IWD 2021 – #choosetochallenge interview with Gaya Ananda

Hi Everyone,

I hope that the first quarter of 2021 passed smoothly for you.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Ms. Gaya Ananda MAP’18Jul from our Women In Business (WiB) executive committee, who is Education Channel Marketing Manager, Microsoft Devices partners solution sales at Microsoft.

Gaya is passionate about building relationships and driving growth. She fuses her 2 superpowers together at work to deliver smart agile solutions. Her colleagues know that she is the go-to for insightful feedback and creative ideas for new initiatives.
Gaya has worked across APAC and North America, from a family business, management consultancy, start-up and complex global organisation in 6 different industries.

Gaya is the perfect innovation leader to be the WiB interviewer for our exclusive CEO fireside chat with Ms Sabrina Tan, the founder of Skin Inc. Sabrina has overcome many personal challenges, leapt across industries and garnered huge international respect for her innovative approach to youth and longevity – her company is known as “The Apple of skincare”.

Gaya shares her perspectives on 21st-century womanhood and her Choices on what to Challenge:

Q: Can you tell us a how you have grown as a person over the years? What has helped you push through challenging times?

A: I’ve learnt to slow down. When I was younger, I was so eager to prove myself and have a hand in anything and everything. I have learned that it is better to take a step back, take on things that actually add value to your goals vs trying to impress anyone and everyone. Slowing down also lets you reflect on the learning, and you enjoy it a lot more as a result. In the rush to get things done, I have sometimes neglected to take time to create an atmosphere where everyone else wants to win with me. Carve out time for social activities and do the things other people like doing with them – vs trying to slot them in when it’s only convenient for you.

Q: What has been your most difficult challenge, and how did you handle this?

A: Focus. I suffer from chronic FOMO (fear of missing out). Being ok with saying no to things, or rather saying yes to what you really want and value is hard.

How am I handling it? Three strategies:
“The Power of a Positive No” – great book. Read it if you suffer from FOMO.
Coaching circle – I have a one hour commitment with 2 friends every week on what is important to each of us, and to keep us honest about what we say yes to, and NO to!
Being grateful to yourself for saying yes to YOU vs the many other things that are fun distractions.

Q: Drawing from your life experiences, what gives you the most satisfaction? What gives you the deepest regret, and would there have been anything you would have chosen differently looking back?

A: As cheesy as it sounds, helping others gives me genuine satisfaction. But what I’m trying to get better at is controlling my desire to try and always be helpful if my help does not add “actual” value to the other person. Sometimes showing empathy is enough, vs trying to solve a problem I’m not apt to solve.

Deepest regret – not having had more belief in myself to take on bigger risks and challenges. I let the fear of failure, and my perception of how others would see me when I fail hold me back. Maybe I am lucky, but whenever I have experienced failure – I’ve learnt so much more and built stronger connections with people who came to help me back up. I did not even notice the nay-sayers, yet I spent so much time worrying about what they may think.

Q: How do you see your continuing life journey from here? What challenges will you choose from here? How might you want to define success and learning?

A: As much as I want to say I have conquered my past challenges, I have not. The same patterns in my approach still exist – but I keep getting better at recognizing it and adjusting my approach.

Success to me is to keep that value of perseverance, knowing I will never be perfect – but that I notice the change within myself and in how others respond.

Thank you, Gaya!

Li Lian Liew EMBA’13Dec – President INSEAD Alumni Club Women in Business
#IWiBchallengesyou2021
#choosetochallenge

IWD 2021 – #choosetochallenge interview with Aymeric Lacroix

I hope that you have had a smooth March 2021. Thank you for supporting this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) kickoff of the 2021 theme of #ChooseToChallenge which we marked with 2 landmark campaigns: A collaboration between the NAA and the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) team from INSEAD with a series of knowledge sharing; and a #IWiBchallengesyou2021 social media challenge in solidarity across all INSEAD Women in Business (WiB) Alumni Clubs to raise awareness of IWD and its 2021 theme.

