News and Insights

#FINNFam Friday | Meet Naeema Ismail

June 24, 2022

What would be your splurge meal and at what restaurant?

Oh man, this is tough because my top meal and restaurant vary, depending on the chef and recipes I’ve been reading, watching, or listening to last. The older I get, the deeper is my appreciation and fascination for heritage cuisine – food interwoven with our own personal histories, cultures and memories. I love how our cuisines contribute and help us communicate within our communities and across many cultures and geographies. I’m especially fond of food from my upbringing which is a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines due to my mixed heritage and the interwoven cultures of Singapore I grew up in the 70s and 80s. So, with that in mind, my current splurge meal would be at a local modern Indian restaurant in Singapore called Thevar, which champions South Indian flavors in new and ethnically adventurous forms.

What is the one principle that has guided your life and career?

I was reminded of this by a dear friend recently: “People don’t necessarily remember what you say but they’ll always remember how you make them feel.”

What was the most recent book you enjoyed?

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, by Adam Grant. I’ve completed it three times in the last few months! I’m now trying to tear myself from Adam Grant’s books and start on Humankind: A Hopeful History, by Rutger Bregman, which a team member recently gave me.

Which news sites/outlets do you check regularly?

My top favorites for a cover-to-cover read are Fast Company, WIRED (US edition) and Esquire (US edition). On weekdays, I go through the daily digests from Bloomberg, South China Morning Post and Nikkei Asia before diving deeper online and going over local news dailies.

Who in history would you like to have dinner with (you can name up to four people)?

  • Naomi Osaka – for her bravery and her spirit.
  • Fatboy Slim (aka Norman Cook) – so we can have great tunes while we talk.
  • Adam Grant – because I’m a fangirl.
  • Taika Waititi – for fodder in the latest Thor movie and he’s wickedly funny.