Leadership for
the Greater Good

Columbia University Club of Singapore, SIPA Alumni Community of Singapore, Yale-NUS Social Emotional Leadership Club, Lien Centre for Social Innovation. Network partner: Harvard University Association of Alumni in Singapore
SMU Administration Building, Level 6
16 September, 2017
1:30pm - 5:30pm
$35 (Regular), $15 (Student)
Registration is closed.

We face various crises today:  

  • Schools may not set us up to live joyful, meaningful and fulfilling lives.
  • Work can be dispiriting and disengaging to many.
  • Organisations sometimes value money above human and planetary wellbeing.

All these create stress and disillusionment, impacting the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of individuals, their families and the wider community.

It is time for us to rethink how we live, lead and learn. In this experiential half-day event, we have invited speakers from diverse industries - law, finance, food and beverage, nonprofit and education – who each break the norm in empowering ways and lead successfully by serving the greater good.

We believe in leadership that begins from Being – who you are comes before, and eventually guides what you do.

The core tenets of the leadership we believe in are:  

Self-leadership - We exercise power over our own lives and choices. We overcome and grow from adversity. 

Relational leadership - We lead others with love. We are committed to their growth and wellbeing as whole human beings. 

Mission-based Leadership -  We serve the greater good. We make positive change in our spheres of influence.

If our vision for a more hopeful and inspired world draws you, come join us and meet others who are similarly attracted to it. Your presence would be a gift. 


16 September 2017

Venue: Singapore Management University Administration Building, Level 6, University Lounge

1.00 – Registration

1.25 – Please be seated

1.30 to 1.40 - Opening remarks

1.40 to 2.25 - First panel

Wong Zhi Ying (Yale-NUS Social Emotional Leadership Club), Renee Xavier (Alpha & Omega Law Corporation), Jonathan Chang (Lien Centre for Social Innovation)

2.25 to 2.45 – Question and answer

2.45 to 2.55 - Go to workshop rooms

2.55 to 3.45 – Concurrent workshops

3.45 to 4.20 - Tea break

4.20 to 5.05 – Second panel

Fu Yong Hong (Green Dot), Sherena Loh (Muscular Dystrophy Association Singapore), Vadivu Govind (Joy Works)

5.05 to 5.25 – Question and answer

5.25 to 5.35 - Close

After costs have been covered, ticket fees will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore) whose mission is to maximise the quality of life of people with Muscular Dystrophy and their families, to integrate them into society and support research towards a cure. MDAS has been awarded the Charity Transparency Award from The Charity Council.




Speaker: Wong Zhi Ying

Title and Organisation: Founder, Yale-NUS Social Emotional Leadership Club

Title of Sharing: Leadership From The Heart

Description of Sharing: What can heartbreak teach us about leadership? Leadership begins from the heart. Only when our hearts are healthy, open and loving, can we continue to dream, hope and inspire the people the around us. Much of life is about the curveballs that come our way — tragedy, betrayal, hurt, injustice, loss, heartbreak — but it is also in how we choose to respond, that shapes us into the leaders we become. In this sharing, Zhi Ying journeys with the audience through a season of loss and heartbreak in her life, and how she found strength, renewal, and a firm commitment to love and service.

Bio: Zhi Ying believes that every season in life is here to teach us something. She has been blessed with amazing people in her life, who have shown her the sheer power of love and vulnerability. She strives to do all things in love, compassion and service.

A proud student of Yale-NUS, she is heavily involved in community building and leadership development work both in the college and beyond. Seeing the need for authentic living and purposeful leadership in youths today, she founded the Yale-NUS Social Emotional Leadership Club. The club aims to build up the social and emotional competencies of youths by designing and facilitating transformative experiences that enhance emotional awareness, empathy, and powerful leadership.

Zhi Ying loves people and aspires to be a life coach someday.


