Natalie Pringle made her move not only regionally across two continents but also industry-wise. In her interview with The Pink Lookbook, Natalie shares the reasons for this drastic career change and her secret recipe to making such a successful move. As the Chief Marketing Officer of Asia’s leading financial literacy platform The New Savvy, Natalie also gives us an insight about working with remote teams and why she is passionate about empowering women.
Natalie Pringle grew up in a picturesque town in Oxfordshire, UK. Her parents always pushed her to give her best – at school but also in the sense of engaging in a lot of activities and having lots of interests. Natalie went on to study Law at the University of Hertfordshire, which was located close enough to experience the bustling life in London. After university, she knew that she did not want to move back home. She always wanted to be self-sufficient rather than depending on her family for support. Hence, Natalie took the opportunity to spend a year in Cyprus working for a law firm to gain more experience. Even though she enjoyed the relaxed environment and living so close to the beach, she decided to move “back to the real world”. In her case, this meant finding a job in London and Natalie absolutely loved it.
“There are so many cultural events and activities taking place all the time and the fast-paced dynamic really prepared me for my life in Hong Kong. Moving straight to Hong Kong from the English countryside would have probably resulted in a massive culture shock, so I am happy that I experienced living in Central London first.”
Natalie worked in real estate in London and after three years, her company wanted to open up a new division in South-East Asia. Natalie got a first insight into starting up new entities by building up the Hong Kong office from scratch. She joined The New Savvy, an online financial and career platform, as their Hong Kong Ambassador and launched a new chapter in Hong Kong at the beginning of 2018. Just a few months after launching, she took on the role of The New Savvy’s Chief Marketing Officer, driving the direction of the platform’s content and finding new ways to engage with subscribers.
As the headquarters of The New Savvy are based in Singapore, Natalie interacts with the team on a daily basis via video calls and through tools like Whatsapp. According to her, it is definitely possible to establish a good team spirit and get things done even if you work remotely. Nevertheless, she emphasizes the value of real face time. “In an office environment, you get to see how your colleagues are doing and how they work on a daily basis. You pick up signs from their body language about the type of day they are having and the mood they are in so you can judge how best to approach them. You can’t really achieve the same with remote teams. It isn’t then always appropriate to just go straight to the point and say ‘Hey, can you get this done quickly for me?’, without engaging in a lengthy conversation because you don’t have the same opportunity to catch up and get into a lengthy conversation at other points during the day. Hence, I think regular contact – getting on a video call and seeing each other – is key.”
Natalie’s drastic career change from real estate to media was triggered by her wish to not only promote financial literacy but also the desire to set up something new that she felt passionately about. What seems to be a 180-degree career change at first sight actually came very naturally – in real estate and for The New Savvy, Natalie was able to set something up to fill a need.
“The reason why I wanted to start The New Savvy here in Hong Kong is to help women to achieve financial independence. This is our key focus area. We run a number of events based around how to achieve goals and take control of personal finances and have found that the community has been very receptive.”
I asked her about her advice regarding drastic career changes. “I recommend getting some exposure – even if it’s on a pro bono basis – before you actually make the big change. You need to test the water and see if it’s the right thing to do.” Natalie recommends starting the new project as a side-hustle and not giving up everything blindly before knowing what it is really like. The risk should be calculated. By running something whilst also staying in your day job it allows you to see if this is a viable fulltime option for you.
“I have had to learn a lot of new things very quickly. I think the reason why I got hired as a great match for The New Savvy is my understanding of and belief in the network’s mission. I have really learnt a lot by interacting with our founder Anna.”
If the drastic career change involves starting a business, this side-hustle approach might work as well. “I think you definitely face less risk if you start a business as a 20-something, without family or mortgage commitments. And it is worth trying something first whilst you got the stability of a fulltime job and then make the move; rather than move and jump into something without having the prior experience.” Furthermore, you need to ensure that you are financially ready. To achieve this financial cushion, it is crucial to be financially literate – the main focus of The New Savvy. “Today we have the ability to be financially empowered by so many tools besides those traditionally offered by the banks.”, Natalie says and refers to the broad range of informative events and resources which are promoted by The New Savvy.
I asked Natalie how the network attracts the attention of millennials – we are all glued to our phones and it is quite tough to stand out in the crowd with your product or service. “It is definitely so important to use social media effectively; in our case Instagram and Facebook. Of course, we also use EDM (ed. note: Electronic Direct Mail) to circulate new content to our subscribers. The foundation really is releasing current content which is relatable to our readers. Our advantage is that we offer content across 35 different topics ranging from lifestyle content to more serious issues on financial literacy and investments.”
Their articles include titles such as “Top Instragrammable Locations in Asia”” to “How to Help Your Kids Become Money Savvy?”. Every topic must be something relatable to their audience and linking to the platform’s core values of empowering women through smart financial decisions. This also applies to any sponsored content as the team are very conscious to ensure that it is in line with the brand and useful to the readers. The New Savvy’s aim is to make their content more relatable and applicable throughout Asia with a good variety of content. They achieve this by analyzing the engagement and feedback of their users to the respective articles and events.
Looking back to her early twenties, Natalie did not foresee her “ideal” career the way it turned out to be. At this point in time she was studying hard and working towards becoming a barrister like many of her peers. Her measures for success have definitely changed over the years. Whilst they used to be more focused on hierarchy, promotions and salary, all the things that we perhaps traditionally associate with success, they have evolved over time and now she sees ultimate success in being able to have an impact and empower others.
“Our goal at The New Savvy is to empower 100 million women to achieve financial happiness. Already in these early stages I can see the positive impact that our work is having even on just a handful of women and that brings a huge amount of fulfillment. Certainly more than could be achieved through gaining an increased salary or being awarded a promotion.”
Natalie Pringle is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Ambassador of The New Savvy, Asia’s leading financial literacy platform. Natalie studied law at the University of Hertfordshire and is passionate about public speaking. Before joining The New Savvy she worked in real estate in the UK and Hong Kong. Natalie is careful to make the time to go to the gym and train with her Dragon Boat team. You will always find her with at least one motivational book on the go.