updated 1 Jan 2013, 22:52
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Tue, Jan 01, 2013
Mind Your Body, The Straits Times
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On juggling career, motherhood and a social life
by Geraldine Ling

1: Kanwaljit Soin, 68

Most women her age would have retired from work, but Dr Kanwaljit Soin, a former Nominated Member of Parliament and a past president of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), still stays active in her practice as an orthopaedic surgeon.

She also serves the community actively as the current president of the Women's Initiative for Ageing Successfully (Wings).

Dr Soin is married to retired Supreme court judge Amarjeet Singh, 71, and the couple have three sons and seven grandchildren.

Keeping healthy, she said, is the key to her success in juggling her various roles: "Exercising and eating well are important but you must also show empathy for others who are also fellow travellers in this journey called life.

"In doing so, you are likely to achieve more because you are less stressed."

2: Annabel Pennefather, 61

Ms Pennefather was the first female president of the Singapore Hockey Federation and the nation's first woman chef de mission to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

The lawyer, a senior consultant at Khattar Wong & Partners, won a Her World Woman of the Year award in 2004.

Married to Hong Kong businessman Harbans Dillon, 63, she makes it a point to have relaxing dinners with her family as often as possible. Her daughter from a previous marriage, Ms Vanessa Ess, 37, an airline pilot, is the first female captain in SilkAir.

On her secret to success, Ms Pennefather said: "My parents and grandparents, who were accomplished sportsmen and sportswomen, demonstrated by their attitude and experiences that sports were for women too, so I never allowed myself to be intimidated or limited by the fact that there were more men than women in sports.

3: Anna Belle Francis, 30

She started her career in the entertainment industry at the age of seven. Married to entertainer Sheikh Haikel, 34, she took a short break for two years in 2004 and 2005 to take care of her children - daughter Triqa, six, and son Abbra, five.

The young mum is the creative director and producer for her two urban arts companies and an ambassador for the Power Over Cervical Cancer campaign.

Motherhood is a top priority. She takes her children to school every morning and rushes home from work to help with their homework.

Running after the kids, together with yoga and swimming, keep her fit. When stressed, she retreats to a quiet corner and does breathing exercises.

She said: "Keeping positive and having good time management helps. My motto in life is to inspire the people around me and to be inspired by them as well."

4 Cheryl Baumann, 41

The chief executive officer of the Singapore Medical Group (SMG) left her native Beijing to pursue a law doctorate in Germany in 1992 because she was attracted to that country's rich cultural heritage.

She became a German citizen and took on a German surname as she planned to live there. However, a chance meeting with Singaporean Felix Huang, 57, the executive chairman of SMG and now her husband, changed her mind.

They fell in love and she moved to be with him in Singapore. They married in 2007 and now have a son, Matthew, 21 months old.

She agreed that being a businesswoman and a mother is challenging.

However, starting the day with a positive attitude helps, she said, adding: "It gives me the strength to overcome challenges. Spending time with my family also allows me to recharge."

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This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.

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