President Obama and Mrs. Obama to Join Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program Gathering in Kuala Lumpur; Plenary Speakers Include YB Hannah Yeoh, Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes, Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, Tim Brown, Arthur Huang, Helianti Hilman, Aaron Maniam, and Pat Dwyer
SINGAPORE – Seventeen leaders from, or based in Singapore have been selected as part of the inaugural cohort of Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific, a cross section of 200 emerging civic leaders from 33 nations and territories in the region, who will convene in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from December 10-14. The 200 Leaders represent public, private, and non-profit sectors, and they work on a variety of issues, ranging from education to environment to entrepreneurship.
Among the Singapore leaders who have been selected for the program are:
● Alan Wu, 35, is the youngest member of the Board of Directors of Oxfam Australia, one of Australia’s largest international development organisations. He is also the Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific at the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative that brings governments and communities together to advance reforms that make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable.
● Cheryl Chen, 35, is the Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability for Asia Pacific at S&P Global, and leads the efforts in the region with S&P Global Foundation grant initiatives and partnerships, employee volunteerism and corporate ESG practices. She previously served on Singapore’s National Youth Council from 2013-2017, and is a District Councilor with the South East Community Development Council.
● Cheryl Tan, 33, is the Festival Director of the Singapore Mental Health Film Festival, a ground-up initiative that seeks to challenge the social stigma that is attached to having a mental illness, and the discrimination faced by those affected by it. She is also the Founder of The Breathe Movement, a social enterprise that seeks to increase the emotional and mental resilience of individuals through the practice and philosophies of yoga.
● Daryl Goh, 25, is the Marketing Specialist at Potato Productions, a group of companies collectively dedicated to using technology and creativity for change. With a portfolio of companies in industries ranging from digital content to healthcare, Potato creates and supports innovative and experimental enterprises seeking to make a social impact. Daryl is also the Assistant Director of The T Project, Singapore’s first and only social service for the transgender community.
● Ellwyn Tan, 34, is the co-founder and Head of Business of BagoSphere, a workforce development company based in the Philippines. BagoSphere prepares young people to be future-ready by helping them develop critical human skills so they may achieve their full potential at work.
● John Tan, 37, is the CEO of Saturday Kids, a curiosity school for children and young adults, He is also an investor in tech startups and sits on the board of Ninja Van. Saturday Kids runs Code In The Community, a Google-sponsored initiative that is the largest free coding programme in Singapore.
● Ken Chua, 28, is the Director of (these)abilities, an inclusive design and technology agency that works with companies to build more inclusive products, services and environments that benefit persons with disabilities. Passionate about bridging the dichotomy between ‘smart nation’ and ‘inclusive society’, Ken has written and spoken on the topic at various platforms, including the World Economic Forum and UNESCO General Conference.
● Leanne Robers, 35, is an investor, advisor to startups, entrepreneur and community builder. She is Co-founder of She Loves Tech. Held in over 20 countries, it is the world’s largest startup competition and accelerator focused on women and technology. In addition, Leanne is a lead mentor at the Singapore Tourism Board accelerator and a member of the Strategic Resource Committee for Assisi Hospice.
● Miwa Chan, 35, is the Director of Strategic Partnerships of International Justice Mission, a global anti-slavery organization that protects people in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. She is also an Organizational and Executive Coach.
● Roshni Mahtani, 36, is the Group CEO and founder of theAsianparent.com, which reaches 30 million mums monthly. She has over 15 years of mediatech experience across the US and Asia Pacific. Roshni is also an Executive Producer of Untouchable: Children of God, a documentary about young girls sold and trafficked in the brothels of South Asia.
● Sazzad Hossain, 25, is the founder and CEO of SDI Academy, an ed-tech social enterprise that champions the welfare of migrant workers and refugees through courses in English communication, IT literacy, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. SDI has trained over 7,600 migrants and refugees.
● Sherry Soon, 38, is a special needs educator and the founder of Be Kind SG, a ground-up movement that aims to inspire acts of kindness via micro-volunteering opportunities and outreach to the ‘less visible’ communities in Singapore, such as adults with special needs by visiting and engaging residents in welfare homes. Sherry has an autoimmune disease, vasculitis, that involves inflammation of the blood vessels and runs a support group for people with autoimmune diseases.
● Timothy Low, 30, is the COO of Halogen Foundation, a youth development nonprofit organisation making quality character education accessible and available to young people, particularly the underserved youth communities. Timothy previously exited an EduTech startup, developed founders in a deep tech accelerator, and volunteers with the Birthday Collective, engaging a community of over 200 writers of the annual Birthday Book. Timothy was also one of the 21 young leaders who helped the Obama Foundation design the Leaders: Asia-Pacific programme.
● Vivian Lim, 29, is the co-founder of Women In Asia, a platform which uncovers hidden stories of women around Asia, aiming to bridge cultural and gender differences. Women In Asia brings together catalysts, thinkers and thought leaders to build an open and inclusive community. She is also the lead curator of TEDxSingapore.
The Leaders: Asia-Pacific gathering will serve as the kick-off event for a year-long leadership program and is designed to further inspire, empower, and connect the emerging leaders to change the world. While in Malaysia, the Leaders will be joined by prominent speakers and thought leaders who will discuss topics such as progress and opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region, values-based leadership, and the intersection of purpose and entrepreneurship during a series of plenary sessions.
In addition to President and Mrs. Obama, confirmed speakers include:
● YB Hannah Yeoh, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development;
● Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes, Malaysian entrepreneur and co-founder of AirAsia;
● Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, Director of External Affairs at the Green Climate Fund;
● Tim Brown, co-founder of Allbirds;
● Arthur Huang, Taiwanese entrepreneur and founder of Miniwiz;
● Helianti Hilman, Indonesian entrepreneur and founder of JAVARA;
● Aaron Maniam, member of the Singapore Administrative Service; and
● Pat Dwyer, Director and founder of The Purpose Business.
The five-day convening in December will also consist of skill-building workshops, leadership development training, and opportunities for Leaders to connect with one another. Leaders will have a chance to apply their skills and knowledge to various real-world scenarios while using creative, values-driven approaches to problem-solving. Additionally, to underscore the important relationship between service and leadership, Leaders will participate in a community service project.
Although the gathering is closed to the general public, the plenary sessions will be made available via livestream at obama.org.
Each Leader’s journey of growth will continue remotely for a year after the gathering, through webinars and a virtual speaker series, as well as support, amplification, and other opportunities from the Foundation.
The Asia-Pacific program follows the Obama Foundation’s inaugural international Leaders program launched in Africa in 2018 and represents the Foundation’s commitment to the region, along with the belief that these emerging leaders, through the extraordinary work they do in their own communities, have the potential to positively affect change across the globe.
Meet the inaugural Leaders: Asia-Pacific cohort and learn more about the program at: https://www.obama.org/asia-pacific-19/.