Born into a family of business magnates — their father, Chatchai Jiaravanon is the managing director of Group Investment and executive director of True Corporation, while their mother, Kwanjai, is the current chairwoman of entertainment company CK United — siblings Chayuda “Nina” and Chaval “Richie” Jiaravanon are resolutely committed to forging their own paths. And so far, it seems they are well on their way to succeeding — Nina is currently a full-fledged private banker at UBS Singapore, while her brother Richie is CEO of his own edutech startup Snapask Thailand.
Passionate, determined and kind, the dynamic duo credit their personal values to an invaluable upbringing and family influences. Prestige meets the siblings to talk New Year’s resolutions, success, and the importance of family.
Discipline and success go hand in hand.
While the cliche goes “work hard, play harder”, Nina prefers to abide by her own axiom — “work first, play when deserved.” An impressive — if not surprisingly serious — work-ethic for someone in her 20s, Nina credits her parents’ influence for her strong sense of discipline. “My mum was strict — which, in hindsight, was a good thing. She would make us sleep at a certain time, practice piano, do our homework. She also made sure we had proper table manners, knew how to speak politely and treat others with respect and kindness — not taking things for granted. They both have guided me to become who I am today.”
Her parents didn’t rub off on Nina alone. Richie’s family members were also his childhood heroes. “My role models growing up were my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Being fortunate enough to be born into a successful family means that there are countless role models to aspire to and all of them are more than happy to share what they’ve learned,” he says.
In life, balance is important.
Despite her career-comes-first attitude, Nina believes in the importance of living a healthy and happy lifestyle. “Work hard, and reward yourself for the hard work; prioritise important things and practice good time management; always make time for yourself — even with a busy schedule; and allocate time for exercise.”
This positive outlook could have been influenced by her upbringing — one that instilled important values, but did not forget the importance of fun. She remembers a childhood spent on road trips with her family. “We would always embark on new adventures during the summer — white water rafting, sailing, bodyboarding. It served as a constant reminder to continue to be curious of new things, to try new experiences, and the importance of family.”
Take the time to explore, and find what you’re passionate about.
Richie describes growing up in his family as an “interesting experience,” — in a fortunate way. “Both my sister and I were incredibly blessed to have supportive parents who were very open-minded; they never told us what we had to become or do with our lives. Rather, they would suggest us to try anything and everything. My track record is an example of this, as I grew up playing baseball, ice hockey, alto sax, tennis, etc.”
Nina has also had her fair share of exploring. She’s interned at several fashion houses — the likes of Christian Dior, Zac Posen and Jil Sander — experiencing first-hand what it was like to work in different jobs. “I had to do sales management, run samples to photoshoots, pack samples for magazines, whatever they wanted me to do.” Having gone from fashion to the world of banking through internships at Bangkok Bank SIP and Phatra Securities, and her first position at Credit Suisse, today she works as a private banker at UBS Singapore. What drew her to this? “I love that as a private banker it’s not only investment management you handle for clients, but you can also help them with other aspects such as succession planning and philanthropy. I enjoy meeting new people (colleagues from different backgrounds as well as clients), expanding my network of people, learning the stories of successful clients, and listening to clients’ needs and then finding comprehensive solutions to meet their demands.”
Live life to the fullest.
In their family, Richie says there’s a saying that goes, “in life you have two choices. If you go out and play today, they will become your dreams by tomorrow. If you go out and plant a seed today, by tomorrow you will begin to see sprouts.”
He remembers certain experiences that changed his perspective on things. “My grandmother passed away when I was quite young and it was a coming-of-age moment for me. It was the first time in my life that I realised that not everyone is going to be around forever. Going to boarding school in America also opened up my limited world view. Meeting people from around the world really gave me a new perspective on how large and diverse everything is.”
Don’t be afraid to dream big.
Nina’s New Year’s resolutions are in a way, much like her approach to life — goal-oriented, driven, and full of genuine warmth. “I want to pick up a new skill,” she says, “be more mindful of everything I do, and spend more time with my family.” If she were able to see into the future, she admits hoping to see three things: “To be successful at my job, to have a warm and loving family, and to give back to society.”
For the dynamic brother and sister duo, leaving a positive impact makes up a large part of what they want to achieve. Richie describes his edutech business as similar to “the Uber of tutoring” — they’ve already launched in 10 different countries and have around 1.2 million student users. “Realistically, I want to become the CEO of a large multinational company,” he explains, “[one] that makes people’s lives better on a big scale.”
Photographer: Vatcharasith Wichyanrat
Stylist: Pisit Jirathadaphan
Makeup Artist: Sukhon Srimarattanakul
Hair Stylist: Narongsak Yiamlaengamkool
Editorial Coordinator: Rattanachai Chaipornsantikul
Venue: The Sukhothai Bangkok
Jewellery: Beauty Gems
Read the full interview with Nina and Richie in the January issue of Prestige, available from all leading bookstores in Thailand.