YWLC Empowers: Managing Self-Doubt and Challenges

Since YWLC’s 7th Executive Committee was elected in June 2021, there has been a flurry of activities for YWLC members, corporate and community partners, organised by the new leadership team.


In the third edition of YWLC Empowers, we speak with the Directors from our Data Innovation, Marketing & Communications, and Strategy & Partnerships subcommittees to hear about why they chose to run, the challenges of their role, and how they manage self-doubt.

1. What interests you most about YWLC that made you decide to step up and run for the 7th Executive Committee (Exco)? Halynne: I used to be the Deputy Director for Membership in the 6th Exco and really enjoyed serving YWLC through a series of new initiatives. It was immensely fulfilling to see how our events provided the avenue for new connections to be made. With this sense of purpose, I’ve decided to step up to run for Exco so that I could contribute even more by rallying my own team and building something meaningful for the rest of the community. Joey: My first YWLC event was the International Women's Day celebrations in 2019 - it was when I first experienced the power and strength of women coming together. It was also at the same event where I learned about the “engines” sustaining YWLC - the subcommittees. Being the Deputy Director for the Marketing and Communications (Marcoms) subcommittee during the 6th Exco term required me to dive deep into the inner workings of YWLC. It allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of the pillars of YWLC and how I might best contribute to strengthening them. That experience contributed significantly to my decision to run for Exco. Yvonne: YWLC, through the generosity of its women and mentors, has provided me with exceptional opportunities and experiences. This is my way of giving back to the community. I am passionate about advocating for women, and I enjoy witnessing growth in the women I work with. Having been part of the 6th Exco, I decided to run for a second term as I felt there was more I could do to contribute to the organisation. 2. What are some of the traits that you admire the most amongst the leaders you’ve worked with? Halynne: The key traits that I admire are resilience, creativity and mentorship. Firstly, there are always mountains to be overcome – these leaders remain optimistic in the face of obstacles and never fail to motivate the team to continue making progress. Secondly, I admire leaders who take creative risks in exploring new ways to improve current processes and adjacent growth areas. Thirdly, being a leader is also about developing others. Leaders who think of how to help others get better at what they are doing help the entire team level up their skills and broaden their perspectives. Joey: I am thankful that my current job at a venture capital firm allows me to work directly with executives in corporations and some of the biggest emerging startups. I admire their forward-thinking attitude because they are able to envision and articulate exciting possibilities that draw others in. They are also adaptable to constant change and adjust to new conditions rapidly, which is important especially in these trying times. Yvonne: Fortitude and grit, creativity, empathy, generosity, and foresight. 3. What do you think are some of the impending challenges that come with the role? Halynne: Data Innovation is the newest committee in YWLC as we were only set up in the previous Exco term. As such, it could be challenging to structure new roles and responsibilities for the team. Moreover, while there are lots of uncertainties, I’d like to see my role as one with many opportunities to grow and chart a new direction for YWLC in the face of an increasingly digital world. I am excited to explore with my subcommittee how we can innovate and enhance our existing digital capabilities to inform our community-building strategies backed by data. Joey: The Marcoms subcommittee is the voice of the organisation and supports all the subcommittees in some way. In this day and age where we are often overloaded with information, it is vital for us to stay abreast of new marketing trends and think about how we can offer fresh approaches to present information, in order to capture attention and have more meaningful conversations with our audience. Furthermore, volunteer management has been and will remain a challenge to overcome, but I look forward to driving new leadership and learning opportunities to encourage more members to step forward and for us to grow as a team. Yvonne: My portfolio supports the Executive Committee's core functions, and has two main objectives. First, building and maintaining YWLC's external partnerships, and developing internal best practices on partner engagement. Second, creating and implementing strategies to achieve the Executive Committee's broad goals, such as reinforcing our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and developing YWLC's thought leadership. Some impending challenges include assessing whether our strategies are fruitful, as many of them are new initiatives that will require some trial and error to suit the organisation's evolving needs.

4. How do you manage self-doubt? Halynne: For me, it is a perennial struggle with self-doubt. Am I good enough to lead the team? Am I qualified enough? What if we don’t manage to create a meaningful impact? We are always our worst critics. I’ve come to the realisation that self-doubt is concomitant in every step that I take out of my comfort zone. Accepting that having these fears are normal and healthy is key, as it is a reflexive mechanism for us to protect ourselves from potential risks. However, I always try to rationalise with myself on distinguishing rational and irrational self-doubts. The first is helpful and will guide us in making calculated decisions, while the latter could potentially cause us to succumb to inaction or paralysis. I would make a concerted effort to improve myself with those rational self-doubts and quieten the critical irrational ones. Joey: When you are constantly surrounded by people who have achieved amazing things in their lives, having self-doubt is inevitably a struggle I find myself facing. What helped me manage that feeling is taking time to reflect on my accomplishments in my gratitude journal, no matter how small it may be. It changes the narratives in my head and fuels my drive to strive for the better every day. Yvonne: With a sense of perspective, by leaning on others, and putting in the work. It always helps for me to take a step back, and to remind myself to focus on the purpose rather than the outcome. 5. Where do you see YWLC in the next two years? Halynne: YWLC will grow in the next two years, be it in terms of memberships, partners or general awareness, as more young women leaders step forward to make a difference in the community. We would be a more diverse and inclusive community connecting like-minded ladies from varied backgrounds. Moreover, with the scale that we are expecting, our digital infrastructure should evolve to support the new growth that we are foreseeing. I am thrilled to be in the driver’s seat at this inflection point! Joey: As we grow as an organisation, I picture YWLC as a highly engaged band for members, past and present, to learn from and uplift each other. I am passionate about driving the momentum of this organisation, particularly towards being known as a community for young women in Singapore seeking to make a positive impact on society – one that’s inclusive, supportive, empowering, and valuable. Yvonne: I envisage YWLC inching towards becoming the leading platform for young women in Singapore: a space where women can learn and grow into the best versions of themselves. I see us being an inclusive and supportive community that comprises women from more diverse backgrounds.



This interview is part of the YWLC Empowers series by the Member Recruitment and Marketing & Communications subcommittees, to shine the spotlight on the 7th Executive Committee (Exco) and share how they aspire to nurture young women leaders within and beyond YWLC under a new leadership team.


We want to know how YWLC empowers you in your leadership journey! Share it with us on social media with the hashtag #YWLCEmpowers.

Interested to join a subcommittee in YWLC? Click to find out more about the 7th Exco, Data Innovation, Marketing & Communications, and Strategy & Partnerships subcommittees.


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Organising Committee: Marketing & Communications and Member Recruitment

Organising Team: Joey Ong, Kristin Loo, Joaquim Tan, Ratna Juita

Interviewees: Halynne Shi, Joey Ong, Yvonne Mak

Interviewer: Tay Mingfang

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