Trained as a graphic designer, Sophia Ho never imagined that today she would be managing Vintedge, a digital marketing and system integration company.
Contributed By Reuel Eugene Tay
Set up in 2001 by Sophia Ho and her brother Boon Peng, with a shareholder, Stanley Mak who joined a year later, Vintedge (Singapore) Pte Ltd is a recognized digital marketing and system integration company boasting a regional staff strength of over 80 people in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Vintedge’s clientele list spans Canon, Samsung, Esplanade, DHL, Singtel, HSBC, Pizza Hut and many other big names. Out of Vintedge (Singapore) sprang forth Vintedge Malaysia, Bounche Indonesia, Vintedge Technologies, Hues Communications, vBox Asia, each specializing in a different spectrum of the IT industry under the Vintedge umbrella.
As acting director, Ho manages the human resource, business development, accounts management and servicing of clients among many other things.
Retracing her steps, Ho determines, “God has led me every step of the way. I never really planned for my career nor sent out my resume after graduating from Temasek Polytechnic in 1994. There was a vacancy for a graphic designer in a company, I showed my portfolio and they took me in.” In between the five-year period spent working for the company, Ho also enrolled herself into City Harvest School Of Theology.
In 1999, Ho was asked by her brother to help him in a new Internet technology startup, which he had collaborated on with his friends. Despite having no IT background or working experience, Ho threw in her lot with the company as she wanted to support her brother. Two years later, Ho was again asked by her brother to venture into a new partnership, this time just between the two of them. And thus, Vintedge was born.
However, this also marked the beginning of many trials and setbacks that the siblings had to face before reaching their current success today. In debt and practically unknown in an industry that relies very much on reputation and branding, the two of them took on as many projects as they could, painstakingly building up the portfolio and brand name of the company, job by job. Their journey was a rollercoaster ride filled with the highs of breaking new ground and lows that included financial shortage and losing employees to bigger companies.
Ho divulged, “[In our initial years], clients had little confidence in us. As such our quotations to clients were much lower than what the industry charged, yet at the same time we needed to work very hard. Our next major challenge was dealing with high staff turnover. Back then, there weren’t many talents within the industry. Only fresh grads were willing to join us, and many left us after we trained them. There was even a designer who, after leaving, set up his own company using our portfolio!”
The stress of those early years took a toll on Ho. “One night when I was sleeping, I heard many voices in my head, but I was very tired physically so I told myself to ignore it. Suddenly, I felt that if I didn’t wake up the next moment, I would become insane because of the stress. So I quickly got up and started to worship God, singing the song, “Jesus Loves Me (This I Know),” the only song I could think of at that point of time. Only after the feeling of peace came upon me did I go back to sleep.
When I woke up, [I felt] God tell me, ‘This will not happen again because I will increase My grace in your life.’ If you want God’s grace to increase in your life, then you have to take on something bigger than yourself.”
Slowly, the business began to pick up as more and more companies started coming to them through word-of-mouth. One of their clients, Pizza Hut, has been with them since 2003 and Vintedge has done multiple revamps for their website.
“The Christian values I learned in church such as ‘Turn your stumbling block into your stepping stone’ helped me a lot. Even though my pay was low back then, I always reminded myself that I don’t work for man, I work for God. God is my Boss, so He will definitely be my rewarder. This attitude has helped me a lot: it has driven me to give good performance, keep a good attitude at work and work hard to be a problem solver because I’m working for God,” Ho explained.
Ho first came to CHC on May 29, 1993 and never looked back. Her life in church was just as exciting as her career: she served in the usher, choir and counseling ministries before becoming a cell group leader for six years. Ho married Timothy Wong in 2005 and last year, they had their first child, Owen Enoch.
Ho thanks God for guiding her unerringly throughout her life. “I’m only a diploma holder, and all this while I have never looked for a job [after graduating from TP]. I know that God has been leading me in my career right from the beginning to where I am today. If it’s not for God, my education and work experience would not have enabled me to run a business in Singapore with 40 staff. He has been guiding me all this while. There is a vision God has placed in my heart, which is to use my experience to help smaller setups and I would serve as a consultant to help them because I know it is not easy starting out.”
Moving forward, Ho envisions Vintedge becoming an integrated solutions hub providing integrated marketing and communications solutions. “In my opinion, I do not believe that web and mobile marketing will dominate it all. I believe that marketing is a holistic approach. My direction for Vintedge is to have a presence in all the different aspects of marketing, be it above- or below-the-line, or even events, so that we can provide more holistic solutions to our clients and do bigger projects in the future.”
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