Embracing challenges and building opportunities with Alicent Wong

Alicent Wong has over 20 years’ experience as a digital marketing specialist, Ali (as she is known to her friends) is the founder behind The Women of Colour Founders Network. Migrating from Singapore in 2004, she’s worked with brands such as CBA, Tourism Queensland, Microsoft, Apple and Johnson & Johnson.

Since moving to Brisbane in 2019 from Sydney, Ali is an Account Director with a digital marketing agency in Brisbane, a volunteer business mentor with the QLD Government’s ‘Mentor for Growth’ program and is launching her business and career coaching business working with WoC Founders and professionals in 2024. SMP magazine caught up with Ali for a chat recently to hear more about her journey.

Discovering a love for Australia’s space and nature

The decision to move to Australia originated during my time as a student in Canberra, where I studied Advertising and Mass Communications. Having grown up in Singapore, an island city, I fell in love with Australia’s vast spaces, its nature and its slower pace. Once I graduated I couldn’t wait to get back over here.

Transitioning from the fast-paced life in Singapore to the more relaxed Australian working environment wasn’t without its challenges. As a professional, I had to adapt to a different rhythm, where efficiency mattered more than speed. Over time, I embraced this change, especially as a mother raising two children.

From digital agency to successful entrepreneur

My entrepreneurial journey took a significant turn after the birth of my first daughter, Lily. Returning to work part-time at a digital agency in Sydney, I faced unexpected challenges. Despite promises of maintaining my professional standing, I found myself marginalised due to my reduced hours. I felt I was being treated as having less of a brain and was given a smaller suite of clients that was less challenging for me.

This setback became the catalyst for change. My husband and I seized the opportunity to start our own agency. Juggling the responsibilities of parenthood and entrepreneurship, we faced challenges head-on. Over nearly seven years, we built a successful business. When we sold the business we had 15 people in the Sydney office. We decided to leave the agency on a high because we were thinking about moving to Brisbane and other opportunities were knocking on our door.

The decision to sell wasn’t easy, but life is about learning lessons and moving on to bigger and better things. This move would also enable us to spend more time with our growing family.

Redefining gender roles and diversity

As a mother, I became even more focused and productive, challenging traditional gender roles. My husband embraced the role of a stay-at-home dad, with a business on the side, while I continued consulting. Our experience reflects a broader shift in traditional roles, where women can excel in their careers and be great mums at the same time.

While progress has been made in recognizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), there’s still work to be done. Australia’s cultural diversity is vast, yet the data shows a lack of investment in black women and women of colour. The Women of Colour Founders Network emerged as a response to this gap, a platform to amplify the stories of women who may have been taught to be seen but not heard.

Visibility equals support

The network aims to dispel the notion that women sharing their achievements is bragging. Cultural upbringing often discourages women from embracing their successes. Visibility, I believe, leads to awareness, and awareness leads to support. This philosophy is not confined to Australia but resonates globally.

In the face of setbacks, I’ve learned to reconnect with my ‘why.’ Whether it’s building a future outside my home country or challenging societal expectations, understanding my purpose has been my guiding light. I encourage others, whether in a challenging job or running a business, to reconnect with their ‘why’—the driving force behind their journey.

Dancing in the rain

The quote by Vivian Green, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass but learning how to dance in the rain,” explains how I feel. I don’t label experiences as good or bad; instead, I see them as lessons shaping me into the businesswoman, mother, and wife I aspire to be.

In life, every step, no matter how small, counts. I believe in the power of visibility, the strength of diversity, and the importance of connecting to one’s purpose. As I continue my journey, I hope to inspire others to dance in the rain, embrace their power, and strive for greatness in all aspects of life.

Connect with Ali:

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/alicentwong

Women of Colour Founders Network: thewomenofcolourfoundersnetwork.com


Subscribe to our newsletter

SMP Magazine

Australia (AU) Edition


(+61) 468322800


© 2023 Reveal Studios

Scroll to Top