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Kopi with LHUBBERS - Navigating Adversity to Inspire Meaningful Change

Opinions 21 Mar 2024

A cup with Low Choon Chye, Head of Sustainability, NTUC LearningHub

By Steven Lee, Brand & Communications, NTUC LearningHub

It was a typical sweltering day when I had the pleasure of meeting Choon Chye. Dressed in a sharp pink business shirt and grey pants, his vibrant demeanour exuded confidence and charisma, reflecting his assuredness in his endeavours.

With over six years of tenure at NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB), Choon Chye has amassed considerable experience and knowledge, which he is eager to share with his colleagues or fellow LHUBBERS as we fondly call ourselves.

Quest to Inspire Positive Change
“My quest to inspire others started during my university days,” shared the Head of Sustainability at NTUC LHUB.

Driven by an earnest desire to enact meaningful change, Choon Chye spoke with profound enthusiasm: “I was fortunate to receive the Singapore National Cooperative Federation (SNCF) scholarship, which bore the emblematic motto ‘Scholars with a Heart’. I found resonance in its ethos, and this fuelled my aspirations to lead, serve, and contribute towards creating a better world for our community.”

With Aerospace Engineering as his major and Business as a minor, Choon Chye explained how this combination endowed him with indispensable skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. "While engineering modules provided a solid foundation, it was the nuances of business studies that captivated me, leading me to my current role at NTUC LHUB, where contributing to organisational growth and collective endeavour brings me immense fulfilment."

As I delved deeper into Choon Chye's journey, it became clear that his work is not merely a job – it is a purposeful venture aimed at transforming lives.

Curious about his perspective on leadership, I posed a question: "How have your insights into leadership evolved since taking on a leadership role in the workplace?"

Nurturing Leadership and Self-Management
“After assuming a leadership role, I have learned hard lessons as a leader. Management is an ongoing learning process. It is difficult to get everything right on the first try,” he said.

"A leader's role is to recognise the potential in each individual, enabling them to leverage their unique strengths for collective success. Embracing diversity is paramount; acknowledging that everyone brings distinct perspectives, experiences, beliefs, and values to the table. I cannot impose my own viewpoints and expect blind compliance.”

He emphasised that genuine leadership entails authenticity and sincerity, fostering a shared belief in the organisation's vision. “It is through this genuine connection that true innovation flourishes,” he continued. “But the hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself,” said Choon Chye, drawing inspiration from Bill George's poignant words.

In addition to highlighting the significance of self-leadership and resilience, Choon Chye has underscored the vital role of establishing clear communication channels to amplify the value and benefits of NTUC LHUB's training programmes among key partners, trainers, and trainees. “In my capacity as a course developer and curriculum architect, I endeavour to articulate and exemplify the value proposition to diverse stakeholders, ensuring alignment with organisational objectives and fulfilling diverse customer needs. A notable example is our partnership with electric carmaker BYD which focuses on the importance of electric vehicle (EV) safety and maintenance procedures and processes, thereby catering to other learners beyond EV technicians.”

“However, our very first class did not garner many sign-ups. This was disappointing and demoralising to my team. Yet, we went ahead after much discussion and support from our partner, BYD. I learned that despite initial setbacks, I should remain resolute in my pursuit of collective success. With patience and perseverance, I fostered an environment within my team where setbacks serve as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks in achieving our goals. Today, I am happy to share that classes are going well!” said Choon Chye.

Choon Chye also emphasised the importance of collaboration with industry partners to provide clients with the knowledge and expertise needed to thrive in the emerging green economy. “Regardless of the challenges faced, I strongly believe that we remain in a good position to champion sustainability in Singapore,” Choon Chye exclaimed.

Empowering Futures through Lifelong Learning
By now, it is evident that Choon Chye cherishes cultivating a growth mindset. But how does he translate this value into action? "I strongly advocate for lifelong learning as a catalyst for personal and organisational growth," he emphasises. "With unwavering support from my mentors, I embarked on a journey of professional development, pursuing the WSQ Diploma in Design and Development of Learning for Performance (DDDLP) and the Advanced Certificate in Learning and Assessment (ACTA). These courses have not only enriched my understanding of learning theories but also bolstered my ability to craft impactful curricula, facilitating profound learning journeys."

"As Head of Sustainability, I've cultivated a keen awareness of aligning business objectives with learning initiatives, while also considering the diverse attributes and profiles of our learners."

Choon Chye's journey at NTUC LHUB so far has underscored his dedication to enhancing the employability of workers in Singapore. "As I continue along this path, I'm humbled by the opportunity to contribute to shaping a brighter future for both individuals and organisations. I aim to inspire others through meaningful actions,” he reflected.

"And I hope that my work serves as inspiration for others to cultivate a growth mindset and effect meaningful change in their own lives." Choon Chye concluded.

Working Towards a Future Together
My kopi session with Choon Chye was both extensive and enlightening. Throughout our discussion, he generously shared insights into leadership, illuminating the diverse perspectives and styles inherent in effective leadership.

"Leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in our charge,” Choon Chye said, quoting Simon Sinek.

Despite his ascent to a leadership role, Choon Chye remains grounded, never losing sight of the journey that brought him to where he stands today. He acknowledges the hard work, dedication, and the invaluable support of his colleagues who have contributed to his success.

“We never truly achieve on our own. Only when we come together can true transformation take place,” he said.

Choon Chye's ongoing leadership reminds us of the importance of leading with heart and compassion. There is still much to learn for Choon Chye, and the same can be said for the rest of us.

Reach out to our Skills Consultants to find out more about how you can transform your life through learning today!

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