Media and Articles

The Stellar Set May Event: “Navigating the Political Landscape at Work”

By Elaine Teo, Aug 31 2018

Can’t wait for the Stellar Set’s “The Gender Pay Gap – Negotiating What You Are Worth” on 13 Sep. Featuring 3 experts and a diverse community of committed supportive professional women, it’s sure to deliver like their May event on “Navigating the Political Landscape at Work” did.

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Those speakers used their experience and research to shed light on patterns that drive female vs male behaviours, eg prehistorically men hunted while women tended new life. This made men form task-oriented, variable, compartmentalising relationships whereas women tended to form deeper-trusting, longer-term, bond-oriented relationships, needing to seek out females safe enough to share the task of raising young.

They boiled politics down to successful relationships and influencing, sharing tools to map hierarchies at work to analyse the open/hidden relations of trust/distrust that crisscross a workplace. They shared how to stay authentic and administer vulnerability discerningly, marking a productive balance between being emotional and opaque.

There is an urgent need for status quo senior leaders to embrace diversity in their organisations through powerful affirmative acts, eg sponsoring female talents’ progress and speaking out against discrimination vs staying silent.

 

Mamta Featured on BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show “Are British Asians Pressured to Downplay Identity?”

By Mamta Saha, Aug 14 2018

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So good to witness the rising public interest and engagement with issues on diversity, inclusion, and identity.

The Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC Two is an award-winning daily current affairs programme covering leading issues of the day.

I was invited to share my views as a diversity expert and psychologist on a panel discussion of a recent BBC survey which revealed that 53% of British Asians, especially young people, had to “downplay their identity” in order to fit in.

Growing up British Asian myself, I appreciated the chance to share from my own experiences that personal mindset and family environment can play significant roles in influencing how much one’s identity is shaped by ethnicity or culture.

Diversity and inclusion are hot topics nowadays especially in corporate settings, where I see companies increasingly ready to embrace change and a more diverse workforce because they recognise the business advantages they stand to reap from an employee pool that is more creative, more representative of their changing client base, and less prone to psychological biases like “groupthink”.

It’s great to see primetime media like the Victoria Derbyshire show picking up on this momentum, getting more people aware of the challenges involved in embracing diversity so more can be done to encourage positive change.

 

Elaine’s Interview with BBC World “Talking Business” Aaron Heslehurst on Preparing Young People for Work

By Elaine Teo, July 31 2018

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An incredible experience going live in 200 countries on BBC World, interviewed by Aaron Heslehurst on “Talking Business” on the challenges of preparing young people for success in the workplace.

I highlighted the catastrophic mismatch between legacy education systems inherited from prior agricultural/industrial eras and the labour needs of the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) global economy, fuelled by tech and brand-new ways of creating value.

I argued for businesses and schools to start collaborating to address the labour shortfall, by exposing young people to business practices and delivering critical life skills training – from emotional intelligence to project planning – to students through their school years.

Given the strength of the US economy which will add yet more jobs to a marketplace already struggling to find suitable workers to fill existing vacancies, the stakes have never been higher for businesspeople, school leaders and policymakers to come together to solve this critical “skills gap” problem for youths and the workforce.

PS. Spot my daughter’s cameo near the end! Filmed by her brother live at BBC 🙂

Elaine Joins 52 Selected Singaporean Writers on “The Roads We Take” for The Birthday Book 2018 for Singapore

By Elaine Teo, Aug 11 2018

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There we were. 53 distinctive voices, a roster for diversity, a collective for a purpose.

The Birthday Book 2018 was launched today, hosted aptly enough by the Wee Kim Wee Centre in Singapore Management University.

From its site: “The Wee Kim Wee Centre is tasked to promote deeper understanding on the impact of cultural diversity on the business environment.

“The late Dr Wee Kim Wee…had a heart for people and for lifelong learning.

“It is in the spirit of his personality and character that the Centre hosts and supports lectures, conferences and publications. These aim to advance learning and thinking about cross cultural issues for all who appreciate the need for a profound appreciation of the similarities and the differences that mark our common humanity.

