From Copywriter to Content Strategist
While other girls were dreaming of Barbie dolls, Krista’s proudest possession at 11 years old was a second-hand typewriter which she used to type poems and stories that she sent to Starchild, a section in The Star newspaper for children to express themselves. Her submissions were published and this further fuelled her desire to write more!
At 16, she had a firm idea what she wanted to be – a copywriter! Back in the 1980s, her teachers were puzzled because they didn’t know what a copywriter was!
She was unfazed. Armed with her stellar STPM results – 3As and 2Bs – she applied to Universiti Sains Malaysia to study Communication, drawing raised eyebrows from her lecturers because she could have qualified for law. She majored in Journalism because she loved sharing stories. In 2004, Krista returned to her alma mater to study for her Master’s degree in English Language and Linguistics because she was itching for something interesting to do!
After completing her Master’s degree, she felt that the corporate world wasn’t for her because she knew she could do so much more given if she had more control and freedom. As such, she decided to join Nic in the business and directed her strengths in communication towards helping Redbox Studio clients with their content strategy, content planning and content production.
She started without any inkling of what website copywriting was but over the year, she has not only mastered website copywriting but also learnt SEO, web design, digital marketing, branding and more. At present, she is involved in consulting, speaking, training and mentoring besides developing website content for doctors, coaches and consultants.
“My forte is in sharing stories about what businesses do best. It starts with having empathy, being curious and writing with heart so that others who read the story will be more open in doing business with you. This is what copywriting is about – giving people a chance to know, like and trust you. The copywriting and website development work that we’ve done not only shares our clients’ stories but helps to differentiate them too,” Krista says.
“I get cross when I see sloppy language that’s called content on poorly designed websites. People need to respect content because content is powerful and persuasive when done right. The right stories can influence people and help businesses market better!”
What do you do when you can’t find a group to meet your needs? Well, you set one up!
That’s how Krista co-founded WomenBizSENSE in 2006, an association for women entrepreneurs with her good friend, Josephine Yoong. She was its president from 2012 to 2016 and did not seek re-election because she wanted to let other women rise in the organisation as leaders. She, however, remains its adviser.
To this end, Krista was nominated for the Great Women Of Our Time Awards in 2008 organised by The Malaysian Women’s Weekly magazine.
“I’ve always been involved with women and women’s issues, even as an undergraduate when I used to write about women and their work,” Krista acknowledges.
In 2009, after meeting the founder of the Pixel Project, Regina Yau, she spearheaded Redbox Studio’s pro bono involvement in the design and development of the international website for The Pixel Project – a global campaign aimed to raise awareness about violence against women.
Optimist at Heart
Marketing, Tech & Entrepreneurship
She calls herself an “accidental entrepreneur” because she never dreamt of being one! She got into business because she didn’t want to go back into employment after she graduated with her Master’s degree. (Listen to her personal story via her podcast or this bonus episode.)
When she began helping Nic with the business, she realised she enjoyed helping business owners understand what marketing was all about especially online marketing. In no time, organisations started inviting her to speak about marketing, technology and entrepreneurship.
