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11 July 2019

THoMer Stephanie: from struggling to fit in to craving to stand out

I’m Stephanie, senior innovation consultant at The House of Marketing and a third culture kid. Put simply, I am a Belgian-born Hong Kongese. I don’t fully belong in either culture even if I wanted to. In Europe, my Asian looks can’t go unnoticed and as soon as I start speaking Cantonese in Hong Kong, people hear my accent.

Or if you find this reference more eloquent: I am a ‘banana’. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside. And although I’m proud of who I am today, I disliked being different as a child, especially in primary school. I didn’t think it was flattering to look like Mulan. I wanted to be Cinderella, just like anyone else.

From struggle to strength

Luckily, with some experience and perspective to count for, I now realize that being the odd one out encouraged me to follow my own path and understand that my individuality is a real asset. This mindset contributed to the person that I am today: someone who likes to challenge herself and wants to be the best in what she does.

Credits to my parents, who both immigrated to Belgium without speaking a word of either of the local languages. Yet even so, they managed to set up a successful business and send three kids to university. I’ve often thought to myself: if they could do all that without any of the advantages they’ve given me… then I can do it too!

Woman with a plan

As I’m continuously looking for ways to grow and push myself, I participated in a hackathon a few years ago. Within 48 hours I had to come up with a business idea and present it to a jury. As my proposal was one of the winning ones, I got expert support to turn it into a viable concept. That’s how my own business was born: Undisclosed Dinner. It’s an unconventional dining experience that gathers talented chefs and passionate foodies at a secret location. These gastronomic events aren’t only a way to express my love for food, but also give me the chance to meet a lot of inspiring people and continually improve my marketing skills.

Being on the lookout for new trends and adapting my idea to the current market isn’t only important to stay up to date as an entrepreneur, it’s also an essential aspect in my job as a consultant for The House of Marketing. I’m always thinking about how I can improve projects using my experience and combining my passions. For example, as a new mom, I’m secretly thinking about a concept that combines food, marketing and kids!

Meet THoMer Stephanie discover passion for food.

Food for thought

Why food – you may ask. Food and fine dining are important to me, as I truly believe they have the power to bring people together. Food is a way to nourish our bodies and minds. Sitting at a table, mingling and enjoying new tastes is what creates unique bonds. And not to forget, in Chinese culture, everything revolves around food. Instead of asking, “How are you?”, people ask, “Have you eaten yet?”. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

A great match

By now you might be able to tell that I like challenge. That explains my match with The House of Marketing: the company pushes me to reconsider my limits and gives me a taste of different sectors, which means I get to stretch my comfort zone each time I start a new assignment. My role as a consultant gives me the chance to meet tons of inspiring individuals. I learn from each person and they all have a story to tell, starting from other THoMers to the colleagues I meet at clients. And let’s not forget the external partners that regularly come in to inspire us during Friday lunch. Didn’t I say food has the power to bring people together?