IWiB (Singapore) will continue to carry the theme of Choose To Challenge across all our events this year, starting with a Private Conversation with Sabrina Tan, Founder and CEO of Skin Inc, on 15 April. This is jointly organised by RCLG, Entrepreneurship and IWiB (Sg) Alumni Clubs, and is a great opportunity to hear the secrets of this groundbreaking business leader who had chosen to challenge and conquered the worlds of skincare, tech, and female entrepreneurship all at once.
Alongside this, we are pleased to share with you some thoughts on Choose To Challenge from our RCLG Alumni Club President, Aymeric Lacroix EMBA’17Dec, Managing Director Asia South at DFS (LVMH).

Aymeric is the golden eye of the retailing and luxury brand management across our region, and has countless successes under his belt combining his passion for capturing the hearts of consumers, the art of using technology, and creativity driving business growth.

“Hello, Aymeric,” I started. “What do you think of this year’s IWD theme “Choose To Challenge”?” Aymeric leaned slightly and blinked his clear brown eyes once as he began to speak. “There are plenty of initiatives from Public to Private sectors celebrating March 8th as IWD. Hopefully this creates more consideration around diversity and inclusion at large.”
His brow arched as he continued, “As a Leader, March 8th forces us to create head and mind space about the topic and make sure that we talk about the role of women in the workplace without any taboo. We then create a voice that can be echoed within all departments of the company.”

“In the industry I am in, luxury retail, and the company I have worked with or currently working, men are outnumbered by women.”

“However,” Aymeric emphasized, “the efforts that must be made is about a bigger representation of women in managerial and leadership position.” He gestured with his arms open in front of him, visually showing the gap that he spoke about.
“I see myself as an ally and a supporter to promote more and better diversity starting with my team. I am a believer that the future belongs to women!” Here, Aymeric smiled his easy dazzling smile and his expression softened. “Maybe,” he admitted, “it is because I am a father of two girls and an admirer of my wife for carrying successfully so many critical roles at the same time: a great Mom, a professional Investor, and a loving Wife.”

I nodded and asked, “Given the world that we are in right now, what would you choose to challenge and why would you choose it?” Aymeric replied decisively, “I would challenge the fact that “we, men and women, can only be good at one thing”. I would like people to start thinking that we, especially Women, can be multifaceted.” He fixed his eyes on a future target and quietly but firmly said, “Like a precious stone, every facet has a story to tell and one unique way to shine. It is up to you to have a close look at it and see how beautiful it can be.”

“Are there collaborators and/or resources that we need to make this happen?” I asked. Aymeric nodded. “I would say that everyone’s voice counts. There needs to be some key ingredients to push our agenda forward.” He counted out 2 fingers, “First, openness and willingness to challenge the status quo. Second, it requires accountability and responsibility to turn the nice slogans into actions beyond March 8th. Being part of the INSEAD community, I am glad to see the efforts made by the entire school to call for action and push for progress.”

In closing, Aymeric left us with this pragmatic truth: “Ultimately, this is a journey and we need everyone to embark with us to be successful in our quest of a better world.”

Thank you, Aymeric, for sharing your time with us.

Li Lian Liew EMBA’13Dec – President INSEAD Alumni Club Women in Business
#IWiBchallengesyou2021
#choosetochallenge

IWD 2021 – #choosetochallenge interview with Jaz Athenia Chua

In support of International Women’s Day, Li Lian Liew EMBA’13Dec, President of the INSEAD Alumni Club Women in Business, captured some thoughts on IWD from Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan, Business Operations Director, Growth Markets, Paypal, and current President of the Association.

“Hmm, that’s a good question,” mused Jaz, her eyes twinkling, as I asked her what experiences made her the Jaz that we know now. “I think I was fortunate to grow up in Singapore,” she said, after some thought. “Here, we are quite lucky – I never felt that my gender got in the way of competing against boys.”