Speaker: Renee Xavier

Title: Founder and Director, Alpha & Omega Law Corporation

Title of Sharing: Dignity in the Workplace

Description of Sharing: Renee says: "If the Dignity of each human being is the basis of all my actions and reactions , I would have achieved my purpose in life. This is what I strive to achieve on a daily basis.” Over the last 14 years, Renee has grown her own firm from an office that she resented stepping into (despite being the owner of it) to one that she looks forward to each day. Conscious decisions rooted on ensuring the dignity of her colleagues, clients and her own dignity made this happen. She strives daily  to continue to keep this environment where there is gratitude, goodness, kindness, transparency, loyalty and good communication.  Renee will share her growth as a leader and more about creating such a culture.

Bio : Renee Xavier is the founder and director of Alpha & Omega Law Corporation, a Singapore law firm specialising in Intellectual Asset law since 2003, with offices in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Renee has 24 years of experience in civil, commercial, real estate, property, banking and corporate law.

In 2017, Renee was recognised as one of the world’s leading IP strategists when she was presented the prestigious IAM Strategy 300 award by Globe Business Media Group.

Renee is passionate about helping clients commercialise and capitalise on their IP assets to generate revenue and achieve sustainable growth.

She also teaches at IP Academy Singapore, National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University.


Speaker: Jonathan Chang

Title and Organization: Executive Director, Lien Centre for Social Innovation

Workshop: Living a Mission Driven Live

Description of Sharing: Jonathan will talk about building a winning organisational culture. He will share how focusing on the Lien Centre for Social Innovation's culture has led to positive, significant and long-lasting results, and will share some thoughts and tips on steps leaders can take to positively influence organisational culture.

Bio: Jonathan is the Executive Director of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation at Singapore Management University. He pioneered Ashoka Changemaker Campus recognition for SMU, the first university in Asia to be accredited.

Jonathan founded and co-founded four startups in Silicon Valley and Manhattan, and has mentored and invested in social enterprises in Southeast Asia. His passion for social entrepreneurship and impact investing brought him to Rwanda, England, New Zealand, India, and Indonesia, and he has written papers and case studies for Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and SMU.

Jonathan graduated from UC Berkeley, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Harvard Kennedy School.


Speaker: Sherena Loh

Title and Organisation: Co-Founder and Executive Director, Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore)

Title of Sharing: Transforming Adversity to Higher Purpose

Description of Sharing: Sherena will share about how her journey with muscular dystrophy led her to her purpose, inviting us to consider how we can find beauty in brokenness in our own lives and use that to be of greater service.  She will also share about what she has learned from leading a successful movement for people with disabilities.

Bio: Sherena Loh is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore) (MDAS). She is a wheelchair-user because she has muscular dystrophy.

Sherena was once told that she would not live beyond 25 years old. But her heart proved stronger than her muscles. She has been volunteering with disability organisations and involved with government agencies for 20 years, transforming the quality of life for people with disabilities in Singapore.

Sherena holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Counselling and Community Work) from Edith Cowan University, Australia, as well as a Diploma of Family Life Education and a Diploma in Business Administration.


Speaker: Fu Yong Hong

Title and Organisation:  Co-founder, Green Dot

Title of Sharing: A People-Focused Culture & Organisation

Description of Sharing: Fu Yong Hong will share about the culture of love, care and hope he has painstakingly built at Green Dot. This is significant in the Food and Beverage industry which faces labour issues and where workers' lives can be challenging. He will also share how his mission and leadership approach have helped him successfully grow an award-winning organisation which employees value working in.

Bio: Under-30 entrepreneur, Fu Yong Hong is co-founder of Green Dot, a vegetarian health-food chain which has eight outlets in Singapore.  Green Dot was selected as the overall winner for being the most promising brand at the Singapore Prestige Brand Award 2016. It has also been awarded a May Day award in 2017 for supporting NTUC's initiative to build a conducive culture and taking good care of their staff and constantly growing them. Yong Hong started Green Dot when he was studying Business Administration at the National University of Singapore without any Food and Beverage experience.


Speaker: Isabel Vadivu Govind

Title and Organisation: Founder and Catalyst, Joy Works

Workshop: Relate as a Positively Energising Leader

Title of Sharing: “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For”

Description of Sharing: We sometimes look outside of ourselves when we think of leadership. Who is a leader? Someone with a senior title? Someone who has a team? Vadivu will share about awakeningthe leader within each of us, through owning and honouring our stories, gifts, spheres of influence and source of true power.  Just like the quotation used for the title of this speech is from an unknown source of wisdom, the ripple effect each of us creates may not be traced back to us but is nonetheless vital.  

