Shih Lene Kee
A retailer turned social entrepreneur. who loves watching people and observing trends.
As the pandemic set in and a disturbing trend emerged, Shih Lene was spurred on to co found a social enterprise, Abundant Ventures together with her sister, Elene.
Over 2 decades ago, through a very steep learning curve, she helped established the second largest retail watch chain outlet in Malaysia, City Chain, culminating in over 100 retail outlets located in the top shopping malls in Malaysia. But this adventure into retail, had humble beginnings, which started at a little kiosk in a mall called Bukit Bintang Plaza located in the centre of Kuala Lumpur where she first started wholesaling an Italian watch brand. This led Shih Lene to travel all over Malaysia as a watch wholesaler, including the border towns in the Northern part of Malaysia, which were truly an eye-opener. Following that stint, she served as a retail consultant for the optical chain Optical 88 in Malaysia. Then she jumped on a very unique opportunity to work in the founding team of CITTA Mall, designing from scratch the strip mall concept of CITTA Mall right up to its launch, operations and its eventual sale to a regional REIT. Over that period of almost one decade, sitting on the same side as the mall owner (as opposed to her previous role as a retailer), she came to appreciate the many moving parts that business owners have to take on and the enormous risks they assume whilst providing much-needed jobs for the economy as the work at CITTA began as the global financial crisis of 2008 emerged. Currently, Shih Lene actively serves as the Head of her family office, KeeGroup Sdn Bhd where she pays particular attention to the family coconut farm located in Malacca, which has recently been digitised.
Given all her experience in the world of business, Shih Lene was an active member at the Entrepreneur's Organisation, Malaysian chapter and a committee member of BBKLCC Tourism Association, which represents the top performing malls in Malaysia.
However, the world of the non-profit was never far, having worked on a dozen or so fundraisers including, Straits Chinese Porcelain an award-winning coffee table book, Wushu Federation Malaysia as well as serving as a Ladies golf committee member at the Royal Selangor Golf Club.
Lawyer turned social entrepreneur, based mainly in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, she loves developing new ideas, looking at areas where she can make an impact and empowering people.
When the pandemic struck, Elene's journey as a social entrepreneur, really began. Farmers in the highlands of Malaysia, were throwing away their fresh produce as a result of multiple lockdowns, yet at the same time, the soup kitchens in the city of Kuala Lumpur were getting longer as people lost jobs and struggled to make ends meet. This triggered the rebirth of Abundant Ventures, as a social enterprise, whose social mission it is, to Grow Livelihoods, sustainably.
Years earlier Elene had worked in key management positions across industries in education - PRIME College, property, retail - City Chain, shopping mall development - CITTA Mall, as well as a corporate lawyer.
She now serves as an independent director on the board of Can- One Berhad, a public listed company on the Malaysian Stock Exchange and one of Southeast Asia’s largest packaging manufacturers. She had also served on its subsidiary board, Kian Joo Can Factory Berhad.
Since 2017 she has served as Advisor to Roots & Shoots Malaysia, the NGO founded by the iconic Dame Dr Jane Goodall. Here, she co-developed, 2 nationwide programs, Roots & Shoots Malaysia Award and Project EcoWira.
She read law at the University of Nottingham, UK and had a short stint at INSEAD Singapore, Executive Finance Program. She is especially proud that every year since 1987, the “Kee Prize” in Economics continues to be awarded at Marlborough College, UK, where she did her Sixth form. But she has always felt, her main education came in her early years as a National swimmer where her daily trainings began at 5am!