Candidates Portfolio for SMU Alumni Association 8th Executive Committee


See Jingzhong

I am JZ and I graduated from BBM Dec 2006 and MWM Jul 2013. During my undergraduate days, I served in the SMU Sports Union, SMU Climb Team, SAC and also on the 4th SMUX Crew.  I have been with the SMUAA Exco since 2008. The main reason I choose to be involved is to repay all the good SMU did for me. Student today, alumni for life! Being with SMUAA has helped me stay in touch with professors and school mates and one day I hope to teach in SMU.

Over the last few years of being in SMUAA Exco, we have progressed by leaps and bounds. Going forward, I intend to continue supporting OAR and SMUAA in every way that I can. With OAR's Professor Low's exemplary leadership and strong support, I am confident that OAR and SMUAA would reach out to even more SMU alumni, strengthen the relationship between alumni and SMU, and foster a strong SMU spirit. We promise to build a highly engaged, passionate and cohesive alumni community with lasting ties to SMU. Might of one, strength from all.

Jolyn Chua

I’m a climber, hitchhiker and marketer at Discovery Channel. Life after university has been a fun rollercoaster ride in the film and tech industries, interspersed with an unforgettable New Zealand working holiday and 2-year long sabbatical around the world.  The alumni community has always been a group that I could relate to, not to mention chill out and share valuable work connections with. Through attending numerous networking and festive events and hosting SMU exchange students, the experience of reconnecting with fellow alumni and staff over the years has been fulfilling.

The new directions SMUAA has been taking, especially securing a home base (B3 Bistro) is exciting and I hope that my skills in creatives and marketing would come in handy to support the team in growing members and creating a more connected community between students, alumni and the school staff. I believe strengthening the partnerships SMUAA in terms of new learning and networking opportunities is a way forward, and this can be done through inviting renown speakers from varying industries to share their insights and experiences in industry-specific events.

In terms of boosting memberships, getting sponsors to come on to provide a decent welcome package for new members is an option. Add a personal touch to retaining existing members by sending festive greeting cards to remind them of the additional exclusive benefits and new perks every quarter. It would also be great to add on the play aspect, bringing together alumni and their family for days off through outdoor activities like kite-flying, yoga and music performances.

The beautiful thing is that many alumni have opportunities abroad and here, and often have many things on their plate. Let’s make reconnecting a seamless, pain-free process and have a major event once a year inviting alumni from all walks of life to inspire the next generation!

Yeo Ying Hao

What do you do :
I am a Management Associate at Citi, having graduated from LKCSB and SOA. Out of work, I am an avid musician. I own a company that does string quartet performances, am a resident conductor of a choir, and perform regularly as a keyboardist in my Chinese pop band.

Why are you running for SMUAA’e Exco,  and what motivated you to do so?  What are your strength and how do you think you can contribute to SMUAA :
I am running because I feel that SMU has made me who I am today and I currently have the bandwidth to do a small part in contributing back to the SMU community. I believe that a strong alumni network is great for everyone who is or has been associated with the institution, and it will be this sense of service as well as optimism in the cause that will guide the performance of my duties if elected.

What are your plans for SMUAA, and why so. What do you hope to achieve during your team of office and how do you think we can achieve that? What are the challenges ahead that you foresee :
I hope to help alumni, faculty and current students alike feel a stronger sense of belonging to SMU, that they don't sign up for memberships just to use the library and gym facilities, but genuinely like coming back and are welcomed all the time. It is inevitable that personal priorities change as we go through different life stages, but it will be down to the Exco to make sure that SMUAA remains relevant to everyone who has at some point in their lives spent most of their waking hours in this little part of town.

What are your thoughts on the responsibilities and commitment expected from you? Any other things that you might like to share :
I was not forced or guilt tripped into this, and I am aware of what is required of and expected from me.

Nicholas Wong

I am currently responsible for business development for a European investment management company. In my role, besides marketing the existing range of investment solutions, I am also responsible for generating new ideas for our product development team.

Over the past 2 years, I have enjoyed volunteering my time with the Singapore Management University Alumni Association (SMUAA), I serve the Executive Committee as Vice President; my portfolio rotated between managing the Association’s marketing programme, IT infrastructure as well as strategic initiatives and liaisons with external parties.  As a 15 year old university, SMU is akin to Singapore, a young nation with the need to forge close bonds, network and an identity. Part of the SMUAA long term strategic plan is to build our own guild house through the acquisition of real estate. I hope the knowledge gathered through my work experience will serve this strategic vision. I joined the SMUAA Exco hoping to give back what SMU has given me, an opportunity to be different and make a difference. I am confident working with the new Exco will help me make that difference.

