Do you have the grit it takes to be successful? Climbing your way up the career ladder can be fraught with so many obstacles that it takes a strong stomach and thick skin to navigate the pitfalls of working life.
Sometimes we need a little motivation to push through the negativity and help us on our quest to greatness. Reading stories of women who have overcome their setbacks is crucial in reminding us that it can be done.
Thankfully, The Singapore Women’s Weekly shines the spotlight on 18 outstanding, high-achieving working women every year in the Great Women Of Our Time awards in six respective categories.
Our previous nominees include a women’s rights activist who works with incarcerated mothers, Singapore’s very own G.I. Jane and a endurance marathon runner who pushes her body to its limits. This year, they are joined by the following nominees in the Public Service & Education category:
We asked these wildly successful ladies, who each possess different defining personality traits, about their path to glory.
Helping you find the best job match fast – that’s what Charlotte aims to do with JobTech, a company she started last year with business partner Ang Wee Tiong.
She shares, “Unemployment is something I’ve always been passionate about since my very first job at the Economic Development Board. I remember back in 2016, Singapore was hit by record unemployment rates and Artificial Intelligence was beginning to make waves in workforce disruption. So when I met Wee Tiong, we talked about how we could use this technology to help people find jobs amidst the gloom.”
JobTech is an artificial intelligence and big data analytics company that provides optimised job matching tools and real-time labour market intelligence. All job-seekers have to do is upload their resume on the JobTech website at no cost and the technology will reveal the day’s top five job openings that best match the individual’s skills.
“Every day we process 1.2 million global job postings to build a dynamic skills map that automatically shortlists the ideal candidates for employers,” says Charlotte. “From there, our cloud-based platforms help companies and employers connect in a manner that is much faster and cheaper than the current traditional recruiting tools that exist.”
In short, JobTech reduces the time it takes to hire a viable candidate and reduces the costs it takes to hire said candidate by generating a shortlist of talents for multiple positions across many sectors.
Charlotte is already looking to launch the next phase of the business by bringing the platform to Indonesia and Malaysia – both of which have huge labour demographics and market opportunities that will elevate the start-up’s profile.
When Judith’s middle child, Jake, was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy, global developmental delay, and congenital cataracts, her world came crashing down. But the determined mother-of-three also knew she needed to look for solutions if she wanted to give her son a chance in this world.
“We had amazing support from the doctors here,” she adds, “but there were some unique solutions that weren’t yet available in Singapore.”
Judith plunged headlong into research and travelled the world with Jake, in search of quality therapies. She finally found a form of suit therapy that worked for him.
Wanting to share the knowledge with parents and professionals here, Judith started organising yearly forums and hosting intensive therapy sessions whenever she invited teams from Canada and the US. “They were able to treat eight to nine kids each day,” she says.
Aware that many more kids could benefit from these therapies, Judith set up Wings early this year in the hopes of making previously inaccessible therapies available here.
She highlights, “My experiences in intensive therapy centres overseas were supportive and happy, and that’s why Wings is built like a home! We can make changes to many lives, and I hope that this centre helps to build a more socially inclusive community.”
Major Koh made history in Singapore’s military aviation as the RSAF’s first female UAV pilot in 2003. “The learning curve was steep during my time as a cadet, but I did not give up.” Determined to graduate as a qualified UAV pilot, she would often spend all her available time studying and practising (mental flying) during the weekends.
She states confidently, “I want to inspire other women in Singapore – that being a female doesn’t classify us as a weaker gender,” she says confidently. “We can play our part in defending our nation. With determination and perseverance, all things can be possible.”
As the UAV Chief Instructor in Air Force Training Command, she trains selected officer cadets to become UAV pilots. “I want to see my trainees successfully graduate and start contributing to our nation in a professional capacity. I feel a strong sense of satisfaction when they are finally qualified to wear the UAV Pilot Wings on their uniform!.”
“I’ve witnessed a few batches of graduates – some of my previous students have also stepped up to become instructors, doing their part to carry on the cycle of nurturing the next generation.”
Major Koh regularly hones her skills and maintains proficiency as an operational UAV pilot by flying the Heron 1 UAV.
“The Heron 1 is integral in the RSAF’s network of sensors and fighting systems. It can be deployed with fighters and attack helicopters, and against terrorist threats as it’s able to cover a wide area of surveillance.”
Major Koh, who has also participated in several overseas exercises, emphasises flying a UAV is nothing like playing a video game.
“We have real missions to perform, such as counter-terrorism and area surveillance. There are always inherent risks when flying UAVs in the sky, so we have to constantly ensure that all safety aspects are met,” she says.
“And unlike video games, we never go solo – team work is essential. When the UAV is on the ground, our Air Force Engineers ensure that it is serviceable for operations. During the flight, we work closely with the controllers who provide us with vital information. Ensuring mission success and safety takes team effort!”