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When her ability failed to clinch deals, this business graduate used her sex appeal, and slept with people in power to get promotions.
Now an MNC vice-president, she says brains and hard work are not enough
Get real. Sex to help push sales or seal contracts happens.
The reason is simple, says this vice-president of a multi-national corporation: It is easier to secure a contract with people who find you physically attractive.
Nora, who spoke on condition of anonymity, is in her early 40s, but looks barely 30.
At 1.67m tall and with vital stats of 36-26-36, she is also pretty and witty.
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Her eyes are seductive and she carries herself with confidence.
Nora says: "It comes with the years (of practice and experience). Now, I don't even have to fake being sexy."
She is blunt and is likely to be one of a few with such liberal and mercenary views on sex and climbing up the corporate ladder.
Three women are under siege after being implicated in a sex-for-contracts case with former Singapore Civil Defence Force chief Peter Lim Sin Pang, who was charged in court on Wednesday on 10 counts of corruption.
Referring to the way she looks, Nora says: "You know what? People listen. And they buy whatever I'm selling. Whether it's a product or a concept, or even an idea."
Nora, who owns a supercar and a luxury car, adds: "Seriously, show me an ugly, successful sales executive and I'd line up 20 gorgeous and more successful women just with a snap of a finger.
"And before your readers whack me, they should ask themselves, how often have they seen a cute guy or girl and gone, 'Okay, what he or she is selling, I'm buying'."
She was not always so cynical or liberal.
Nora claims that when she started out as a marketing executive in an advertising firm at 20, she was "all young, innocent and stupid".
The business administration graduate says: "I'd dress up in three-piece suits and fully cover my body when I went for sales pitches.
"I thought that if I used my brains to sell, it would impress potential clients."
But Nora gradually concluded that "it was never going to be the case", considering that most decision-makers are men.
She flips through an album that shows photos of her from the past.
"See this prim and proper image? I still remember what my boss told me during our pep talk," she says.
It was her third month - "almost near the end of my probation period" - when she had secured "only a miserable two out of 60 sales pitches".
"He asked if I had really looked at myself in the mirror each morning.
"He also asked if I knew why he hired me in the first place."
And this was a boss that everyone described as "the perfect gentleman, the ideal husband and a wonderful dad".
Says Nora: "Here's a decent family man, who's looking at me with less than decent interest and telling me, 'I didn't hire you to be my children's matronly nanny. I hired you because you have this sexual allure.'
"My jaw dropped. I wasn't even sure if I'd heard him correctly until he ended the talk with, 'To put it bluntly, I'd like to get in bed with you, if you're willing. Or if you're not, then go work your charms on the right men or you can just quit'."
Four months after she first had sex with her marketing director in exchange for a premium clientele list, Nora was promoted to head of her team.
A year later, she was offered the position of senior associate.
Doesn't that make her more like a prostitute?
Wouldn't there be more pride working your way up using your own talents?
Nora says cynically: "Sure, we can reject the indecent proposals and walk away, but think about it, if all it takes is just that one move... Why act all chaste and innocent?"
Still, Nora turned down the offer of senior associate and moved on to a car company to become its regional deputy vice-president of sales.
She says: "I left the first firm with my director's blessings and I knew it was also because he had his eyes set on another newbie."
Nora admits that she has no qualms about using her looks, her smile or even her body to advance her career.
"Come on, don't tell me that I can get to the top with just sheer hard work," she maintains.
"Of course I don't go to every sales appointment dressed like a prostitute with a come-hither look. I do my homework, find out more about the potential client and decide on what works best."
She adds: "Sex is a convenient tool of exchange. I'd use it when necessary. Not everyone is into sex. For such clients, I showcase my natural talent - intelligence and wit."
Nora quickly adds, as if to underscore her intelligence: "By the way, I've acquired two postgraduate degrees, one in economics and the other in business."
It is also not a big deal whether the client is married or even if the client is a woman.
Nora claims: "I had a brief fling with a lesbian client and she took me to my position here today."
She declines to elaborate, but would only say that she and that client are now good friends.
"Not in the sexual sense though," she adds.
Nora, who is dating "someone out of the sales line", does not discuss work with her boyfriend.
Doesn't she feel guilty being so flippant about sex?
What about being faithful to him?
"I don't care if he knows. At most, he'd walk out of the relationship. It would not be the end of the world," she says.
"I have my job. I am cash-rich and debt-free. I own three properties and, well, I can go anywhere I want without being dependent on anyone, much less a man."