New network for corporate leaders to help provide support and mentorship

Managing director of EDB Jacqueline Poh giving the welcome speech at the launch of SG Leaders Network, on July 15, 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - A new network for corporate leaders was launched on Friday (July 15) to help equip Singaporean leaders with skills to navigate an increasingly complex business environment.

One key aim of the Singapore Leaders Network (SGLN), launched by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI), is to help expose Singaporeans to overseas opportunities.

It will bring people at different stages of their careers together for them to leverage on one another's experiences, and help to organise activities such as dialogues and workshops.

Speaking at the launch of the network at One Farrer Hotel, managing director of EDB Jacqueline Poh said business leaders have had to cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, such as supply chain disruptions and rising inflation.

It is in times like these that leadership in the business community will make a difference, and experience, exposure and strong networks are necessary to help tackle these uncertain times.

While Singaporeans have most of the right attributes, more will need to take on overseas postings to become global leaders, she added.

"This is an area where we still have a long way to go. Companies that we deal with at EDB are telling us that doing a tour of duty in key markets overseas is necessary to progress upwards in the company," Ms Poh said, adding that there is still reluctance to take on such work.

The network includes the SGLN Mentoring Programme, which will pair participants with more established corporate leaders. These include local senior executives who hold positions in Singapore companies and multinational corporations, or foreigners who are based here.

There are currently 21 Singaporean and three foreign mentors.

The programme will take place over six to nine months, with mentors expected to commit to at least three meetings with their mentees. There are no fees involved.

HCLI will track the progress of these meet-ups.

The SGLN currently has about 250 members, most of whom are professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). They come from aerospace, finance, healthcare, tourism, supply chain, tech and semiconductor firms.

About one third have less than five years of leadership experience while another one-third have between five and 10 years. The remainder have more than 10 years of leadership experience, including regional and global responsibilities.

These members also have job titles that span from more junior roles, such as managers, to more senior ones such as chief financial officers or managing directors.

Fireside chat with Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry Alvin Tan at the launch of SG Leaders Network, on July 15, 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

There are no strict restrictions on age and career stage to join the SGLN, although those who would like to join as a mentee will need to be Singaporean.

One of the mentors for the programme is Mr Rajan Krishnakumar, a vice-president and people business partner of international markets at payments giant Mastercard.

Having worked in India besides Singapore, he hopes to be able to share his experiences in navigating cultural nuances in different workplaces.

He said: "I think I can share my international multicultural experiences and help individuals get out of their comfort zone, or think about ways that they can broaden their horizons."

Also present at the launch was Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan, who shared about how he had benefited from mentorship, such as while at Goldman Sachs, a global company that provides a range of financial services.

Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, said: "There is peer mentoring, and there is also reverse mentoring. I learn from junior colleagues all the time.

"I think SGLN is a wonderful platform for those in different stages of their career to keep the conversation open and to identify mentors who you think can help you in your careers."

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