In this illuminating interview, explore the dynamic visions of these directors as they envision and craft extraordinary experiences, fostering connections, and shaping the narrative of impactful events that propel our YWLC community into leadership prominence.
What is your portfolio’s function, and what do you feel most excited about in your new role?
Nithya Karthikeyan: As the Leadership Development Director at YWLC, I lead a team of dedicated volunteers to organise roundtables, seminars, masterclasses, and panel discussions to nurture the leadership potential in the YWLC community and beyond. Using a leadership competency framework I have curated for our community, I aim to provide a range of avenues for our members to develop these competencies and achieve their goals in their personal and professional lives. I am most excited about using this platform to share unique voices and stories – engaging with diverse leaders is crucial because it introduces us to a range of leadership approaches, viewpoints, and tactics. This valuable exposure not only expands our comprehension of effective leadership but also nurtures adaptability and inclusiveness in both professional and personal spheres. Keep a lookout for an interesting lineup of speakers & events!
Caren Tso: As Director for Mentorship, I steer our flagship 9-month programme, offering members exclusive access to mentorship by esteemed female leaders in Singapore. Mentees, thoughtfully paired with mentors, navigate a journey of support, guidance, and bespoke leadership and skill-based workshops organised by the Mentorship sub-committee. I look forward to curating a programme that guides mentees through a game-changing 9-month ride, nurturing their personal and professional growth. This initiative is all about building lasting connections and boosting the diverse journeys within our community—capturing the true spirit of mentorship across both professional and personal realms.
Vigneswari A: As Director for Social Impact, I lead members to grow into community leaders by contributing to women and children-related causes. I rally community partners in Singapore’s community giving space to curate meaningful programmes alongside them, as well programmes that help nurture our members.Our flagship programmes such as the Pay-it-forward mentorship programme and Female & Fearless programme have been very successful over several runs conducted over the last few years, and I’m excited about evolving these programmes and taking them to the next level, to ensure continued relevance to both our target audience as well as ensuring that our member’s skill sets are well utilised.
What Key Initiatives or plans do you have for your portfolio in the next two years?
Nithya Karthikeyan: My aim is to create a leadership launchpad for women to advance their personal and professional lives. In order to achieve this, I’m hoping to elevate the portfolio through the following avenues:
1. YWLC Breakfast Club: Participants can glean insights from accomplished females leaders about their careers and leadership journeys, while fostering genuine connections through authentic & raw group conversations held over the breakfast table.
2. Masterclasses: Through expert-led sessions, participants can gain theoretical knowledge, practical insights, and case studies, providing a comprehensive understanding of leadership principles. This format will also include interactive components, such as group discussions, simulations, and role-playing exercises, allowing participants to practise and refine their leadership skills in a supportive learning environment.
3. Content Management: Democratise access to leadership development templates and frameworks - these can serve as a starting point for systematically managing leadership competencies, promoting continuous improvement and tailored development for our YWLC community.
Caren Tso: I envision the mentorship program to be focused on establishing the foundational blocks for building a mentorship ecosystem that supports both our mentors and mentees.
Building an inclusive and diverse mentor-mentee community that supports a broad spectrum of experiences and backgrounds.
Curate an effective programme that imparts future ready hard and soft skills for our mentees.
Provide a platform for mentors and mentees to connect and develop fulfilling, long-term relationships with one another.
Vigneswari A: Social Impact is the biggest subcommittee in YWLC, and as we grow into a mature committee, my focus is to ensure that the programme offerings we have is of continued relevance to our members. Several of our members have taken part in multiple of the Social Impact programme runs in the past, and I would like to ensure that there are new avenues for them to volunteer and contribute their skills, as they grow to become leaders in their communities. Alongside my Deputy Directors, we plan to assess opportunities for re-designing formats of existing programmes to expand opportunities for members to volunteer. Furthermore, I would like to provide a platform for members to get to know one another beyond programme or event planning, and volunteer in existing causes in Singapore’s community giving space. Stay tuned to find out more!
How has YWLC helped in preparing you for your leadership journey?
Nithya Karthikeyan: Personally, YWLC is synonymous with “empowerment”. Having spent 5 years in this community at various capacities, I have been fortunate to find a safe space that has helped me break out of my shell and find the confidence to raise my voice and power. YWLC has provided me the following:
· YWLC has fostered an environment that empowers female leaders through structured mentorship programmes, opportunities to lead programmes and learn from Singapore’s leading community giving partners & organisations.
2. Community & Tribe:
· I have been fortunate enough to take away a sisterhood that recognises, celebrates and uplifts one another – this community continues to push me out of my comfort zone and celebrate the small wins! This tribe also advocates resiliency & adaptability - The collective strength of the tribe helps me adapt to challenges and navigate uncertainties more effectively.
Caren Tso: I have honed my leadership style through the invaluable support of two pillars provided by YWLC: trust and a safe space.
Trust - Built on the support from my peers, it has empowered me to lead impactful initiatives like co-leading the International Women’s Day committee and the 100 Wishes initiative. These experiences deepened my understanding of what intentional leadership is.
Safe space - At YWLC, members get to explore new horizons and connect with women from all walks of life. In this nurturing environment, the community supports individuals in their leadership roles, standing by them through successes and setbacks. I'm honoured to have strong women backing my journey, and I’m eager to pay it forward by making this space accessible to all members.
Vigneswari A: “Community” is one of the key words that come to my mind when describing YWLC. To me, YWLC’s community is a powerful force for leadership development and social impact.
This sense of community is particularly valuable for me, as I can rely on the collective wisdom and support of fellow members as we navigate the complexities of the social impact sector. In addition, by engaging with the broader community giving space in Singapore, I am able to gain valuable insights, expand our network of influence and strengthen YWLC’s impact on society.
Importantly, YWLC’s community serves as platform for collective action. Through collaboration and shared resources, I am able to leverage my YWLC experience to work alongside fellow leaders to amplify impact, tackle larger challenges and create lasting change in Singapore.