Tricia Kat and Jenny Chew

Be inspired by the sharing of career switching and transiting into the field of service design leadership role.

In May 2021, I was invited by Service Design Network Singapore (SDNSG) to be a mentor for the first wave of their inaugural mentorship programme. This is where I met my mentee, Tricia Kat, an inspiring and passionate leader who made the brave move to switch to the healthcare industry after almost 20 years in aviation, designing and operationalizing best in class patient experience services (proud of you Tricia!). 

During our first meet up over Zoom, Tricia asked me what to expect as it’s her first time being mentored in this programme. Here is my response after being an experienced mentor and coach of over more than 25 years across industry background and cultural intricacies.

A mentee is someone who seeks the advice of a mentor to gain a higher knowledge and tap into experienced perspectives to further develop on a personal and professional basis.

A mentor acts as a trusted counsellor, coach, confidante, role model, guide, advisor, and "voice of experience". Both personal and professional discussions are the basis of a close, trusting, and respectful relationship.

My Mentoring Philosophy is simple: - I take pride in sharing my experience and guiding my mentees to cultivate both a meaningful career and a happy and well–balanced family/ life. I personally believe that this does not have to be mutually exclusive. It is a conscious choice. Through a transparent and trusting relationship, I help my mentee see options and opportunities, foster flexible and diverse thinking so that she/he can build the courage and self-esteem necessary to take action.

As one of the few SEA women leaders with trans-global commercial leadership experience, I hope to continue to inspire and be inspired by women in the workforce, who do not settle for less and strive to make a large impact in their community. I also hope to nurture the next generation of leaders to create and strengthen their communities through training, mentorship, and a network of diverse leaders.

I had always wanted a mentor (and become one eventually) but never came across anyone whom I could journey with. So when Raymond Tan from SDN SG asked me if I was interested to join its inaugural mentorship programme, I grabbed the opportunity. This had happened at a turning point of my career, when I was making a switch to a different industry – Tricia Kat, IHH Healthcare.

My mentor Jenny (Chew) was God-sent. She provided me clarity, structure and guidance as I navigated into my new job in a new industry and in a larger leadership role. She shared her personal ‘First 90 days” tips which provided a framework for critical success strategies for new leaders. I was pumped up and it really helped me settle into my new leadership role with more confidence.

Jenny and I hit it off very well. She was always open to any conversations, she asked questions that allowed me to reflect further and she was never prescriptive. The ‘freestyle’ nature of the SDN SG mentorship programme allowed me to grow as a service design leader which is just, if not, more important as practitioners move on to take up leadership roles. Jenny and I did not converse much on the technicalities of service design but more about how I can better coach and mentor my team to realise their full potential.

I gained so much from Jenny, as she had been generous in sharing her experiences. I hope that Jenny had also found the experience enriching. I am quietly certain that we will continue to engage each other, learn and grow together and I want to thank SDN SG for this wonderful experience.

Tricia's reflection

It has been a delightful experience mentoring Tricia. I have become the person I am today because of the many great mentors and coaches that have touched my life. Growing up, I never thought that I would be able to embark on a global career that has given me the opportunity to sharpen my knowledge, skills and attitude to strive in today’s VUCA world. It gives me great joy and fulfilment to watch my mentee develop and unleash their fullest potential. I believe that Tricia will become a great mentor herself, which is something she has demonstrated a keen interest in.

I am grateful to have met Tricia and I wish her all the best in her new leadership role that will leverage her transferable skill sets on service design - plus her positivity is a force multiplier! Also, a shout out to Raymond and Gary for the initiative behind this programme via Singapore Service Design Network.

Jenny Chew - GM Global Sales, Revenue Growth Management, Shoppers and Capability Fonterra

Jenny has 30+ years of global leadership experience in commercial and organization building, in FMCG and Play and Entertainment with Procter & Gamble, Hasbro and Fonterra. Also, a qualified IDEO Design thinking facilitator and a qualified Singapore Institute of Directors. Recognized SEA women leader, with experience across the USA, Greater China and the Asia Pacific. An Independent Board of Director for a Singapore public listed company, Board of Advisor for Revivo, Biotech start-up and Fasttrack, a start-up accelerate into Asia. An angel investor and a mentor for women entrepreneurs.

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