Kathy Rougier Helps Mothers Feel Supported and Provides Them with the Empowerment and Confidence They Need Through the Fourth Trimester and Beyond.
What’s your story?
The birth of my daughter was a monumental shift for me. Having built my career across London and Asia, having faced down prejudices for being female, in a male dominated environment, and worked through cultural misconceptions, life just suddenly stood still. A massive full stop. I wasn’t prepared for it, I didn’t have the support network I needed at the time. Some very special people came into my life and showed me how to be happy in motherhood, and have a career. They gave me a vision to ensure other women feel supported, and empowered, postnatally, through motherhood and their career.
What excites you most about your industry?
Connection. When I help a new mum, and family, and when it really clicks, the connection is addictive. It is such a privilege to be invited into a family’s life at such a precious, and vulnerable, time and I will never take that for granted. The connection between a Doula and the family is one of trust, friendship and empowerment, I haven’t felt such a deep connection in any other industry, or job. It makes me feel ten feet tall.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I moved to Singapore in 2011, based on a flash of inspiration, with nothing more than a suitcase. It became my window to Asia and where I fell in love. I followed my heart to Bangkok, where I got married and had my daughter. We moved back to Singapore as a family in 2018. Many people laughed because I moved to Bangkok with a suitcase, and came back with a husband, baby, two soi cats and a container full of stuff!
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
The Land of Smiles – Bangkok. The Birth, Health and Wellness industry in Thailand is changing so fast. Once almost unheard of, Doula’s are now so busy they get booked out 6 months in advance. People are starting to understand the power of “women helping women” and “mothering the mother” and the best practitioners are taking it to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, Singapore is great for this too, in fact Singapore is already years ahead of Bangkok, but there is something special about being part of the start of something in Bangkok.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you don’t know the answer, find the answer. Never blag your customers or clients. Always be authentic, say that you will find the answer and always follow through and provide an answer or a resource that can help if you can’t.
Who inspires you?
My best friend in Bangkok. We met when we were pregnant, we gave birth just days apart from each other, we wrangled with being new mums together, helped each other with breastfeeding, we trained together to be Postpartum Doula’s and yet she also holds down a full time job, has had a second baby, helps grow her husband’s business and still manages to support and empower new mums in Bangkok – she is a powerhouse of organisation, empathy and professionalism.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That to exclusively formula feed a baby in Singapore for 1 year will cost between SGD3,000 and SGD5,500 (depending on appetite and brand) – that blew my mind and definitely convinces me that we need to help more mums to breastfeed.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d speak up more – and I speak up a lot so that is a big thing to say! In my corporate career I wish I had called out some inappropriate, and unprofessional, behaviours that were holding women back and in my personal motherhood journey I wish I had asked more questions of my medical team. There’s a fine line leading to true informed consent. I now work with women to ensure they truly understand, and give informed consent to everything, during their pre and postnatal journey.
How do you unwind?
I organise things, and reorganise things, and then reorganise things again. Which means I’m never really as organised as I’d like to be but the process helps me to unwind and recollect.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Ayutthaya – it’s just one hour drive from Bangkok and where I got married, next to the Chao Phraya River. Ayutthaya used to be the capital of the Siamese Kingdom. The city was destroyed in 1767 and was never rebuilt. It remains an extensive archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Whilst this all sounds very serious the area is mesmerizing and so tranquil. Our wedding, set against the backdrop of the Chao Phraya River and Wat Phutthai Sawan, was such a relaxed and amazing day. The cool air next to the river is a great relief from the bustle of Bangkok sometimes, and the fresh river prawns are to die for!
Everyone in business should read this book:
Body of Work – Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together – by Pamela Slim
Shameless plug for your business:
Empowa is a portmanteau of the words Empowerment and Doula. I’m on a mission to nurture, support and guide mums through the fourth trimester, and beyond that to provide them with empowerment and confidence. When a woman gives birth she gives birth to a baby, and a mother. That change in momentum can feel monumental. I help women understand the basics of newborn and postnatal care, and to be the most amazing new version of themselves by combining physical and emotional newborn and postnatal care and consulting.
How can people connect with you?
For day to day tips, and inspirational messages, head over to my Instagram and Facebook pages. I provide more detailed guidance on my website blog at www.empowa.sg. I love to know what topics people are interested in, or would like more info on, so don’t be shy, comment and ask.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favourite podcast platform for ‘CallumConnects‘ to hear a 5-minute daily breakdown.
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built, and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’, and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.