WoW In Conversation: Women leading in times of crisis

WoW In Conversation Moderator Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (top), Panellists Ms Junie Foo (bottom left) and Ms Chew Gek Khim (bottom right)

A WoW In Conversation session organised by the NUS Office of Alumni Relations was recently held online to discuss the topic of ‘Women Leading in Times of Crisis’.

The session on 24 June was moderated by NUS Alumni Advisory Board member, Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (NUS Science ’98, NUS Public Policy ’08), and the panel comprised Executive Chairman of The Straits Trading Company and NUS Board of Trustees member, Ms Chew Gek Khim (NUS Law ’84) and Group Executive Director of Methodist Welfare Services, Ms Junie Foo (NUS Arts and Social Sciences ’90).

The online event featured opening remarks by Singapore President and NUS Chancellor, Madam Halimah Yacob (NUS Law ’78) who shared that the theme for International Women’s Day in 2020, ‘Each for Equal’ reflected how all women and men have a role to play in shaping a gender equal world. Madam Halimah remarked that WoW In Conversation was a reminder that the conversation on gender equality should never cease; and commended the progress Singapore has made towards gender parity. She cited the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 by the World Economic Forum, which found that Singapore has moved up 13 positions from 2019 to rank 54th globally, and fifth in the East Asia and Pacific region.

During the session, issues such as effective decision-making, the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, and the importance of mentoring were discussed.

“Look for mentors in the workplace. As you work with them, you can learn from them, which gives you double the benefits,” Ms Chew said.

Both panellists concurred that open communication played a major role in leading organisations. For young alumnae who aspire to increase their visibility and improve career prospects in the workplace, Ms Foo affirmed the importance of adaptability.

“Always be a little bit uncomfortable and always have new things to learn. Things are changing and moving, and we need to adapt. It is okay to make mistakes because we improve ourselves through mistakes,” Ms Foo said.

‘WoW’ stands for Women of W – wonder, wisdom, wealth of experience and other words of empowerment that start with ‘w’. It is a series of panel discussions founded by Dr Mokhtar to celebrate women and their achievements, through bringing together a panel of distinguished NUS alumnae to discuss impactful change in organisations, corporations, government and society by women leaders.

More than 300 attendees participated in the 24 June session, including NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye.


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