
Enjoy life’s journey, and don’t lose yourself in the rat race
Appreciate, don’t envy others for being richer, smarter or better looking
You are never too old to learn new things; it keeps you youthful
There is no shortcut to success. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
To be happy, count your blessings every day and show gratitude.
Sulian has received astounding praise and appreciation throughout her career. She has been bestowed with International Property Awards: Winner of Best International Marketing 2014 and Standard Chartered Bank: Global Top 10 Cash management revenue generator. Besides this, she has also appeared in many international magazines like The Enterprise World Magazine: Top 5 Successful Women Leaders 2023, Prestige Magazine: 30 Women of Power List 2022, and Women’s Weekly Magazine: Great Women of Our Time 2010.