Since 2006, she has spoken to thousands of people at these events:
- 2006 & 2007 KDU College – Speaker
- 2008 Penang Tech Conference – Speaker
- 2011 Global Entrepreneur Week – Panellist
- 2012 MAD Incubator DARE Biz Start – Panellist
- 2012 USM Industry & Community Advisory Panel – Speaker
- 2014 Penang Skills Development Centre Women’s Forum – Moderator
- 2015 Penang Institute Women & Work Forum, Panellist
- 2015 The Incitement, Speaker
- 2016 Piktochart -WebCamp, Speaker
- 2016 INTI University College – MBA class – Speaker
- 2016 Women Entrepreneur ROCK Day – Organising Committee & Moderator
- 2016 Women Entrepreneurship Seminar (under YB Yap Soo Huey/Pulau Tikus) – Speaker
- 2017 Penang Women Chamber of Commerce – Keynote speaker
- 2017 Malaysian Catholic Campus Students’ Day – Speaker
- 2017 Women Entrepreneur Night (Scoopoint) – Speaker
- 2018 KDU Best Business Competition – Judge
- 2018 Startup George Town – Mentor
- 2018 Women In Economy Conference – Organising committee & lead facilitator
- 2018 Startup Stories – Panellist
- 2019 MBA class, INTI University College – Guest lecturer
- 2019 Ecommerce Discussion, Women Netpreneur – Moderator
- 2019 Women leadership workshops for Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Wanita & Keluarga – Facilitator & Module Creator
- 2019 Women leadership workshops for Majlis Pengurusan Komuniti Kampung (MPKK) – Facilitator
- 2019 Training of Trainers for MPKK under Penang Women’s Development Corporation – Trainer
- 2019 Changing Faces Women’s Leadership programme by East-West Center, Hawaii – US scholarship recipient & sole Malaysian representative
- 2019 Women on Boards discussion, Gals With LEI, Hawaii – Moderator
- 2019 WomenBizSENSE Business Mentoring Programme – Mentor
- 2020 – International Association of Business Communicators (Online Event) – Presenter
- 2020 – 2021 Penang Women Entrepreneur Mentoring Programme – Mentor & Programme Advisor
- January 2021 – Virtual Training for Real Estate Agents (CPD Programme) organised by G Institute of Real Estate Sdn Bhd – Trainer
- March 2021 – Workshop for single mothers by Circle of Hope Foundation – Speaker
- March 2021 – International Women’s Day event by Lean In Penang – Panellist
- May 2021 – WomenBizSENSE Virtual Forum: Marketing In the New Norm – Panellist
- June 2021 – WomenBiz Channel by eBizStart – Speaker
- Sept 2021 – Penang Institute – Panellist
- Sept 2021 – Women Netpreneur Programme – Trainer
- Oct 2021 – INTI University College – Guest lecture
- Jan 2022 – Universiti Sains Malaysia, NETHICS Workshop – Speaker
In October 2013, she was among the top 30 women invited to Penang’s first ever Lean In @ Penang, a workshop based on the book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. She became one of the facilitators for the second Lean In @ Penang workshop at Hard Rock Hotel in July 2014 and a Lean In Roundtable observer in October 2014.
She was also privileged to moderate a panel discussion which featured Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir at the Women’s Development Forum organised by the Penang Skills’ Development Centre in September 2014.
In 2016, she co-founded TSN Book Adoption Centre with Nic to prevent good books from being recycled while generating funds for charity. The project has been hailed as a Malaysian success story for other global Tzu Chi chapters to emulate, having raised more than RM200,000 for charity and saving thousands of books from being turned into scrap paper! The project has now been duplicated in Tzu Chi Malacca.
She was also a technical committee member for the first ever Women In Economy Conference 2018 organised by the Penang State Government.
Krista is a board member of the Malaysian chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators and a member of the Malaysian Writers Society. She is a director of Penang Women’s Development Corporation. As a director, she provides input for their women in economy and leadership programmes. She is also an adviser for its strategic communications.
Her story and her work have also been featured in the media. She was interviewed by eHomemakers.net (September 2004), The Malaysian Women’s Weekly magazine (July 2005, August 2009 & September 2012), Guang Ming Daily (March 2011 & July 2012), Malaysian SME (April 2014) and The Borneo Post (January & August 2017) and Penang Monthly (April 2021).
Connect with Krista
Together with Nic, she wrote and published their first book, Web Wisdom in August 2016. The book is currently being updated and revised for its second printing in this year.
Besides business, her (other) pleasure comes from documenting her soup exploits in her soup blog while musing over life at Mayakirana.com. She also speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Taishan and is presently learning Spanish. She did learn German during her university days but has since forgotten much of it!
She once had 14 hamsters, a parakeet and a snob of a cat called Margaret (the cat has since died of old age). Whenever free, she crochets, potters about in her garden or reads books of all genres except horror and sci-fi.
More importantly, she reminds herself daily to stay kind, agile and humble with this quote: “What matters most is who we become when we succeed.”