Creating positive impact may sometimes mean you take the path less travelled.  Vadivu will also talk about the challenges that come with this, and how we can stay centred and on track with our mission.

Bio: Vadivu facilitates leadership and staff development. She enables the building of social, emotional and psychological capital that positively impacts organisational results. Vadivu has found that the heart is often a critical missing piece in workplaces and education.  Her work helps to restore this piece and nurture more balance, wisdom, and sustainable progress.  

Her motto is “love, serve, grow, play”. One of her current voluntary projects is running a learning community for inspiring leaders, hosted by the Lifelong Learning Institute.

She holds a Masters in Public Administration (Columbia University) and Bachelors in Social Work and Sociology (NUS).  


Workshop Facilitator and Q&A ModeratorYong Yoek Ling

Title and Organisation: Founder, BOLD at Work

Workshop: Putting the Self in Leadership

Bio:  As a child, Yoek Ling dreamt of crossing oceans just as James did on his giant peach. Her giant peach came when she earned a full scholarship to do her degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Ever since, she's believed in the power of the stories we tell ourselves and the places they will take us.  

Today, she continues writing her own story, and helping young people invent their futures by inventing the stories they hold, through BOLD at Work, an innovative educational centre equipping young people in the 21st century skills most sought after in the future of work. She thanks her recent stint in the Harvard Graduate School of Education for reviving the power of story and creativity in her life. 

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Visual Practitioner: Wendy Wong

Title and Organisation: Creative Director and Principal, welenia studios

Bio: Wendy Wong is a Visual Practitioner and Creative Director of welenia studios. She serves individuals, groups, and communities by facilitating learning through visual curation and design. Through visual recording (large-scale real-time graphic syntheses), visual facilitation design, and information visualization, Wendy mirrors and depicts thinking, dialogue, stories, meaning-making, and futures.

Wendy loves seeing others make more wakeful choices, as they pursue what matters. Good questions, authentic conversations, and compelling narratives make her day.

Description of Contribution: Wendy is excited to be contributing to the greater good by visually harvesting key themes and insights from our speaker panels, adding to our emerging pictures of leading with and towards hope.


Workshop 1: Putting the Self in Leadership

Facilitator: Yong Yoek Ling

As our leadership responsibilities grow, our visibility grows as well. With more respect may also come greater pressure to perform. Leaders can often find themselves 'split', where they want people to look at what they do, but would rather not be seen themselves.

Each of us has a compelling story to tell. Each of us has a story that can move others to action. In this workshop, we examine why putting the self in leadership is a powerful practice, both for ourselves and the people we lead. We will practice coming up with our story of self, where we share a piece of ourselves in a real and authentic way.

Workshop 2: Relate as a Positively Energising Leader

Facilitator: Isabel Vadivu Govind

Professor Kim Cameron, bestselling author of “Positive Leadership” and a co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan says that while managers spend a lot of time managing information and influence, relational energy is four times more important in determining outcomes. According to research by him and others, when a leader radiates more positive relational energy, employees are more engaged, productive and higher-performing. They are also more helpful to each other and go beyond their job description. Such relational energy is so life-giving that not only do employees experience greater well-being, so do their families.

One way of being positively energising is to see the best in others, enabling them to feel celebrated in your presence. You will practise doing this in our session, taking away a simple yet powerful exercise that you can do with your teams and communities.

Workshop 3: Living a Mission Driven Life

Facilitator: Jonathan Chang

True leadership begins within, but a life of purpose must be focussed on the intended consequences of our actions on the wider world. As leaders, the importance of directing our energies toward a clarified end point can seem obvious. However, leaders know that focus requires answers to hard questions. What do I stand for? What role do I play in the communities and systems of which I am part? It is easier to put off confronting these questions, but doing so can mean giving up on our potential as a leader.

In this workshop, we talk about the value of having a mission in living a life of consequence. We discuss what it means to have a mission, identify the elements of an effective one, and reflect on what our mission might be. Then, we articulate mission statements of our own as working tools that can help us on the path to making a positive difference in the world.