Linda Loo (BBA 2000)
As an alumna from BBA 2000, Linda Loo’s working life since graduation has been an inspiring journey but not because she overcame hardship to attain financial success as a bank executive as she originally intended. It is inspiring because she overcame a life-changing health crisis that challenged her perception of “well-being”, leading her down a new path in life and inspiring her to start her own company called Light, Love, Laughter Academy.
An early working life
Linda has been independent ever since she left home at 14 after her parents’ separation. Her situation gave her a desire to achieve success through a strong education. However, with little money to support her studies, she worked to earn what she could from any part-time job available to students, as she related: “When I knew there was no money to support me in my studies at home, I made up my mind to work for it myself.” At NUS Business School, she could work during the day, study all night, take examinations and then go to work afterwards. Work helped her pay for books, food and lodging.
Focused on attaining financial success
Her desire to be financially successful led her to conduct Internet searches on which industry had the highest-paying jobs, which was the banking industry, and this influenced her to enter the NUS BBA program from 1997 to 2000. Upon graduating, she began work as a bank executive and within three years, she was making three times the income of her peers.
Life in the fast lane
Linda finally had the money and lifestyle that she could only dream about as a young teen. Money brought shopping excursions, expensive meals, hard alcohol and anything else she desired.
Her working life was equally excessive, as she would go without sleep for days while sustaining herself on cigarettes and junk food. When the stress of her job and life eventually caught up with her, she would drink hard liquor every other night she didn’t work.
Health crisis due to a fast lifestyle
When Linda turned 26, she became sick not just on a physical level, but on an emotional one as well. Her lifestyle led to problems with her menstrual cycle. After being prescribed hormone pills for her condition, she developed eczema, a persistent skin condition that made her life insufferable. “The rashes were a source of torture and agony through many nights,” Linda recalls, “and not long after my diagnosis, I learned that I had liver damage as well.”
Just as she had researched which profession to pursue, Linda investigated the relationship between beauty, skin health and internal health to find answers for her condition. Her research led her to the conclusion that diet played a key role in beauty and health.
She discovered the concept of “living” or “raw” foods, which are fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds that are uncooked, leaving their full nutritional value intact. Adopting this diet, she noticed that her skin improved, her hair was more lustrous and her energy level was higher. The diet also improved her mental clarity and consciousness.
The health “alarm bell” that rang during her health crisis led her to discover raw foods, but it also reminded her of the health dangers she averted. “I am saddened to say that I have friends who lived the hedonistic lifestyle”, Linda says, “who are now battling life-threatening diseases like cancer.”
Spreading her health message through business
Raw foods not only impacted her health but her business pursuits as well. She trained as a raw gourmet chef in Boston with Alyssa Cohen, become a raw foods teacher and coach. As she explains: “When I experienced the phenomenal healing that my body went through with living foods, I felt that it would be irresponsible of me to keep the secret to myself.”
Upon coming back to Singapore in 2006, she made it her mission to teach people about the mental and physical health benefits of raw foods. From teaching classes at her condominium to her block neighbors to having celebrities like Wong Li Lin in attendance, her journey has been one success after another.
With the creation of the Light, Love, Laughter Academy, she hopes to grow an entire community of health-conscious individuals who will lead happy and vibrant lives. With a location at Cluny Court and plans for additional locations, Linda is looking ahead to empowering others to take their health into their own hands.