Jeanie Lee

Hi everyone, my name is Jeanie and I am currently an Exco member in the Post-Grad Alumni Chapter for Master of Communications Management (MCM) Programme, for almost 2 years. I did my Bachelor's degree at NUS, my first Master's degree at NTU and my second Master's degree at SMU. But this is the first time I have felt motivated to want to serve continuously for alumni, and hence want to try out for SMUAA Exco, even as I am finishing my current term at MCM Alumni Exco. Reason is that the SMU education is a model I strongly believe in. I enjoy the interactions and I love the way we embrace alumni and make the alumni scene so happening and alive. I appreciate the networking opportunities and professional development that SMU students and alumni enjoy, and more importantly the connection we feel to our alma mater.

I love SMU and hence would love to contribute further. I currently work as a communications professional in the public sector, but hold professional certifications in music education and play four music instruments - I used to be in working committee organising the Singapore Youth Festival satellite celebrations as well. I also have a computing degree. These 3 areas (which explains the diversity of my studies) and also the different career pathways in my life are what I believe will value add my perspectives, as well as help me better listen in to alumni voices and act on feedback as SMUAA exco.

As a post grad alumnus, I see a lot of potential for SMUAA to create greater collaborations and exchange between post grad alumni, undergrads and undergrad alumni. This could be both professional and educational. As a post grad myself, I would also like to bring perspectives of how SMU post grad alumni too feel passionately about contributing towards their alma mater, and how we could also better link up and serve the SMU post grad alumni cohort that is growing in numbers every year.

I am no stranger to alumni or committee roles. Aside from currently serving as SMU MCM exco, I have also served before as President of Toastmasters Clubs (Public Speaking), both in university undergrad clubs and alumni clubs, as well as Division Secretary for Toastmasters International before.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn - search for "Jeanie Lee". And thank you for voting for me! :) 

Gerald Tan

What do you do :
I am currently a Senior Associate at the Singapore-associated office of an international law firm, Osborne Clarke, specialising in intellectual property and technology law. I am also regularly involved in pro bono legal work, including volunteering for the Singapore Law Society and assist other organisations such as the Legal Aid Bureau and A*Star’s start-ups.

Why are you running for SMUAA’e Exco : 
As a Juris Doctor graduate from the class of 2012, School of Law, I am grateful for the opportunities that SMU has provided me, and wish to contribute to SMU and the SMU alumni community. I have ideas (as set out below) that I believe will be of value to and benefit SMU and SMUAA.

What motivated you to do so :
SMU provided me with the opportunities and resources to attain my law degree – I was a grateful recipient of the JD Scholarship – as well as to develop my soft-skills. I benefitted immensely from the dedication of the faculty and other staff members of the university, who were supportive throughout my time in SMU and even after. As a member of the EXCO, I hope to pay forward my gratitude and also cement my connection with SMU and its alumni.   

What are your strength and how do you think you can contribute to SMUAA :
As a lawyer, I bring strong analytical and drafting skills to the table, which I believe will be invaluable to the EXCO in meeting the challenges that it will face as SMUAA moves into its next phase development and grows its membership. Further, my experience in an international law practice and frequent interactions with international clients and colleagues has endowed me with a diverse and international outlook which is important when running an organization such as the SMUAA which seeks to look after varied interests of differing groups of individuals.

What are your plans for SMUAA, and why so :
(1)   Growing and retaining members. I believe that the SMUAA is at an inflexion point. It is likely that there will be a surge of membership in the next few years as the efforts of SMU’s expansion in previous years come to fruition. The incoming EXCO bears the responsibility to make the most of the surge of membership to ensure effective membership growth and retention initiatives.

(2)   Feedback-looping into SMU. SMUAA, like all alumni organisations, can contribute back to the university’s growth and strength. In contributing to the strength of the university, SMUAA would also therefore contribute to its own growth.

What do you hope to achieve during your team of office? How do you think we can achieve that. What are the challenges ahead that you foresee :
(a)    Focus on networking events as our alumni networks expand
·         Achieving this: Target off-campus activities, aim for co-hosting by other organisations, overseas chapters events (see next point).
·         Challenges: Convincing other organisations that it would benefit them too.

(b)   Establishment of overseas chapters
·         Achieving this: To start by reviewing sizeable SMU Alumni populations in cities outside of Singapore, organising drink events / pub events in various cities, appointment of chapter heads.
·         Challenges: Convincing other organisations that it would benefit them too.

