People often ask me if I bleed blue. Yes! 2016 marks my 15 years with Edelman. Aside from the thrill of working with the brightest and the best talent, and a stimulating array of clients, part of the reason I have enjoyed a seasoned tenure is the variety of increasing stretch goals that Edelman has made available to me as I've reached the next level.
As I get ready to represent Edelman as part of The IWF Leadership Foundation’s 2016-2017 Fellows Class, I can’t help but feel both excited and intimidated to be part of a group of 34 rising women leaders from 13 nations, from companies including Accenture, FedEx, BAE Systems, Air New Zealand, Cisco and Unilever. This weekend's kick off alongside IWF’s Chicago Conference will be followed by more than a month of classes and workshops at Harvard and INSEAD over the coming year. It's a huge honor to be selected by our leadership team to be the first Edelman woman to represent our firm at a global level as an incoming IWF 2016-2017 Fellow. I am equally proud to be joined by five outstanding Edelman colleagues attending the conference. I know this will be the ultimate stretch professionally and personally.
For those of you who don't know me, I started at Edelman Singapore in 2003 as the head of two major technology clients, and then moved on to start and lead the Corporate and Financial Communications practice. Back then, Edelman's expansion into Asia was in its infancy and we were all but 20 people in Singapore. In 2008, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend four challenging but rewarding years at our New York HQ working in Corporate and Public Affairs, before returning to Singapore in 2012. I'm pleased to say Edelman Singapore is now one of the many shining lights in the network at 120 people with two other sister brands and we are about to move next month to a spanking new office that's twice as big as our current space.
On paper, this may seem like a hop skip and a jump up the corporate ladder. It has not always been easy, but along the way, I can truly say that many amongst Edelman's leadership have helped me. Edelman has met me at every step of the way when I was ready for a new challenge. I have chosen to pay that forward in my own way, including representing the women of Edelman as part of GWEN. GWEN, or Global Women’s Executive Network, is an empowered group of over 1,000 people who are committed to networking, mentoring, recruiting, collaborating and career planning for women at Edelman. Our objective is to increase the presence of women leaders at the most senior levels of our firm and create an environment where women are encouraged to lead and succeed.
The IWF aims to brings together an unprecedented global membership to exchange ideas, learn, inspire, and build better leadership for a changing world. This might sound lofty but when I reached out to a past Fellow to ask for time at her convenience so I could better prepare myself, she replied me within an hour, offering her time and then, met with me for over two hours. This is truly admirable as she had nothing to gain and might I add, she is one of the top regional executives for one the world’s largest technology companies, manages multiple regions and travels constantly.
While you can find me religiously reading the Economist or Bloomberg, it has been almost 20 years since I last picked up a textbook. While collecting my extensive reading list for the IWF program, I was afraid that old habits of procrastination and cribbing may become fast friends of mine again, but with the outstanding caliber of women in my cohort to motivate one other, I have every incentive possible to represent them, my team in Singapore and all the women of Edelman with studious diligence.
So this week, I'm back to school, and at a prestigious platform of accomplished women, thanks to Edelman. I promise to keep you apprised of my journey.
I'm happy to answer your questions at Amanda.Goh@edelman.com. I'd also encourage you to take your manager out for coffee, as I have done many times over the past 15 years, and talk about where you want to go in your companies and life in general.