Zee Khamaruldin

I met Nurul Jihadah at Tech in Asia 2016 and she got me at “women” and “tech”. I didn’t have any support when I was learning tech in the late 1990s. The Codette Project would have been perfect but because I didn’t have it back then, I am now glad to be in the team that gives the support to the community.

I designed the visual branding for The Codette Project and has seen it grow organically by our team of past & present fellow designers.

Since the last decade, it has been my role to help other businesses build up their brand design. I take pride in designing websites that optimize on mobile phones. Now I help brands on designing their digital presence.

#CandidWithCodette

What’s the first thing you do every morning? 
I need to have my coffee. I usually then will sit down, and scribble my gratitude points. These days, I’m trying to keep up with writing my book for at least 200 words at a time.

Who inspires you the most?
I’ve always had a problem with this question as I always draw my inspiration from many sources; never a single person. I guess this changes with whom and what I am dealing with at any point of time. 

I used to get my inspiration a lot from Gary Vaynerchuk during a point where I felt very jaded running my business. But now, I draw my inspiration from women who care for my well-being. 

Currently it’s Aisha Preece. She’s a young lady who helps people who want to earn from side hustling. 

If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Oprah Winfrey. I grew up watching her on tv almost daily. I want to know how her heart & brain works! 

When do you feel most creative, morning or night? 
I’m a morning person; thus my creativity comes after I’ve had my breakfast.

What’s one thing your mother has said that has left a lasting impression?
“Your mother-in-law has the same status as me, your mother. Treat her as how you’d treat me.”

Which book has shaped your idea of women and femininity?
I actually haven’t read any book that touches this topic!

Unpopular opinion: who is a feminist icon you think deserves more recognition?
Every Codette team member! 

What do you wish people knew about your generation? 
We went through the transition of analog into the digital world. And it’s surreal that it wasn’t more than 3 decades ago that lives were very much analog; film photography, AM/FM radio, corded phones.

What is one of the hardest challenges you had to overcome in life and how did you overcome it?
My infertility. 

For the early half of my marriage, it was so hard that I went into recluse. I avoided any gatherings or meetings of friends when I learnt that either one of them was pregnant or have given birth. There was a lot of self-blaming that I didn’t take care of my body when I was already diagnosed as infertile when I was 16. 

A lot of how I overcome it has to come from my husband Wan. He has been my strongest pillar throughout my roughest times. But it is also because he has never seen my infertility as a deterrent to our happiness.

You were one of the pioneers of The Codette Project, so tell us how was the first ever Codette Project meeting experience?
I can still remember that day vividly. It was a rainy morning. Our meeting was set to be in the Raffles Place area. I forgot the building’s name but it was like one of the first few co-working spaces in Singapore. 

I remember feeling intimidated because all of the other ladies were much younger than me. A couple of things stood out for me; all of them are university graduates and their energy level was something else! I am only an Advanced Diploma holder and I was much older than them. I was quietly observing and listening to each of them. I loved their energy! I was soaking in all the good vibes that day.

What’s a skill you have always wanted to learn but haven’t had the chance to or just recently started learning?
When my best friend went over to Germany to live with her sister and study there, I picked up a few words and thought I should learn it properly to have conversations in German with her. I have yet to be fluent in it though!

All time favourite film: 
Dead Poets Society