Susan Peh, senior director of Yeo-Leong & Peh LLC on success in life: “It’s the ability to transform difficult paths into gratifying journeys.”

Susan Peh, Senior director of Yeo-Leong & Peh

In the final part of our International Women’s Day series, lawyer Susan Peh, senior director of Yeo-Leong & Peh LLC, talks about motherhood, the joy it brings and how adopting a dog changed her family’s life

Dear ladies,

Life is as beautiful as you make it, even as it unfolds spontaneously through the seasons. As a teen, success usually meant getting top grades in school, winning competitions or embarking on a career of your dreams. You might have worked hard in order to achieve your goals. However, with the flow of time, the navigation between ideals and reality becomes tricky. Life has a way of meandering in unexpected, ironic turns and you have to muster up the courage to deal with them.

After 32 years in legal practice and now a co-owner of a legal corporation with my husband, Adrian, I see success being defined in myriad forms. It is about the cultivation of a close-knit family as well as meaningful relationships with true friends, heartbreaks into heartfelt passion, both for you and the people around you. Above all, success is about good health.

I have lost a number of colleagues and friends along the way to illnesses. Never abuse your body with excessive alcohol, smoking or with an unhealthy lifestyle. Keep fit. Cultivate a clear mind through kind thoughts and actions. Be a life-changer – help and build one another up.

As I look back, the greatest achievements in my life have nothing to do with material possessions. One treasured achievement is having given birth to three lovely children, Melissa, Bertrand and Desiree. The joy derived from these miracles of life greatly outweighs any other notion of material success. Motherhood is my favourite vocation.

Never believe in the glass ceiling. Reach beyond the skies. Do the best you can, if only because you love to. Be a champion of lifelong learning. Your words, thoughts and actions define you, not your gender. Work with all your heart, without procrastination. Spend quiet time with nature. Patience and perseverance will always triumph in life’s marathon. Be adaptable as life is full of improvisations.

Heed sound advice from your parents and mentors. I’ve constantly taken into account good advice from my beloved parents, Mark and Mary. Have faith in God and in yourself. Set aside time to volunteer or serve on the board of charities. Adopt an abandoned pet. Three years ago, I adopted a French bulldog, Duke, from an animal shelter, and he has given my family and I immeasurable joy.

The future for women is as promising as we make it to be. Men are now more receptive to deserving women assuming leadership roles. I hope that the income gap between men and women will be bridged as more women come to the forefront. In turn, I also hope that there will be greater encouragement for men to set aside time from work to be caregivers at home, for their children and the elderly.

Women’s roles and capacity should never be in competition with men as they co-exist in a complementary partnership. Women should also not endeavour to imitate the traits of men in corporate leadership or otherwise. Take pride in your femininity – it is both beautiful and powerful.