“Patience! That's a lie but motherhood has taught me I need to be more patient. It has taught me to laugh at myself, roll with the punches and try not to put too much pressure on myself to be perfect.”
For Australian expat in Singapore, Kate Donnan, multitasking a busy job while raising three young children appears easy, however, she’s candid about the tricks and tips she uses and those imperative ‘me time’ moments, however fleeting, that keeps her going day-to-day, week-to-week.
Mum to boys Miller and Archie and daughter Indie, Kate made the move from Sydney to Singapore over four years ago. After a career in the medical and banking industries, she’s now account director at Delilah Creative, one of our favourite boutique creative agencies that ‘create awesome brands and kick-ass websites for small businesses’. And yes, they serve clients all over the world! (Read more about what Delilah Creative offer to clients near and far, from their founder, Hester, who’s based in Brooklyn, New York here and don’t miss Delilah’s top digital tips for any business, large, small or just starting out here).
“Working at Delilah I get to meet some really interesting and inspiring people, often women that have reinvented themselves and started their own business after moving to Singapore for their husbands work,” explains Kate. “I love that I get to be part of their journey and can (hopefully) make the experience a little easier for them.
Kate opens up about life in Singapore and how she builds a support network. From the importance of creating a community: “living in an expat community you find everyone is in the same boat, so you tend to form close relationships more quickly than you would in Sydney, for example. Your friends become your family.” To domestic help that she never takes for granted: “I am very lucky to have had some wonderful women work for us in our home. With three children, a husband that travels a lot for work and no family nearby, you really need an extra pair of hands as logistically you can’t be in more than one place at a time.”
On her children growing and her changing role as a mother, Kate reflects, “I find that kids actually need you more the older they get, not less. They need lots of support as they work out who they are and how to navigate life in general – their changing emotions, friendships, mean kids at school, being mean themselves and the worst – homework!”
We loved catching up with the gorgeous Kate at home with her tribe in sunny Singapore and getting to know her more. Read on for more of our chat – from her penchant for pink and printed dresses to her favourite coffee haunts, from her love of family beach holidays to her struggles with homework (oh how we relate!). However, it’s the one piece of advice she would give her children that perhaps gives the best insight into this inspiring mother, which is – “Be kind, always”.
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Photography: Clare Barker Wells
Tell us a little bit about your own childhood…
I grew up in Sydney with my parents, younger sister and younger brother. As I am the eldest in the family, I was fortunate that I spent a lot of one-on-one time with my grandparents. My earliest memories are probably of my grandmother teaching me how to cook and sew while passing on all the family secrets. I used to write up her recipes in her special recipe book which she still has and uses to this day. I feel very lucky that they are both still around and my grandmother is now teaching my children how to cook her famous recipes. Nothing beats Judy’s lamingtons or caramel slice. I think that’s what the kids look forward to most when we visit Sydney!
When did you move to Singapore? Have you lived abroad before?
We moved to Singapore four years ago for my husband Nick’s work. I’d never lived outside of Sydney before and was apprehensive at the start, but Singapore definitely feels like home. We have lived on Sentosa the whole time, but recently made the move to River Valley. Sentosa has been amazing but it’s time for a new adventure! Plus the school run is a killer….
Tell us about your career before joining Delilah Creative...
I spent many years working in business development in the medical industry. I started out as a research assistant for an orthopaedic surgeon and then ended up working for a roll-up of orthopaedic surgeons across Australia. My roll crossed many parts of the business from sitting in board meetings to setting up new medical practices and helping to coordinate new site builds. It was a great learning experience for me and I still use most of the skills I picked up today.
Tell us about Delilah Creative…
Delilah is a boutique creative agency and we offer branding and website services for small to medium businesses. This can range from a brand new logo and tool kit to creating a style guide for an existing brand, creating custom illustrations/labels/business cards – whatever you can think of! For websites, we specialise in Squarespace and Shopify sites, either creating a new one from scratch or helping give an existing one a facelift. Our goal is for our clients to have as much control over their site as possible once we hand it over. We give each client a customised screencast tutorial for their own site, which means they don’t have to pay someone external to make changes.
Our process is such that we can service clients all over the world. We use online tools such as zoom for our initial chat and then collect info from our clients using online questionnaires and get visual references via Pinterest. Our concepts and tutorials are shared using screencasts and as our team are based in different countries (our founder Hester is based in Brooklyn) we are pretty much online 24/7!
We would love to service more Australian clients! We are working with a really exciting Australian business at the moment on her new site, and one of our favourite clients is The Paradise Catcher.