Cover Brett Bayly, Rosalynn Tay, Marc Nicholson

The whisky brand and Tatler Dining Singapore held a fireside chat with these two mavericks to learn about pursuing passions and overcoming challenges

While it’s easy to stay within the boundaries of what we are comfortable with, amazing opportunities and experiences await when we step out of our comfort zone. With that in mind, Glenfiddich launched the Where Next Club, a campaign that seeks to encourage everyone to venture beyond their comfort and embrace the unknown in pursuit of a more creative and purposeful life.

It is a movement that is close to Glenfiddich’s heart, explains Brett Bayly, the regional brand ambassador in Southeast Asia who elaborated that “being the World's Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky says a lot about how much we constantly push ourselves to be better”.

He added: “We believe everyone possesses this maverick spirit—one that inspires them to always look at ways to improve and aim for the next stage in their personal and professional growth.”

That said, Glenfiddich and Tatler Dining Singapore held an intimate fireside chat with two mavericks at private member's club, 1880—society friend Rosalynn Tay, a former journalist and ballroom dancer who found a new calling in professional photography, and Marc Nicholson, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of 1880. The two are now at the peak of their careers, but both admitted that getting there wasn’t without hardships.

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Pursuing Passions

Tay’s love for photography stemmed from wanting to do something meaningful in life. “What’s the next chapter?”, she recalled asking herself after her daughter moved to the UK to study, which is why she took up ballroom dancing. However, a knee injury forced her to “take up another hobby” and a Leica point-and-shoot camera gift from a friend introduced her to the world of photography.

Not to be deterred by her advanced age (she was already in her 40s back then), she took up a one-year photography course in Paris, France and learned from notable fashion photographers. “I was the oldest student in class,” admitted Tay, who let on that the technical part of photography such as Photoshop editing was the most frustrating.

But her fierce spirit and competitive nature paid off, and she was able to excel and catch up with her younger classmates. Now, she is a well-known personality in the local photography scene and has showcased her works at photo exhibitions.

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Overcoming Challenges

Success didn’t come easy for Nicholson as well; in fact, there was a point in his life where he was disowned by his parents, went to prison and was completely broke that he “took the tobacco from used cigarettes and rolled up a new one”. Giving up wasn’t an option though, so he worked odd jobs to put himself through university. 

While he started his career as a grassroots worker in the field of international justice across Europe, a stint in Cyprus where he coached its national squash team on the side made him realise that his current job wasn't a "lifelong satisfying pursuit". He wanted to understand the world of business more, so he went to business school to be more "effective and rise to another level".

This was the turning point in his career which led him to open businesses and acquire companies while working for VC funds and dot-com companies. Throughout his successes and failures, he never stopped dreaming of creating a hybrid space where fascinating people could come together and connect. This led to the opening of private members' club, 1880, we know today.

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Celebrating with a Dram

Tay and Nicholson’s journeys of self-discovery and embracing the unknown are the embodiment of Glenfiddich’s Where Next Club. As Bayly reiterated, Glenfiddich has always had a maverick spirit since it was established in 1887, and it was first Scotch whisky brand to export commercial quantities of single malt.

The session ended with a whisky tasting session, and guests were able to try the exquisite Glenfiddich Our Original Twelve and Glenfiddich Our Solera Fifteen. "The 12 Year Old is a good introduction to the world of single malts, and it boasts fresh apples and pear notes... the key flavours of Glenfiddich" explained Bayly, while the Solera Fifteen is much more mellow but it has a spiciness that comes through. With that, we raised a toast.

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