Wonder Woman: Natalie Lowe from The Orangeblowfish

By Anabela Mok 2021-05-07 11:45:03

From PR senior executive to business owner, and mum of two, Natalie Lowe, shares how motherhood inspired her to leave a jet-setting career to thrive at a business closer to home.

Hi, I'm Natalie. I'm a woman who wears many hats. I'm an entrepreneur, a mother of two beautiful children, a wife, and an active volunteer in the global business community. Born and raised in Australia, I moved to Singapore in 1999, and have worked in a variety of senior communication and management roles, both in-house and at agencies across the Asia Pacific in the past 20 years. I left my corporate public relations career in 2015 to join forces with my husband, Siu, as the Managing Partner of the award-winning creative agency, The Orangeblowfish that he founded. I am responsible for the agency’s strategic vision, P&L, and operational management, staff development and global expansion.


Could you describe the moment when you decided to walk away from your public relations senior management job?

Before I became a mum, there was this thing about me, where I was driven by my identity and success in my career. However, after becoming a mum, I could no longer work the long hours, travel or entertain, and commit myself to the level a corporation requires of its senior staff. It wasn’t easy. So, I decided to refocus efforts on my family and took a six-month break from my corporate career. Ironically, within a few months, I accepted a bigger senior management role for another agency - when my first born was only 10 months old - thinking I was ready to go back to corporate life.

To be honest, I couldn’t dedicate myself a full 100 percent no matter how much I tried for all sorts of reasons. In the end, I wasn’t winning at home, and I wasn’t winning at work. I had a young son who didn’t know me, and faced a lot of “mother’s guilt”. After much internal conflict, I decided it was time for me to focus on my family. This wasn’t a choice that came easy, so I thought to myself, “Do I go and slog myself for a boss who undervalues me and doesn’t appreciate me, or do I focus my efforts on people who care most about me?” That was really the guiding light that led me to where I am today.


How did motherhood inspire your journey to join forces with your husband?

After I left my corporate job, I fell pregnant with our second child. Throughout my working career, I had never really taken a break. And I was like, “okay, I’m really going to focus on being a mum because I have tried being everything else.” So, I spent the next 18 months to two years fully focusing on getting to know my son, and being there for him. During my second pregnancy, The Orangeblowfish was winning a lot more clients who needed strategic support. My involvement initially was one day, and it organically grew to two, three, four days a week, and I officially joined in early 2016, when I moved into a full-time role.


What’s your advice for working mums who are trying to maintain a work and life balance?

I’m sure there are a lot of people who think that they can do something, but they don’t know how. It’s as simple as volunteering, or helping a friend. Even doing something that you enjoy, that doesn’t feel like work. I’ve met a lot of interesting people who have created their own opportunities because they’ve not been able to fit the mould. It’s really fascinating to see how people get creative and become market disruptors, by breaking free from what conventional “work” should be.