Jaz was a math whizz, who took Additional Mathematics in middle school years, and often tutored her peers. On top of her school work, she developed a strong personality and discipline, as an alumnus of Hwa Chong Institution, National University of Singapore, and later INSEAD. This would stand her well.

“INSEAD was an eye opener,” she shared. The diversity of background, ethnicities and ways of thinking opened up her perspectives. However, “going international” had its own quirks. Classmates from all over the world saw gender differently. She began to appreciate how women were treated differently from men in different cultures, from very conservative norms where female classmates’ opinions were ignored, to daily micro-sexisms that were meant to be flattery.

Although she had not grown up in those environments, this sparked Jaz’ passion to change the way things were. This eventually led her to join the INSEAD Women In Business (WiB) Alumni Club in Singapore, and led her to her current presidency.

“Choose To Challenge is close to my heart,” she said. Jaz tapped her finger gently twice on the table, listing the 2 things that she would champion and choose to challenge: unconscious bias and gendered roles. These affected everyone to the detriment of the society they live in. It could colour the way people were hired, the way people perceived themselves as being good enough, the way money and property changed hands, and even national institutions. More than that, it could create an invisible barrier which women had to continuously strain against, just to be on equal footing.

“I support this year’s IWD theme of #choosetochallenge together with our fellow alumni across the world,” Jaz beamed.

#IWiBchallengesyou2021
#choosetochallenge
#Inseadalumnisg

IWD 2021 – choose to challenge

International Women’s Day, IWD, (8 March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, as the world and our alumni communities come out of 2020, which has been one of the most disruptive and challenging year in decades due to COVID-19, the impact of the pandemic certainly will have a lasting impact on us all.

We would like to encourage your participation on 2 initiatives that we are running to commemorate IWD this year:

  1. The first is a survey and knowledge sharing initiative on gender equity initiated by DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) team from INSEAD to build awareness and knowledge around this topic. The team has also created an insightful list of reading suggestions (see below) to accompany this effort. This initiative from the school would run for two weeks until 22 March.
  2. The second initiative is a global initiative from INSEAD Women in Business (WiB) Alumni Club that is now running globally. This initiative called Choose to Challenge is meant to raise awareness against biases and encourage a call to action from us all.

Reading Suggestions

Week 1

  • Day 1 – March 8

Disruption as a Force for Good? Gender Balance and COVID-19 | Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Vinika D. Rao, Executive Director, INSEAD Gender Initiative | May 20, 2020

Key takeaway: The pandemic may disproportionately affect women around the world, but it need not imperil the hard-earned progress towards gender balance.

  • Day 2 – March 9

From Insight to Action. Gender Equality in the Wake of Covid-19 | UN Women 2020

This publication summarizes the data, research and policy work produced by UN Women on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls, including how it is affecting extreme poverty, employment, health, unpaid care and violence against women and girls.

  • Day 3 – March 10

Making the “New Normal” Better for Women | Benjamin Kessler, INSEAD Knowledge Managing Editor | July 2, 2020

Key takeaway: How can individuals and organisations keep progressing towards gender balance, in this disrupted world?

  • Day 4 – March 11:

Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis | Policy brief: OECD 2020

  • Day 5 – March 12:

Foundations for Gender Balance Can Be Built at Home | Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Vinika D. Rao, Executive Director, INSEAD Gender Initiative | November 13, 2020

Key takeaway: If we want a robust economic recovery and a fairer world, we must stem the tide of women fleeing the Covid-19 workforce.

Week 2

  • Day 1 – March 15

Strategy and Leadership Lessons From the ‘Notorious RBG’ | Chengyi Lin, INSEAD Affiliate Professor of Strategy, Felicia A. Henderson EMCCC ’17, Founder, Henderson Advising, and Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour | March 8, 2021: Strategy & Leadership lessons from “The Notorious RBG”

  • Day 2 – March 16

The Powerful Leadership of African Women | Lucy Quist MBA ’05J, INSEAD Board Director | March 6, 2020: Six women leading the way and inspiring others to realise their potential

  • Day 3 – March 17

Challenging Assumptions About Flexible Work | Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Felicia A. Henderson EMCCC ’17, Principal at Henderson Advising | February 24, 2020: How a female CEO built better work-life balance in the gruelling property industry.

