Since SCOOP the SGN U.S. newsletter was launched in early 2020, Jennifer has been the unsung hero working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring community stories to life. She reflects on her journey and shares 3 insights gained from her numerous community interactions.
5 July 2021 / By Jennifer Tang
I relocated to the U.S. in 2017 for family reasons, but Singapore is always my home. After spending 13 years there, I feel my heart belongs to the Little Red Dot, and one day, I will be back to work and live there again.
That was one of the reasons I eventually joined SGN for a full-time consulting role in late 2019. A newly minted organisation at that time, SGN continues to build a global community of Singaporeans and friends. I have grown and learned more than I ever thought possible. Above all, the daily interactions with people truly inspire me. Here are my three learnings:
1. Be passionate and more importantly, tenacious!
I recently had the opportunity to meet Master Chef Martin Yan. A legendary TV icon and host of over 3,000 cooking shows around the world, Chef Yan is 72 but he’s still incredibly energetic and his mind is sharp as a tack!
What really struck me is his action-oriented community involvement. From organising virtual cooking classes in the Bay Area to nurturing young chefs around the world, Chef Yan also devotes himself to fundraising for the Asian community. We are working on an exciting programme with him in September, so stay tuned!
And then there’s Thomas Lim, who heads Sun Entertainment Culture Los Angeles. Working on a shoestring budget, he decided to shoot “Sea of Mirrors” entirely on an iPhone! He has a saying, “It’s those who are tenacious and keep trying that make progress,” which made a profound impact on me. It’s so important to turn words into action and stay the course, especially when the going gets tough.
2. Childhood influences on giving back
How someone spends the formative years of their lives has a huge impact on their future.
The importance of 饮水思源 (yǐn shuǐ sī yuán) – which translates to ‘when you drink water, think of its source’ – is a common theme. So when violinist Siow Lee-Chin talked about how her father, whom she calls the “unsung hero” in her career, taught her the importance of giving back, it pulled at my heartstrings. Having been under the tutelage of some of the world’s most influential pedagogues, Lee-Chin strives to pay it forward by nurturing and mentoring the next generation of violinists.
Desmond Lim truly embodies this journey as well. Waking up before the crack of dawn to pick up goods with his father just to hitch a ride to school, Desmond is now an honouree for the 2020 Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. Seeing his parents seize each minute of each hour to build a better life for their children, today he’s the co-founder of Workstream, which helps hourly workers find jobs in the U.S. and around the world.
3. Be resilient and have a growth mindset
Through my work, I discovered many amazing people who are resilient, strong, and generous in sharing their lessons.
Roger Lee has been credited on multiple Oscar-winning Disney animated films. However, his strength of character and risk-taking resonated with me during our conversations. He overcame numerous setbacks in pursuing his dream to work overseas and persevered to secure his dream job at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2012.
JuE Wong is a highly accomplished 4-time CEO in the global beauty industry, but I was most inspired by how she reacted to the incident of losing her husband to a heart attack. Instead of dwelling in prolonged grief, she focused on how to best carry on her loved one’s legacy. This loss spurred her to be her best self, both personally and professionally.
There are many inspiring SGN members in the U.S., a few to highlight here:
- Carolyn Ng and Madhu Shalini Iyer who attained success in ultra-competitive careers while still promoting diversity and inclusion
- Susan Seah who founded The Koa Club to foster female leadership and lifelong learning
- Wendy Ong and Merissa Jane Lee who broke into the tight-knit American entertainment industry
- Amy Pryke, Holly Ong and Pat Lau who became food entrepreneurs to keep Singapore’s hawker culture alive
- The amazing SGN volunteers who stepped up to serve the community during the pandemic
So what about you – who or what inspires you? Drop us an email here to share your suggestion or story!
Based in the Bay Area, Jennifer works as a full-time Marketing & Communications Consultant with the Singapore Global Network. She has extensive experience in Asia Pacific, the U.S., and Europe with Levi Strauss & Co. and Proctor & Gamble, as well as Singapore government agencies, consumer tech brands, and non-profits. Jennifer is passionate about influencer marketing, corporate communications, creative multimedia storytelling and brand building.
Connect with Jennifer here.