(c)    Tech / start-up space
·         Achieving this: SMU has an edge here. We have a broad base of alumni from different disciplines relating to the tech / start-up space. We should grow our existing seminars / talks offerings, and use the current trend for tech / start-ups as a membership pulling tool.
·         Challenges: Competing with other event organisers.

(d)   Increased targeted outreach via social media
·          Achieving this: Encouraging use of Facebook groups among Alumni Groups and the main SMU Alumni Facebook group, facilitating greater interaction between undergrad student bodies and Alumni Group social media, more co-opting of alumni by featuring their professional successes (even the younger ones).
·         Challenges: Changing established behaviour.

(2)    Feedback-looping into SMU.
(a)    Mentorship programme
·         Achieving this: Review existing mentorship programme. To make it more meaningful if possible.
·         Challenges: Getting committed and good mentors.

(b)   Talks to undergrads by alumni on career options and experiences
·         Achieving this: This is relatively low-hanging fruit. Should be achievable. Dependaent on strength of Alumni Groups and networks.
·         Challenges: Incentivising alumni to come back.

What are your thoughts on the responsibilities and commitment expected from you :
Important that standards of commitment within the EXCO be upheld – the basics such as attendance, doing enough getting up before debating on the issues.

Any other things that you might like to share :
SMUAA started small, and has been growing steadily. The past few years saw quite a few leaps, with the Bistro as a key leap forward. I will be absolutely delighted to serve as an EXCO member in the coming term, and assist SMUAA to reach greater heights.

Deborah Wee :

I am the co-founder and Head of Operations & Customer Experience at HipVan. HipVan ( is an online furniture store that was started to make well-designed furniture and home furnishings affordable to everyone. We firmly believe that creating a home you love should be as easy as living in one and we intend to change the landscape of the furniture industry to allow everyday Singaporeans to do just that.

I have been involved in the SMU Alumni Association since 2011 and was the Vice President in the 5th & 6th Exco. I am currently the President of the 7th Exco and am running for the 8th Exco.

As a continuation from the current term, I would like to be able to follow up on the plans to further solidify the foundations and necessary processes for the alumni to achieve our greater dream of having guild house and be a force to be reckoned with. This is a lofty ambition but it is definitely possible and the road to pave this way forward must start now. I have plans to build on and further strengthen the relationship between the alumni and our alma mater SMU. In addition I am also looking to creating a more coherent journey for SMU students to become alumni when they graduate.

The value of our degree comes from the strength of the alumni and with the increasing number of graduates we have a healthy increase in the number of alumni every year.  My wish is to see a united front of all Alumni, where they are the best advocates of SMU itself. 

To continue the good work done, it is of paramount importance that the Executive Committee has a clear direction on the path ahead and understand the commitment and responsibilities required. With the new incoming Committee, I am confident that we have the right blend of talents to bring SMUAA to greater heights.

Allan Tan : 
Allan is responsible for the investment and treasury management of a Singapore/Japanese joint venture in the water treatment industry. As a shareholder rep, he also manages the relationships of key stakeholders such as the government, clients and media.

Over the past 2 terms, Allan served with the Alumin Exco through organising events which are relevant to the alumni community and driving the simplification of membership programs. His belief is that by helping to facilitate a conducive networking environment where regardless of wherever any alumni may be in the world today, everyone is a business connection and most importantly, a friend. 

Recognising that in years to come, the postgrad batch of SMU alumni will also become an increasingly sizeable portion of the community and being a postgrad alumni himself, Allan also hopes to lend his voice to help shape the strategic direction together with the new Alumni exco. 

Brennan Neoh :
I cycle and build awesome web platforms. Being a Ruby programmer for over a year now, I have learnt the finer art of blending technologies and humans. As an avid backpacker, I enjoy exploring obscure places, which explains my indulgence in bleeding edge technologies like cryptocurrencies.

SMU and her alumni is undergoing a transformation. We are no longer a young university with newer universities on the horizon. As we transition into becoming a globally recognised institution, I believe that my diverse world view will empower the association to pursue our current initiatives while adapting to new challenges. These current initiatives include engaging with our graduates and post-graduates through the various alumni chapters, and organising various workshops that better life and career skills.

I hope to further the intermingling between alumni chapters, current students and faculty members. Although the outcome of this is intangible, an exchange of ideas between the various facets of our alumni would help us find new perspectives, especially when we are working with new abstract concepts like cryptocurrencies, the sharing economy and maker culture. Helping to keep the alumni community brimming with the spirit of inquisitiveness would ensure that we will remain relevant in time to come.

Signing up to be elected is a commitment to ensure that the alumni will not merely be a membership card. As we will be alumni for life, we have to ensure that our strategy is well-aligned with the needs and wants of our present and future alumni members.