On May 6, 2023, YWLC successfully launched its inaugural peer mentorship programme (PMP) with a remarkable pilot run. The commencement ceremony, held at the prestigious Temasek Shophouse, marked the beginning of an exciting initiative. The Peer Mentorship Programme serves as YWLC's official platform, bringing together members and alumni to foster meaningful relationships and engage in valuable learning experiences through group mentorship.
At the heart of this programme lies the belief that mentorship is a reciprocal process, where individuals from diverse backgrounds and life stages can both offer their expertise as mentors and gain knowledge as mentees. Over the course of 10 months, participants are carefully grouped into learning pods based on their shared interests, goals, and contributions. These pods serve as spaces for individuals to exchange their unique experiences and insights, culminating in six enriching learning pod sessions.
The commencement ceremony itself featured an illuminating opening panel titled "The Power of Peers." This distinguished panel consisted of esteemed YWLC alumni, including Kristen Koh, the Collaborative Impact Lead for Corporate and Industry Partnerships at the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC); Sharon Tan, the Chief Operating Officer of DBS Bank; as well as Wong Jia Yun, the Business Development Director at VISA and YWLC's immediate past-Chairperson and present Advisor. Moderated by Vigneswari.A, a valued YWLC member and Global Health Consultant at Crowell and Moring International, the panellists shared profound insights into how they have effectively leveraged their peer networks to propel their own career journeys.
Discovering your tribe through meaningful connections
During the discussion on the topic of finding a tribe at work, Sharon imparted valuable insights regarding the importance of intentionality in this pursuit. She emphasised that creating a work tribe goes beyond forming a simple friendship clique. According to Sharon, it is essential to approach the process with a professional mindset, deliberately seeking out individuals from diverse backgrounds, departments, or even countries. This diversity enriches the tribe by offering a wide range of perspectives and experiences.
Building upon Sharon's perspective, Kristen concurred that a tribe should indeed embrace diversity. She stressed the significance of maintaining humility, being receptive to different viewpoints, and remaining open to the possibility of being corrected. Kristen highlighted the importance of actively listening and learning from others, even when it means acknowledging one's own errors.
Empowering self-advocacy through allyship and sponsorship
A prevalent professional challenge encountered by young women is the aspect of self-advocacy and the critical need for advocates—be it colleagues or seniors—who can champion their cause. Sharon shed light on the common observation that women often receive ample mentoring but lack sufficient sponsorship, leaving them grappling with the difficulty of seeking help and support. This issue, as all the panellists concurred, does not have a quick-fix solution but instead requires a natural progression.
The panellists unanimously agreed that actively seeking out sponsors and cultivating meaningful relationships with individuals is paramount. They emphasised the significance of proactively connecting with potential sponsors who can advocate for one's professional growth and advancement. By building genuine connections, young women can create a network of supporters who are invested in their success.
On leading and empowering older colleagues
When it comes to navigating working relationships with older and more experienced colleagues, the task can indeed be challenging. Sharon, drawing from her own experiences as a young Chief Operating Officer, shed light on the dynamics of being the youngest individual at the table. She emphasised the significance of self-belief and establishing credibility in such situations. According to Sharon, recognising and reaffirming one's own value and purpose for being present is crucial.
Expanding on this insight, Jiayun added that proactively engaging with colleagues plays a pivotal role in fostering better working relationships. Knowing when to take the initiative and actively seek opportunities to connect and collaborate can significantly contribute to strengthening those professional bonds.
On overcoming career challenges
The panel drew to a close with the panellists offering valuable advice to participants, guiding them on how to discover their tribe and navigate the intricacies of the working world. Sharon imparted a powerful message, advising the participants that it is okay to feel scared, but not to be “scared off”. In other words, she emphasised the importance of having courage when dealing with challenges. Encouraging courage in the face of challenges, she emphasised the importance of pushing through and persevering.
Jia Yun, in her advice, emphasised the significance of authenticity. Participants were encouraged to stay true to themselves and seek out individuals who treat them with respect and share similar values. By aligning with like-minded individuals, they would find greater support and harmony in their professional journeys.
Kristen's advice carried a message of discernment. Participants were advised to take what is beneficial to them and leave behind what does not serve them. This counsel encouraged participants to prioritise their own growth and development, making choices that align with their personal and professional aspirations.
Following the panel, a series of networking activities ensued, fostering connections among the participants of the program and facilitating familiarity within their assigned learning pods. Engaging in ice-breakers and a guided networking session, participants had the opportunity to interact with their peers within their respective learning pods, forging bonds and nurturing a sense of community within the programme.
In conclusion, the launch of YWLC's inaugural peer mentorship programme (PMP) marked a significant milestone in fostering meaningful connections and professional growth for its members and alumni. We are excited to see how the mentees will tap into the power of connections and collaboration to navigate their way towards success and fulfilment in the real world!
The venue, graciously sponsored by Temasek Shophouse, stands as a vibrant social impact hub committed to fostering initiatives and endeavours that contribute to the greater good. With an unwavering mission to encourage, enhance, and elevate such endeavours, Temasek Shophouse extends a warm invitation to all YWLC members to participate in their upcoming public events held at the venue. For further details and event schedules, interested members are encouraged to visit their website, where they can find comprehensive information to fuel their enthusiasm.
Editor: Rachel Tan
Partner: Temasek Shophouse