Outstanding Australian Alumni Association 2013

Outstanding Australian Alumni Association 2013

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The 2012 Melbourne Leadership Series


In the Company of Greatness 

15 September 2012 went down in the annals of UMAAS’ history as a remarkable afternoon of sharing by luminaries who graduated in years past at the University of Melbourne—Australia’s finest institution at just over 159 years old!

Some 60 aspiring alumni converged at the iconic heritage of Fort Canning Hotel from 1-3.30pm to hear from distinguished roundtable hosts who represented a range of industries, and engaged graduates in thought-provoking discussions around forging a successful career path in leadership.

In the early stages of their careers, our bright-eyed alumni were eager beavers, lapping up the opportunity to ask questions that helped them gain insights into a range of career paths and valuable career advice, and develop insights about leadership skills.

Points to Ponder

Event Host, the University of Melbourne’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Professor Simon Evans, was kind enough to highlight some of the learning points from the various roundtable conversations. For those that missed out on this event, here they are, including a few pointers that I picked up!
  • We cannot distil someone else’s success path and apply what worked for them, in our careers. We should not try to be someone we’re not. We’re unique. And we have to discover for ourselves, what works best for us.
  • Exhibiting leadership competencies will help us progress. Being passionate about the job, seeing the value in our work and being able to see the bigger picture will help us take pride in what we do and be appreciated by management. As David Lim said, “It’s not about drilling holes, it’s about building airplanes.”
  • Increasingly, the leadership path in an organisation is no longer linear. Often, we don’t scale the corporate ladder in the one organisation, particularly in today’s job climate. We may have to change jobs to progress in our career path. That said, it’s good to stay the course for at least 3 years in a company in order to have a good grasp of what goes on in the company. But should we decide a particular job isn’t for us, nothing should stop us from moving on.
  • Job hop for the right reasons. If we find ourselves job hopping every few years, that’s still okay as long as we have a good reason for it. Recurring reasons like ‘the boss is not good or colleagues aren’t great’, may well be an indication that we ourselves are the real problem and haven’t confronted that.
  • Enjoy a work-life balance. It’s important to have a work-life balance even if it’s unavoidable that the workload is particularly heavy when we first start off in our careers. It’s also important to enjoy what we do. If we find that we’re dragging ourselves to work, then that’s probably an indication that we may be better suited elsewhere or doing something different.
  • Knowing what we’re suited for. What we enjoy doing in our free time outside of work, will give us an indication of what we’ll enjoy doing as a career.
  • Develop and maintain relationships. Never underestimate the importance of contacts established at work or in other settings. They may well work for you in recommending work opportunities across the globe.

Swan-like Professionalism

Alumni had an absolute blast, thanks to the tireless efforts and yet calm disposition of the Alumni Relations & Communications team—including its Director, Leonie Boxtel (whom even Commissioner Tim Dillon has wonderful things to say about) and Manager, Bruce Mortimer (a most affable and capable character).

Thanks to their planning, we were entreated to a stellar line-up of senior alumni hosts and a lively program that included welcome comments from Professor Simon, informal roundtable conversations, delicious light snacks and beverages and a lucky name card draw!

Our committee certainly enjoyed working with them alongside Country Manager, Teri Ng from the Singapore Representative Office, who amongst other things, sourced Yarra Valley wines at the drop of a hat!

Till next time

Someday, we’ll all have our own stories to tell… stories that hopefully illumine the next generation of leaders. Till then, let’s give life our best shot!

I’d like to end with a quote from a magnanimous and inspiring individual:

“You may be just starting out in your career but I am a firm believer that if you always give your best, no matter how small, boring or insignificant you think the task is, then people will take notice and remember this and opportunities will certainly follow.” – Tim Dillon, Commissioner – South East Asia, Victorian State Government of Australia

Thanks for reading this and look out for our up and coming social event in November!

Yours Truly,

Danny J

10-strong, our inspirational roundtable hosts included: Johnny Moo, Director of Automated Systems Holdings Limited; Bay Yew Chuan, Non-Executive Director of Alternative Energy Limited Singapore and Vice Chairman of Store+Deliver+Logistics; David Lim, Chairman of Jurong International and Independent Director of Ascendas Property Fund Trustee Pte Ltd; Tien-Vy Vu, Director of the Credit Structuring Unit at UBS; Michael Heng, Partner of Heng Lee Seng LLP; Agnes Goh, Director of Strategic Client Services at the Asia Pacific Office of Korn/Ferry; International; Michael Ngu, Chief Executive Officer at Architects 61 Pte Ltd; Low Han Keat, Senior Director of the Corporate Finance Department at UOB; Christina Pung, Senior Manager at Chevron; and Lee Chee Kiat, Executive Director of SC Capital Partners Pte Ltd.

Many thanks to the eloquent Professor Simon Evans for gracing the occasion as Event Host; all 10 luminaries detailed above for their selfless sharing and time; Director, Leonie Boxtel and International Manager, Bruce Mortimer from the Alumni Relations & Communications Team for organising this event; Teri Ng from the Singapore Representative Office for her valuable contributions; joyful and inquisitive participants from the University of Melbourne Alumni; the UMAAS’ Committee for their faithful support and participation; and staff of Fort Canning Hotel for a job well done.

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