Meet our That Mama, Sue Lynn Woo, a woman who is surrounded by beauty, and emanates it, too.
This week, we have the pleasure of learning about a woman of many talents who really knows how to strike a balance in life. Sue Lynn Woo, our That Mama of the moment, knew early on that she wanted to be in a career which not only inspired her but more importantly, supported her role as a mother. She decided to remove herself from a successful, but stressful career and engage her creative side when she went from banking to blooms once she started a family and joined the Peninsula Flower Shop Ltd as Marketing Director in 1994. Her creative talent, passion for floral design and drive has not only won her several, international awards but has also led the Peninsula Flower Shop to impressive growth and international recognition. And she’s done it all while raising three children. Sue Lynn tells us about how she loves to surround herself with beauty, how work always takes a back seat to her children, and how communication is the key to a happy marriage and close relationship with your kids.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in London and moved back to Hong Kong when I was a young child. Then when I was thirteen, I went to Headington School in Oxford for boarding school, and then went on to Imperial College to study Chemistry. I had a few jobs in the banking industry before I went to work for my mother at the Peninsula Flower Shop Ltd. as Marketing Director, and I have been there since 1994.
How did you come to your career in floral artistry?
I was going to start a family, and thinking the banking industry was too stressful, I moved place into the flower business and have been there since I had my three children.
What was your career path before the Peninsula?
I was a Eurobond sales person at a few banks such as Long Term Credit Bank, CEF Capital and Deutsche Bank. By then I was running the book and was a sales manager for fixed income products.
Where do you find inspiration for your floral art?
I find inspiration in interior design books and visiting beautiful hotels and boutiques. I always imagine what flowers I can use to compliment the backgrounds.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
The Woman of Hope 2015. Peninsula Flower Shop Ltd. sponsored the flowers, and it was a really meaningful and exciting project.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that I am always surrounded by beauty. And the flowers, when they turn out well, really makes my clients very happy, and that really brings joy to me.
What about your job could you do without?
Working my staff sometimes can be challenging and also having tight delivery times can make one very nervous. The flowers are not perfect when they are delivered.
How do you balance having a successful career and being a mother?
I try to spend as much quality time with my children as possible, like going to their tennis matches, organising spectacular birthday parties and generally being a good listener to them.
Any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs“ and other working mamas in Hong Kong?
Try to balance your home life and your work life as the people at home are the most important people in your life. Sometimes work has just got to stop.
How do you save time? Any organisational tips and tricks?
I have an organiser that I carry everywhere so that I will know at all times what I have to do. And the trick is to spread things out so that one does not get overwhelmed by work
What do you do when you need to have some ‘me time’?
I really enjoy taking photos of everything I am doing, and I keep connected with my friends and clients through Facebook. That is the time I can really relax and have some fun.
Your favourite thing to do with your kids in Hong Kong?
As my children are teenagers now, their favourite pastime is shopping, whether online or going to the shop. I love buying things for them and helping them to coordinate their outfits.
What do you love most about Hong Kong?
I love the beautiful sea that surrounds the island. I spend a lot of weekends going boating with my friends, and I can relax in the sea and enjoy the scenery of the mountains in Sai Kung.
The most challenging part of parenting, so far?
Trying to communicate in a positive way even when they are not behaving. I always like having good conversations with them and being their close mentor.
Where do you like to eat in Hong Kong with your kids?
We love going to the American Club on weekends where after dinner, they can play basketball and my husband and I can have some quality time talking.
Favourite family holiday spot?
We have been on a few Mediterranean cruises. I always love the Greek islands, it’s so beautiful there.
What is your tips for keeping romance alive when you have such a busy life?
We have quiet dinners together and talk all night, and that is how we keep the romance going.
What’s your idea of a prefect date night?
At a candlelight dinner at Gaddis
What was it like going back to work after you had kids? Can you tell us about what your career was like pre-babies and how it’s different post babies?
I was already at the flower business when I was pregnant with my eldest son, and also with my twins. The flower shop is a family-owned business therefore, the times are very flexible and I could always find time for my children. In fact, my children are top priority, and they always come before work.
What’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
My best advice as a parent is to be a consular to your children, be their friend so that they will trust you and tell you everything, even when they are in trouble. My worst advice is do not physically abuse them. I hate people who hit their children.
Something that no one ever tells you about motherhood?
That you absolutely will sacrifice everything for your children. You will love them from the bottom of your heart.
As a mama, I wish I were better at?
At using the computer, I feel so detached from the modern society.
What has been your most humbling mama moment?
To tell my children it is alright to lose in a tennis match. Losing a tight final game is very humbling.
I wake up in the middle of night thinking about….
College applications for my three children, what I have missed, and what I have not done.
Bedtime is always smoother when..
Television always helps.
My favourite moment of the day is…
When I go play tennis for an hour twice a week. It is really relaxing and can reduce all my stress when I am hitting the balls.
One thing I won’t sacrifices as a mama is..
Not having my children around.
I always feel saner after…
A relaxing message and facial at my favourite hangout, the Mulan Spa.
I wish I had more time for….
Slimming. I wish I had more time to do more exercises like running with my Westie called Ana.
Even when my children are grown and have families of their own…
I’ll still love them.
All photos taken in the above article were taken by talented photographer Sakshi Verma of Sakshi Verma Photography.