For Brendan Seah, a communications & partnerships manager with Daughters Of Tomorrow, awareness is integral to advocacy. And awareness doesn’t have to come from formal education. It can be built from young or through real-life examples of how one should value others and treat them with respect and kindness.  

“If a child sees her mother being treated with respect, she will learn to respect her too,” he explains. So on top of imparting qualities such as compassion and equality, he feels it’s also important to make opportunities accessible to children of diverse backgrounds, learning needs, and genders.

Trained as a chemical engineer, Brendan took “the leap of faith” into public relations and events. He then ventured into retail and worked as a visual merchandiser for 14 years. He also set up a retailtainment consultancy. In 2020, Brendan joined Daughters Of Tomorrow.      

Founded in 2014, Daughters Of Tomorrow has supported more than 1,000 women in Singapore through skills training, job bridging and befriending programmes. These women come from families that earn between $200 and $650 per month, and struggle to break out of unemployment and poverty.

Inspired by its vision of empowering women and enabling families, Brendan created a platform #21DaughtersStories to show women as Changemaker, Sheroes or Givers last year.   

While employment is an important aspect to the women’s success, says Brendan Seah, it doesn’t necessarily solve all the issues. So the communications & partnerships manager with Daughters Of Tomorrow is working hard to get more people to attend poverty sensitisation workshops.

“Each story was beautifully nominated by either themselves, friends, families or children of these women. All finalists’ stories highlighted journeys that were brave, resilient and mind-blowing traits that would shed light on Singapore,” Brendan says.

“Despite circumstances, these women are still standing tall, living life to the fullest, supporting themselves and their families, contributing to the larger community and, for some, making this world a better place. We have so much to learn from them through their stories and journey.”

Why Daughters Of Tomorrow?

The job found me! It was 2020 and Singapore was plagued by Covid-19. I was trying to figure out how to push forward my own retailtainment consultancy amid the pandemic. Meanwhile, a friend of an ex-boss recommended me to Ms Fannie Lim, executive director of Daughters Of Tomorrow.

It would be my first role in a non-profit so I was nervous yet excited. I also wasn’t sure if I could adapt to an all-female environment. But I knew I could use my skills in storytelling, visuals and videography to support its work in uplifting and amplifying voices of the community. It brought me back to my younger days, when I was bullied at school and felt I needed to dull my shine. Hey, this was an opportunity to help everyone shine!  

I kept my consultancy business running, albeit on a project basis as I spend most time at Daughters Of Tomorrow. Being enterprising – that’s one of our values here – is something close to my heart and that motivates me to connect the dots in both roles.

What are your key job responsibilities?  

As the communications & partnerships manager, I lead a team to drive efforts in public relations, brand development, as well as strategy and marketing.

I also help to develop the capacity of community partners to address the needs of our beneficiaries. I work closely with partners to explore corporate skill-based volunteering initiatives and support key community partnership programmes, sharing with them our approach and best practices.

Daughters Of Tomorrow connects underprivileged women to job opportunities so they can achieve financial independence and social mobility. What are some difficulties they face?   

These women are in financial distress and unable to access employment due to:

  • Lack of confidence, social exposure, and mentorship
  • Lack of child-minding and practical resources to attend training and job interviews, and/or
  • Lack of awareness among employers of challenges faced by underprivileged job seekers

How have you and your team helped beneficiaries to overcome these challenges?  

Daughters Of Tomorrow has an Employ to Empower programme to enable these women to earn income, regain self-confidence and eventually play an active and productive role in our economy. It also invites businesses and companies keen to adopt empathetic hiring practices as their operational DNA to create employment opportunities for these women. 

For the Daughters Of Tomorrow Job Fair held on 29 October 2022, we successfully expanded the outreach to women by collaborating with Agape Connecting People. It is a contact centre that supports vulnerable communities through equal reskilling and employment opportunities. The job fair showcased job opportunities from 16 employer partner booths from different industries, including healthcare, beauty, food & beverage, retail hospitality and education.

Held on the same day was the Employer Award 2022. It recognises organisations that have hired our beneficiaries and embraced workplace schemes to enable employment for the underprivileged and empower mothers into financial independence. This year’s recipients included PCF Sparkletots @ Radin Mas Blk 18, Whiskdom, and Pink Parlour.

What other programmes do you plan to do more of and why?  

Everyone assumes employment will solve all the issues in our community. While this is an important aspect, every woman’s journey is unique so this may not be enough. There could be many other factors too.  

So we aim to get more people to attend poverty sensitisation workshops by Daughters Of Tomorrow. These events raise awareness of poverty in Singapore. Through our online or in-person poverty sensitisation workshops like “This Is My Experience” (TIME) and “Living On The Edge” (LOTE), others get a glimpse into the stressors that low-income women tackle every day. It helps participants to become more aware, empathetic and understanding of the community we serve. 

You can help to empower women and enable families through various programmes: Befriender, Volunteer Childminder, Supportive Employer, Poverty Sensitisation Workshops, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Donation/Fundraising. Find out more about these opportunities at Daughters Of Tomorrow here.

Photography: Studio Aeonz
Set Styling and Creative Direction: BDVA
Clothing and Accessories: Interviewee’s own
Makeup and Hair: Fifty Shades Makeup Academy
Products: COTY Inc.