New digital sales skills keep her employable

SINGAPORE - Just a few months after Ms Carissa Fan was hired as a client relations executive for a cinema last November, Covid-19 hit.

Cinema bookings worth six-figure sums were cancelled and eventually the 227-seater cinema at Capital Tower had to stop operating due to safe distancing measures, said her boss Sherman Ng, founder and chief executive of Salt Media & Entertainment.

Thankfully, the company had already been working on a family-friendly streaming service, SMIX, which it intended to launch in the second half of this year.

Bringing forward the launch to April opened up a source of revenue, said Mr Ng, 41.

He shifted Ms Fan and another employee from the cinema team to work on SMIX, rather than laying them off.

"(Carissa) had barely joined the team but bonds were already formed and we didn't want to lose her," said Mr Ng, who had to let the cinema's part-timers go.

"Being able to retrain her for something else was very helpful."

Ms Fan, 30, signed up for the Professional Conversion Programme for Digital Sales Executives.

She started three months of classes in March and is now on three months of on-the-job training in her firm.

The former flight stewardess, who took a 1.5-year career break to raise her newborn son, said she had a bit of marketing background from school, but was not savvy with current trends.

"If not for my course mates, I would have struggled, but everyone helped one another out," she said, adding that she also learnt a lot from industry mentors on the course.

 
 

Ms Fan said she has used what she learnt to help plan and brainstorm ideas for the SMIX streaming service and app.

She also ran campaigns with charitable organisations which received some of the proceeds from purchases of shows.

"With new skills, I'm more confident of my ability to contribute in my current company and stay employable," she said.