  • Day 4 – March 18

Promoting Gender Balance Wisely | Benjamin Kessler, Asia Editor and Digital Manager, Clarissa Cortland, INSEAD Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, and Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour | March 8, 2018: Researchers are identifying powerful, yet sometimes nuanced interventions that can improve outcomes for women and the businesses and societies they serve.

  • Day 5 – March 19

Integrating Diversity Into Business Education | Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour; Modupe Akinola, Columbia Business School; Ashli Carter, NYU Stern; Michael Norton, Harvard Business School; and Katherine Phillips, Columbia Business School | September 16, 2019: An example of women leading the integration of diversity conversation into business education in collaboration with men.

Meet our new team!

Thank you to the 155 members who voted electronically for our 2021 AGM. We had a strong voter turnout of 21%. An overwhelming majority reviewed the annual report and approved on these motions:

  1. 2020 AGM minutes
  2. 2020 Financial Reports
  3. Elect the following:

New Board Members at 2021 AGM:

  • President: Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan
  • Secretary: Bradley Fraser MAP’18 Apr
  • Board Member (Diversity and Inclusion): Boby Johnson EMBA’16Dec
  • Board Member (Lifelong Learning and Career Development): Apo Ozkececi MCCC’19Dec-S
  • Board Member (Mentorship): Brenny Wang TIEMBA‘20Jan

Re-Election for a second term for:

  • Board Member (Marketing and Communications): Jean-Francois Legourd MBA’12D

Meet our new team

OFFICE BEARERS

  • President: Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan
  • Treasurer: Amy Xu MBA’14
  • Secretary: Brad Fraser MAP’18Apr

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

  • Social Events & IAF: Virginia Brumby MBA’09J
  • Clubs & Groups: Julie He MBA’13D
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Boby Johnson EMBA’16Dec
  • Marketing & Communications + Career Development & Lifelong Learning: Jean-Francois Legourd MBA’12D
  • Career Development & Lifelong Learning: Apo Ozkececi MCCC’19Dec-S
  • Professors & Companies Events: Tan Eng Hwa TIEMBA’16Jan
  • Mentorship Program: Brenny Wang TIEMBA’20Jan

HONORARY AUDITOR

  • Thomas Friis-Hansen MBA’99J

Thank you to retiring Board Member President Cintia Tavella MBA’07D, IDP-C’20Jun, and Honorary Auditor Jisun Min MBA’11D for years of limitless contributions to the Association! Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.

For more info, click here.

2021 AGM – electronic voting notice

Notice is hereby given that electronic voting will be conducted for 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) from 9 to 26 February 2021 – 9.00 am.

INFORMATION

Please find the 2020 Annual Report inclusive of the proposed 2020 AGM minutes (pages 21-22) and Financial Reports (pages 18-20) relating to The INSEAD Club of Singapore (INSEAD Alumni Association Singapore).

Don’t hesitate to contact our President Cintia Tavella MBA’07D, IDP-C’20Jun, Secretary Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan, or Treasurer Amy Xu MBA’14J if you have questions by 25 February.

ELECTRONIC VOTING

Members will receive an email from Brad Fraser [email protected] with the subject: INSEAD Alumni Association Singapore Annual General Meeting 2021 – Voting. Do check your SPAM folder if you have not received this email.

