Date: 2 October 2015 (Friday)
Time: 7 to 10 pm
Venue: Standard Chartered Bank, Marina Bay Financial Tower 1
The inaugural AWWsome Sharing Session, organised by the NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA)’s Alumni Women’s Wing, got off to a roaring start. A total of 30 attendees packed the venue on a Friday evening, ready to glean some entrepreneurial insights from the featured speaker, Ms Teo Ser Lee (BAcc 1988) – beauty-queen-turned-entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder and director of Protocol Academy Pte Ltd, Singapore’s pioneer in etiquette and protocol services.
Among them was Grace Ang (BAcc 1984). No stranger to alumni events, she was looking forward to hearing about Ms Teo’s personal journey. “Everybody has their own story,” she said, “so it’ll be interesting to discover how she overcame her struggles and get her perspective on work/life balance.” Invited guests Tan Shih Han and Mandy Lin mirrored similar sentiments. “Women play a very important role,” said Shih Han. “Through this session, we can gain valuable learning points on how to succeed both professionally and personally.”
These were exactly the types of responses that Joey Gan (BBA 1986), Vice President of NUSBSA, hoped to hear when she decided to launch the Alumni Women’s Wing Chapter earlier in May. “Our vision is to inspire and empower,” she said. “We want women from all walks of life to come together, contribute, grow and have fun together.”
And that was exactly what the attendees did. They gamely participated in every ice breaker, broke out into squeals of laughter as the vivacious Ms Teo recounted entertaining anecdotes from her beauty pageant days and enthusiastically answered her pop quizzes on etiquette during her talk. Emcee for the night, Catherine Chai (BBA 1992), described the event perfectly when she said, “There are no strangers tonight, only friends that you’ve yet to meet.” And as the lead organiser for the sharing session, she was also directly responsible for creating this positive atmosphere. “Women tend to network differently,” she explained. “By organising events tailored for women such as these – one that focusses on topics such as personal grooming and social etiquette – we hope to create a platform where women, even those who have never networked before, can feel confident in stepping out to connect and support fellow women alumni, contribute ideas and play a more active role in the alumni community.” Alumni volunteers Sharon Kwek (BAcc 1973) and Tan Swee Cheng (BAcc 1990) agreed. “The AWWsome events provide a much-needed outlet for women to not only network but come together as individuals with the same interests and learn from one another,” said Swee Cheng.
The attendees certainly seemed to agree. Gayathri De Silva (BBA Hons 2010) thoroughly enjoyed the talk, even as she admitted, “It’s not the kind of event that I would usually go for.” Pleased participants were already looking forward to the next session. Ong Soo Hwa (BAcc 1969) and Ong Lian Wah (BAcc 1969), for instance, expressed hopes that future talks or sharing sessions could feature a mix of topical subjects – from the woman’s perspective.
If you’ve missed out on this session, don’t fret. More programmes are in the pipeline so keep your eyes peeled for the next one!