As a youngster Yoauvaluk Piyasombatkul, managing director of Piyasombat Property, had no thoughts of a career in the property sector. In fact, as a child her nascent aspiration was to one day be able to take care of her loved ones, an early calling that inspired her to study pharmacy. But it was towards the end of her third year at Chulalongkorn University that she began to doubt her decision.
“I started to feel that a life in pharmacy wouldn’t really suit me and shifted my interests towards management,” she says. It was this change of heart that led to an MBA in finance at Clark University in the United States followed by a year at Bangkok Bank’s loan office in Malaysia.
The Piyasombatkul family, which owns Metro-Ply Group, one of Southeast Asia’s largest wood-based panel manufacturers, only got into the property game in 1998. “My family acquired Vongvanij Building A [now called the Vorasombat Building] during the financial crisis,” Yoauvaluk explains. The youngest of Voravit and I-Yee’s five children, she was assigned to this project. “It was my first introduction to the industry,” says Yoauvaluk, who today manages the entire property arm of the family business.
With a portfolio spanning offices for rent, apartments and hotels, Yoauvaluk says that her favourite project to date is Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road. “I think that is because it was the first building that we constructed ourselves and the first hotel that we worked on. Whatever is undertaken for the first time is always a challenge, but to see it thrive and receive so many awards in its two years of operation has been very rewarding,” she smiles.
Piyasombat Property has many more projects in the pipeline, including an upscale mixed-use development on Sois Langsuan and Tonson planned for a 65-storey building that will comprise of a sixstar hotel, a serviced apartment, an office-forrent building and retail spaces.
Yoauvaluk reveals that her greatest source of motivation is her late father, Voravit. “Because he started his business from scratch, my father had to go through so many challenges before he became successful. When I feel discouraged about work, I will always remind myself of his struggles and how lucky we, his children, really are. He was also an incredibly compassionate person who loved helping other people—he taught me so much about the importance of kindness.”
Family comes first for Yoauvaluk. “My number one priority is to take the best care of my mother,” she tells us. She and her four siblings are also very close. “No one will ever love you as much as your family. Every time one of us encounters a problem, we know that we can always rely on each other for advice and encouragement,” she smiles. Work is the second most important thing in life and she believes that success is measured by one’s accomplishments. “Then, of course, comes friendship. In addition to my family, my friends are people I can always turn to for support. They keep me level-headed.”
On her days off the single lady likes to unwind by going on a shopping spree and updating herself on industry trends by visiting new places of attractions. “It has become a passion of mine to be on the lookout for new restaurants and to explore new hotels,” she says. So, what is on her dream to-do list? “I am excited that I’m going to scratch Bali off the list soon. Apart from that, in the future I would love to open a resort in Phuket or Pattaya, as well as a development in the central business district.”
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