We require your participation to vote on 3 motions:

1. Vote on the proposed 2020 AGM minutes (pages 21-22) and

2. Vote on the 2020 Financial Reports (pages 18-20) of the 2020 Annual Report

3. Vote to elect the following:

  • New Board Members at 2021 AGM:
    • President: Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan
    • Secretary: Bradley Fraser MAP’18Apr
    • Board Member (Diversity and Inclusion): Boby Johnson EMBA’16Dec
    • Board Member (Lifelong Learning and Career Development): Abdullah (Apo) Ozkececi MCCC’19Dec-S
    • Board Member (Mentorship): Brenny Wang TIEMBA’20Jan
  • Re-Election for a second term for:
    • Board Member (Marketing and Communications): Jean-Francois Legourd MBA’12D

THANK YOU

We thank the following members for their contributions:

Retiring in 2021

  • Board Member for 8 years and President for 4 years Cintia Tavella MBA’07D, IDP-C’20Jun.
  • Honorary Auditor Jisun Min MBA’11D after volunteering for full 3 years term.

Joining in 2021

  • Honorary Auditor Thomas Friis-Hansen MBA’99J

PRESIDENT SELECTION AND TRANSITION

Cintia’s second term finishes at our 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 26th Feb 2021. We thank her for her 8 years tenure dedicated to the Alumni Association of Singapore and her 4 years tenure as President. She has contributed significantly to the community in Singapore. Cintia has significantly grown engagement and membership within the INSEAD Alumni community. She has also expanded the team of volunteers and supported the launch of a number of clubs in Singapore, including the first club in the Alumni Community across the world for RLCG (Retail Luxury and Consumer Goods), OUTsead (LGBTQIA+). She is also responsible for publishing and launching ​“​The Corporate Governance Journey for Alumni Associations – Corporate Governance Handbook 2019”, and numerous other achievements.

The President selection process kicked off in Oct 2019. The Alumni Association Executive Committee unanimously voted for ​Jaz Chua (TIEMBA’16Jan​) to assume the role of the next president. Jaz served with the Women in Business club where she organized activities for International Women’s Day and Global INSEAD Day. Subsequently, she served as the Secretary of the ​Alumni Association of Singapore​ for over 4 years and Vice-President elect for the last 8 months. She has also successfully led our Career Development & Lifelong Learning initiatives for the past year.

Business as a Force for Good Award – 2021

Submit a nomination

In the years following World War II, Georges Doriot came up with the idea that the world needed a new kind of educational institution—one that united people, embraced diversity, and leveraged business to rebuild nations and promote peace. He envisioned an institution that could make a meaningful contribution to society.

That institution, of course, was INSEAD. In the decades since its founding in 1957, our school has never wavered from that vision. Our belief in using business as a force for good has come to define who we are, what we stand for and how we conduct ourselves in the world.

The INSEAD Alumni Association Singapore is proud to announce that this year’s “Business as a Force for Good” Award is open for nominations.

What is the Award about?

The award will recognize INSEAD alumni with businesses in Singapore who have demonstrated thought-leadership with respect to “Business as a Force for Good”, have a vision, mission statement and strategy clearly demonstrating their commitment, have developed corporate social responsibility best practices and have achieved remarkable economical results and meaningful societal impact.

The award will be presented during the Association’s Annual General Meeting 2021, which will be hosted on 26 February 2021 in Singapore.

Top nominees and the award winner will gain visibility through various PR activities and social media articles sharing details about the award and their company’s accomplishments.

What is the selection criteria?

A jury made of alumni leaders from various industries will identify the award winner. Selections will be based on the positive impact the organization has had on society through its corporate social responsibility program or its core business activities.

How can you participate?

Please simply complete this link with the name of either your company or a company that you know well, deserving to be nominated. We will need the name of a representative (yourself or another contact person who is an INSEAD alum) whom the selection committee will contact for further details. Nominations must be received no later than 5 January 2021. 

The “Business as a Force for Good” Award is a wonderful opportunity to recognize best practices, to give visibility to deserving companies and to promote INSEAD’s mission. We are very much looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Questions? Feel free to reach out to us.

