Inside The Growth Room of Kenneth Tan, Senior Manager - Marketing, SME at Nium

Kenneth Tan is a Senior Manager - Marketing, SME at Nium. Previously the Co-founder of Hearti

Say "Hi" and connect with Kenneth on LinkedIn

1) To kickstart, could you share about your current role, what the company does and a bit about your career background?

I am a Fintech leader and entrepreneur with expertise in the B2B landscape, currently a Senior Marketing Manager at Nium, the first B2B payments unicorn from SEA with a US$2b valuation. Nium is a next-generation financial services platform that enables companies around the world to unlock new revenue opportunities and improve cash flow economics.

I am part of the SME team at Instarem (a business unit of Nium), a leading digital payments platform that enables consumers and SMEs to send and collect international money transfers conveniently and securely. I am responsible for driving high-quality lead generation and enabling incremental SME revenue growth globally. It includes planning and executing initiatives to acquire high quality MQLs, as well as building plans to support the growth and retention of existing SME users. I work closely with cross-functional teams across sales, product, and customer services to achieve common goals.

Prior to Instarem, I co-founded Hearti in 2014, a Fintech venture company that develops multiple cutting-edge B2B technology platforms for various stakeholders such as SMEs, Banks, and Insurers across South East Asia. One of Hearti's assets,, was subsequently acquired by OneConnect Financial Technology, an associate of Ping An Group in 2021.

2) Can you describe what your typical workday looks like?

I always start the day with a hot cup of coffee (coffee addict here). Reading the news is the first thing I do to stay relevant before running through my personal emails and calendar to prioritize the day’s events. I usually use the early part of my day for planning before immersing myself with the usual back-to-back meetings.

Our global team works remotely with different time zones, and we use Microsoft Outlook and Teams to communicate and collaborate. My typical workday involves using the blocked out weekly sessions to catch up with regional stakeholders to align on the key initiatives, performance and new tactical campaigns to drive growth. I also have a separate session with my manager once a week to make sure that we are moving in the right direction.

Working in a startup and high growth environment requires an individual to stay driven and productive in spite of a busy schedule. There are never-ending work requests from co-workers, and I’m always presented with many ways to solve a problem, but the key goal is to prioritize and communicate.

3) What does personal growth mean to you?

Always benchmarking myself against yesterday’s self and ability to impact others. The process of building knowledge, experience and wisdom will translate into your worth. Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth.

To get there:

  1. Eat well (I live to eat; a reminder to myself is to eat in moderation)

  2. Read well (Constantly learning)

  3. Travel well (Staying curious and hungry)

  4. Sleep well (⅓ of your life, so you sleep better)

  5. Work well (⅓ of your life is spent on working, don’t work on things you hate; don’t just work for money, and avoid toxic environments)

  6. Exercise regularly (The greatest wealth is health)

Everybody has a purpose in life, and fulfills roles along the way; friend, brother, sister, son, husband, father, employee, employer, mentor etc. Each path you take (concurrently) will make progress towards your personal growth. The self-discovery, experiences and legacy left behind are those that will be taken to your deathbed.

4) Is there a habit you consciously exercise to ensure you achieve your ideal personal growth?

Speak up. Have real and candid conversations with people (close friends, mentors and managers) who take valuable time to give you feedback. I’ve been blessed with meeting some of them who will point out the good and bad for my personal growth. I highly encourage everyone to seek a mentor (with similar path and purpose) and hear them out; they pave the way (shortcuts) for you to avoid the costly mistakes they went through.

I am also an advocate of LinkedIn as a social learning tool and have benefited a lot from the industry leaders’ frequent posts and opinions. I have also subscribed to LinkedIn Learning (courtesy of Nium) for months now and have successfully completed a few courses to supplement my career growth.

5) What does it mean to grow in your career? How do you measure your career growth?

In a practical society such as Singapore, career growth is often measured by job titles, positions, better remuneration and promotion, which all makes sense, and I don’t deny that. However, some intangible factors, such as work fulfillment, and the impact I have made on the organization matter as well.

Here are the top 5 things that matter to me in my career growth:

  1. Feeling driven and happy to work

  2. Being surrounded by optimistic, problem solving and smart people

  3. Ability to take ownership and share feedback

  4. Accepting failures and allowing me to learn from them

  5. A manager whom I look up to and exchange ideas with

The end goal of your career growth is having your purpose translated into job fulfillment, and building wealth at the same time. Wealth is the ability to live life on your own terms (having the time element in control) and focus on the things that matter most to you in life.

6) Aside from your full-time job, is there anything else you like to do outside work?

In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball and texas hold 'em poker. I also have a peculiar interest in colored gemstones (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and Spinel), vintage watches, and fine antiques/arts. Lately, I am learning a lot about the Web3 space, and also researching on places I would like to travel to when border restrictions ease.

7) Are there any books, podcasts or apps that have been helpful for your growth?

Follow the right industry leaders on your LinkedIn feed. Listening to Spotify podcasts, particularly Gary Vee, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” was a good start for me. The most recent book, Super Scaling by fellow local entrepreneur Alvin Poh, is definitely worth the read.

8) Any tips you’d like to share for those who are looking to venture into similar roles?

Thrive in chaos by having an open mind - ready to try, experiment and fail. Be very active on LinkedIn for the unknown opportunities; you will never know what you don’t know. For aspiring marketers, always make use of data-driven analyses to challenge your thinking and ideas. Focus on setting clear direction, coaching your team, while having strategic thinking and execution skills to stay on track. Lastly, be an ambassador for your brand/organization.

9) Finally, what is the one quote you always live by?

“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!” - Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa.


Nium is actively hiring!

Nium is proud to be named to the CB Insights Fintech 250. That means they are one of the most promising Fintech companies globally. Nium is also voted as LinkedIn Top Startups 2021 and Top 10 fastest-growing companies in Singapore by The Straits Times.

Do check out the available roles at Nium's Careers Page, don’t miss this rocket ship!


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