Updated: Feb 10, 2021
(A project by the Recruitment subcommittee)
Project Leads run events from start to end, from conceptualising content to engaging speakers and running the show on the day. With the shift of our events to a virtual platform, our Project Leads have to think of inventive and creative ways to engage our attendees through a screen and facilitate meaningful conversations.
Still, this is the perfect time for young women to let their skills shine, take control and show the world what they are capable of.
As part of the Behind the Leads series, we speak to Eileen Teoh and Eliza Ho from the Recruitment subcommittee on their experience stepping forward to take on lead roles for the upcoming Future Women Leaders Forum (FWLF), the flagship event by the Recruitment Subcommittee for fresh graduate and undergraduate women, as well as YWLC’s very first hybrid event to kick off 2021
The Future Women Leaders Forum aims to build up women leaders at the start of their careers. It also aims to be a platform and community for young women to learn from and network with other other like-minded women. This year, FWLF 2021 will be held over two Saturdays on the theme, “Braving The New World”.
What was your vision for FWLF when you first took on the lead role for the event?
Eileen: My past experience with organising events nudged me to take up a lead role, as I wanted to find avenues to contribute to YWLC. When I saw YWLC’s call for event leads for FWLF 2021, I knew my background in events could help shape FWLF into a one-of-a-kind hybrid event for all fresh graduates!
Eliza: As the flagship event for the Recruitment subcommittee and the first event to kick off the brand new year for YWLC, it has to be impactful and relevant.
My vision for FWLF was similar to the theme, with the team navigating the strict safety measure managements and pivoting to a digital platform, I want to be able to inspire the FWLF attendees to Brave the New World, the way our team was striding out to run this virtual event despite the many concerns and unanswered questions. I hope for them to be able to take leaps of faith and always keep their eye out for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tell us about your experience so far as a lead for FWLF: what has been the most rewarding part of the experience?
Eileen: As an events lead, I had the opportunity to work across subcommittees and meet people of diverse backgrounds!
The Covid-19 situation made it difficult to build rapport in person and to enable the team to have a sense of belonging within the FWLF committee. So in place of face-to-face meetings, I made sure to connect with my team through texts or over meals with a smaller group.
Eliza: It was challenging to manage an entire event remotely as I’ve always liked having face-time with people since it is easier to banter and bounce ideas with each other. Although we still got work done, meeting through a screen takes away the warmth of being around people. This year, the scale of FWLF is also larger as we have 12 segments to manage. Evaluating multiple proposals and ensuring that ideas are synergised became more time-consuming.
Working with different people and across different working styles, we had to find ways to communicate more effectively. There were times when ideas and intentions were lost in translation over calls or texts, and it can be tricky to coordinate.
In spite of it all, seeing the virtual festival coming to fruition is extremely rewarding. Getting started is always the toughest part – from setting the broad direction, scoping the individual segments, down to the nitty-gritty bits like talking points.
We had a few teammates who were a little worried about being unfamiliar in their roles but being able to reassure, guide and give them the room to grow their ideas was very fulfilling.
Any advice for those looking to take on lead roles within YWLC?
Eileen: If you feel strongly for a particular event, a purpose, or a specific project, and want to challenge yourself, I’d encourage you to sign up for a lead role. There's no hard and fast rule or an instruction manual on taking up lead roles within YWLC. It’d give you the chance to shape how you’d like it to be and how far you can take the project to
So I say, don’t sit on it for too long and keep waiting for the next best opportunity. Put yourself out there and take that leap of faith that you can do it!
Eliza: Start by finding out what projects there are, the scale and timeline, how the projects are run, and then decide on your commitment level. Once you are sure that you can commit to a lead role, indicate your interest to the subcommittee directors. Projects always need leads, and new leads bring fresh ideas into long-standing projects. If there is a lot on your plate but you are still keen to lead, you can ask for a co-lead position to share the responsibility.
Alternatively, create opportunities to lead. If you have an idea, take the initiative by drafting a brief and float it to any subcommittee director, and then seek feedback on alignment and the project’s feasibility. Manage your expectations that this may not always be successful – and that’s okay! – take this opportunity to find out the considerations behind their decisions. There will always be opportunities to initiate in future.
Finally, strike a balance by leading with a good head on your shoulders and heart in the right place. While hitting milestones is critical, don’t lose sight of the journey with your teammates and the people for whom you are creating value.
Behind The Leads series is part of the Membership Campaign where we dig deep into the leaders who have stepped up and found the sparks that fuel their passion within the organisation.
Interested to be part of the Recruitment subcommittee? Submit your enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Organising Committee: Membership and Recruitment
Artwork: Tabitha Chee
Interviewer: Tay Mingfang