Business as a Force for Good, Singapore Edition – Past Winners

The company aims to fight climate change in Singapore and Indonesia. RPRE helps businesses operating in remote off-grid areas switch from fossil fuel energy sources to clean renewable energy, primarily solar and batteries. In addition, they have an inclusive hiring policy such as working with the UNHCR to hire Afghanistan refugees in Indonesia and hiring people from disadvantaged backgrounds (such as persons with disabilities) in Singapore.

  • 2019: ECOSOFFT, Marcus Lim TIEMBA’13 and Stanley Samuel TIEMBA’13

This social enterprise aims to address the global challenge of water shortage, scarcity and quality. ECOSOFTT has delivered more than 50 projects, providing safe drinking water to thousands of people; reduced fresh water intake by almost five-million litres per day, and reclaimed millions of litres of dirty water for re-use.

Message on behalf of the MBA students – support with projects

INSEAD students launched a Business Projects Platform in April to connect alumni with current students to work on short-term projects. It has had big success with over 300 projects received and close to 600 student applications in two months. Project topics range from AI to fashion, size from one-founder startups to companies with billions in revenue – all types of projects are welcome.

If you have a project you would like to engage INSEADers for, please fill out this survey and the opportunity will be posted within a couple of days for students to apply for. It is a great way to stay connected with INSEAD and to get some help with your projects & ventures.

2020 AGM – electronic voting notice

Notice is hereby given that electronic voting will be conducted for 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) from 14 to 29 April 2020.

INFORMATION

Please find the 2019 Annual Report inclusive of the proposed 2019 AGM minutes (pages 21-22) and Financial Reports (pages 18-20) relating to The INSEAD Club of Singapore (INSEAD Alumni Association Singapore). We revised the Constitution and Bye-Laws during the 2019 AGM. The revised constitution was submitted to the Registry of Societies and has been approved.

Please refer to these documents:

Don’t hesitate to contact our President Cintia Tavella MBA’07D, Secretary Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan, or Treasurer Abel Van Staveren EMBA’08Dec if you have questions by 20th April.

ELECTRONIC VOTING

Due to Covid-19 and the measures put in place, we have changed the AGM to electronic voting.

Members will receive an email from Jaz Athenia Chua [email protected] with the subject: INSEAD Alumni Association Singapore Annual General Meeting 2020 – Voting. Do check your SPAM folder if you have not received this email.

We require your participation to vote on 3 motions:

  1. Vote on the proposed 2019 AGM minutes (pages 21-22) and
  2. Vote on the 2019 Financial Reports (pages 18-20) of the 2019 Annual Report
  3. Vote to elect the following:
  • New Board Members at 2020 AGM:
    • Treasurer: Amy Xu MBA’14J
    • Board Member (Clubs & Interests Groups): Julie He MBA’13D
    • Board Member (Professor & Company Visits): Tan Eng Hwa TIEMBA’16Jan
  • Re-Election for a second term for:
    • Secretary: Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan

THANK YOU

We thank the following retired board members for their contributions

Retiring in 2020

  • Abel Van Staveren EMBA’08Dec for his role as a Treasurer for 4 years and a mentor to the Exco and Alumni
  • Ankit Kedia MBA’14D for his role as Board Member of Lifelong Learning and Career Development as well as leading Global INSEAD Day 2019

Retired in 2019

  • Lydia Astill for her role as Executive Director for nearly 4 years.
  • Rani Francois-Marie Saad AMP’15N for his role as a Board Member in Clubs & Interests Groups, onboarding clubs during his tenure, onboarding FUTR event for Alumni and his role as the NAA representative for DUAL.
  • Reshmi Rajendran EMBA’16Dec for her role as Board Member (Sustainable Innovation) organising events and panel discussion with industry professionals and professors.
  • Amit Puri MBA’06J for his role as a Vice President and organising company visits and professor series

Updated: Corporate Governance Handbook for Alumni Associations

We are pleased to share with all our INSEAD Alumni community and the Alumni Associations across the world, the newly revised and edited version of the Corporate Governance Handbook for Alumni Associations produced by the Singapore Alumni Association to help build scale and efficiencies for all Associations across the globe.

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