Ms Low Yen Ling, Mayor of South West district and Parliamentary Secretary for Education, and Trade and Industry;
Mr Kirk Wagar, US Ambassador to Singapore
Mr Dwight Hutchins, Chairman of AmCham Singapore
Mr Timothy Teo, Chairman, St Luke’s Eldercare
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I’m really happy, and really touched, to be standing in front of you, to share with you a few words.
We are happy to partner with South West Community Development Council and St Luke’s Eldercare to launch the inaugural “Let’s Paint-A-VWO @ South West” community service project in support of AmCham Singapore’s Corporate Community Day 2016. This is an extension of an existing programme that South West CDC has been running for several years, to bring colour and vibrancy to the community.
I would like to say a few words about our company, Emergenetics.
Emergenetics is a US-based company. It is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Those of you who have been there, you would know of its beautiful mountains, and 300 days of sunshine. My partners are based there, and in 2005, they made Singapore its Asia Pacific home.
This is the result of a nice partnership between Singapore and USA, to create a company based in Singapore, to bring the products and solutions in people and organization development to this part of the world.
Over a period of 10 years, we’ve been growing. Singapore is a very special place to the global Emergenetics family because, for one, all of us in the Singapore office are Singaporeans or Singaporean PRs, and secondly, Singapore is also the first stop that Emergenetics has its first office outside of the USA.
And that’s why we need to do more for Singapore and Singaporeans. To give an example, last year when we were celebrating Singapore’s 25th birthday, we launched a huge initiative to make a difference to 50 Non-governmental organisations and voluntary welfare organisations based in Singapore. What did we do? We rallied our clients – because there is only 12 of us, and there is only so much that we can do – but we are very happy we had the partnership of our clients (our associates) who came forward, and together, we ran pro bono programmes for the leadership teams of these 50 organisations. And for this, AmCham Singapore gave us an award. Now, AmCham Singapore is very selective about the who they give out the awards to, so we are delighted and deeply encouraged to be given an award (knowing we are only a small team here in Singapore). We were one of 50 recipients of the AmCham Singapore AmCham Cares 2016 Award. That’s where we met the US Ambassador to Singapore. So we would like to say thank you to AmCham Singapore.
In March this year, we are honoured that Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Tan Chuan Jin launched the Emergenetics Realising Potential Initiative. We are now working with National Council of Social Services to run leadership development programmes for even more VWOs. The initiative will stretch over 25 months.
We are also looking at bringing our resources from the US to make a difference to Principals, Teachers, students and schools. Called STEP – Student-Teacher Emergenetics Programme, we have seen tremendous success of the programme in schools in the US in the area of promoting understanding among kids, anti-discrimination, anti-bullying, and better learning in the classroom. We are excited about the impact we can make here in the young human capital here in Singapore.
We became friends with Judith, the Executive Director of AmCham Singapore and her team, and they have been fantastic at supporting our work. She told us they were having this Corporate Community Day, and asked if we would like to participate. We had already turned her down once last year because the team was away, and we told ourselves, well we got an award, so we have to give back.
So we contacted our good friends at South West Community Development Council, and we told them we really want to do something for the community. The staff told us about St Luke’s Eldercare, and we were very touched by the work and the importance of the work. St Luke’s Eldercare had requested for their walls to be painted with murals. That’s why they suggested for us to take on this project called “Let’s Paint-A-VWO @ South West”, to bring colour to the life of the centre and the lives of the seniors.
We are in the business of people and organization development. We are not painters, and we are not artists – even though there are a couple of us who are designers – but the majority of us cannot draw to save our lives. Thankfully, the wonderful staff at South West CDC made this partnership really easy.
Meanwhile, colours mean a lot to us. In Emergenetics, we talk about thinking and behavioural preferences, and we use colours to represent the way that we think and the way we behave. So this wall mural painting project took on a deeper meaning for us. Not only can we bring colour to the centre, but at the same time, we can highlight the wonderful work of St Luke’s Eldercare and their work in the community.
We learnt that the seniors (the clients) of St Luke’s Eldercare were suffering from dementia and other challenges. The centre created all kinds of activities to engage them. One of the things they did was to create a comic book made up of beautiful drawings by the seniors. So we took inspiration from the artwork of the senior themselves. We looked at this (centre) as the home of the seniors during the day, and we wanted to be very sensitive and respectful in the way that we are contributing back, so we worked in close partnership with St Luke’s, and they taught us a lot, about the use of colours, the use of art and craft. We took they drawings of the seniors, some of whom are in their 70’s or 80’s, and incorporated into the design of the wall murals, and then for this project, we invited our clients, friends and family, to join us in putting colours to the wall. It doesn’t matter whether you are an artist or not, but everybody can put paint brush into paint and apply to a wall.
We are very encouraged by the turnout today, and this wouldn’t have been possible if not for the partnership with South West CDC and St Luke’s Eldercare, and the seniors as well.
We do a lot of reflection as a company on a daily basis, share what our experiences are, what have we learnt. Our entire business is built on one purpose statement – WE Value People, so that is how we operate as a business. We focus a lot on individual and team development – I mean, if our business is to help other companies build their people and organization, then it’s important that we walk the talk. In talking to my team, one of my team members remarked: wow, I never realized that there is so much going on in the community. Sometimes we are so busy with our work, chasing after deadlines, that we tend to forget, some of the simpler things in life, or some of the more important things in life.
So through this project, we have also benefitted. It’s not like we are just here to give, and the seniors or St Luke’s are just taking, but they have given us so much more to us in return as well. We want to encourage other companies to step forward, to volunteer your time and resources, partner with South West CDC – ok, a bit of a declaration here – I’ve been volunteering with South West CDC since 2006, so this is a bit of a plug, but I really think that it is important for us to continue to contribute back to the very community that we are based in, because if we are not back, I don’t know who else will.
On that note, I would like to say thank you to Mr Ambassador and Mayor, our distinguished guests, our partners, our clients, our family and friends, as well as the wonderful seniors for showing us the way, for being such an inspiration, for teaching us valuable lessons about life, as well as contribution, and I look forward to many more of such projects – done not just by ourselves, but many other US companies based in Singapore as well.
Thank you very much.
Terence Quek, PBM
CEO, Emergenetics Asia Pacific[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]