“It is a privilege and honour for this Centre in Singapore Management University to be associated with such a man who believed passionately in practising and fostering goodwill in a pragmatic world. The Wee Kim Wee Centre seeks to engender just such a passion in this age of global challenges, in appreciation of the wonderful man with whom it shares a name.”

Resonance lays onto resonance. For he was a family friend, President Wee. I did not know that the eponymous Centre was hosting this launch of the Birthday Book. Neither did I know him well enough to have the temerity to consider myself anything more than an acquaintance (and admirer), amongst his very many.

But I knew enough of the man, from the privilege of meeting him in private, and talking with him a number of times over the course of a decade, from the time I was due to go up to Oxford over twenty years ago.

Yes, I knew enough of the man. And his incomparable humanity. To read the above blurb, and know just how true it rings, for the human being I knew.

What stands out for me still, 13 years after his passing?

His ceaseless, probing curiosity, sharpened by his formative years as a journalist. His fibre and his courage, using his pen and his voice to consistently speak up for what must be highlighted and defended.

His smile, lighting up the corners of living room or banquet hall. His eloquence, which managed the rare feat of encapsulating the spirit of the common vernacular with the powerful, piercing, passionate prose of a true leader.

Labourer or royalty, all were received with the same warm objectivity, appreciation, and integrity that radiated from his core.

The effect was one of eliciting that same spirit – that which makes us all magnificently human – from each of these individuals, diverse as they were.

He had that gift.

To be on the receiving end of his attention made you simultaneously feel like striving to be the better version of yourself, yet valued for who you already are, and part of a bigger whole, to which you belong.

No small gift, that.

I call that the gift of the best kind of leader.

With a life lived like that – what better figurehead, for this article?

For I’m writing these words to introduce the essay I wrote as part of the Birthday Collective, a group of “young and passionate Singaporeans inhabiting different slices of Singapore society” who got together 3 years ago to write a collection of 51 essays on the prompt, “What is Singapore’s Next Big Thing?”.

Presented as a birthday gift to the nation and its people, the inaugural 2016 edition took the occasion of two watershed events in our national narrative that took place in 2015 – our 50th year as an independent nation, and the passing of our founding father Lee Kuan Yew – as the opportunity to gather a diversity of ,perspectives looking courageously and experimentally ahead at our individual and collective future.

Indeed, “The Roads We Take” was the prompt given to us writers invited to contribute to this year’s edition, the third in this remarkable series.

What did I write about?

I wrote about the need for each of us, individually and collectively, to honour the pioneering spirit of our founding fathers and mothers. And that we do this not only in thought, but in deed. With the same courage, vision, and grit.

For these, too, are gifts.

So, for reasons universal and personal, President Wee – I’d like to dedicate this post, and my essay, to you.

For the life you have lived, that serves as exemplar and legacy to all of us who would honour your memory for the selfsame reasons that the Centre hosting today’s Birthday Book launch bears your name today.

 

How Mindfulness can Transform Intercultural Training

By Elaine Teo, June 25 2018

 

Thrilled to announce the publication of two thought and practice leadership pieces I’ve written for my fellow intercultural trainers and consultants.

https://www.argonautonline.com/blog/how-mindfulness-can-transform-intercultural-training/

https://www.argonautonline.com/blog/how-to-get-started-with-mindfulness-in-your-intercultural-training/

These explain how mindfulness can be used by us interculturalists with our clients to transform the potency of our interventions.

Mindfulness and meditation are universal tools one can flexibly apply to enhance a wide, deep spectrum of performance improvement.

When I started exploring this intersection of mindfulness and cultures last year, this was uncharted territory – new ground.

So I wanted to write an intro practical enough for trainers who may know little about it to be able to weave the application of some basic mindfulness and meditation into their work.

Is mindfulness overrated? Have you tried it? Are you a convert? Have you applied it to your practice? What have you noticed? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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I also saw this as walking the talk of my Birthday Book essay on honouring the spirit of our pioneers in word and deed.

One runs the risk of falling flat on one’s face when venturing something new. But nothing ventured…

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett