There Was A Really Positive Shift Where The Metric For Things That I Valued, Things That I Should Appreciate And Journeying Changed.
CEO HALOGEN FOUNDATION, 40 UNDER 40
Ivy believes in developing positive company culture and growing people as she stewards the resources and talents needed for Halogen to achieve its impact goals. She constantly seeks to woo new partners, funders and supporters for the same cause. Ivy also enjoys running to clear her head, taking one too many pictures of the skies and flora in her free time. If there ever was an office marathon, she’d be in first place.
1) What drew you into the social service sector? I initially worked in a multinational corporation (MNCs) where I handled supply-chain management. It was a typical work environment, really fast-paced. In the end, I had a quarter-life crisis, I felt like something was missing which led me to quit my job a couple months later. So, one of my friends linked me up with Martin, the founder of Halogen just so he could provide me some perspective. He really showed me the value in investing in young people, so in the end I decided to follow him to work in Halogen. When I first started, I worked in events and took a 30% pay-cut. It was so unlike anything I had ever done before, so in my first year I really struggled to cope and I really needed to recalibrate myself. I really had to balance my trade offs because the work environment was now so different and I really did not want to feel like I was suffering. 2) Why did you choose to work with youths specifically? I really strongly believe that youths are our future. Youths are always energetic and idealistic and we could reap lots of downstream benefits from them. Society needs the multiplier effect that youths have on the community when they start early. If we dont support our youth, their views become myopic and they do not have the most mature or positive mindsets. 3) How has life been different for you since you started working in the social service sector? The way I measure success is now different. Since I first started out in the corporate sector, my initial yardsticks for success was to catch up and be comparable to my peers in terms of being a leader and climbing up the corporate ladder. But this was because MNCs were huge and I always felt small in this much larger engine. Hence I always felt the need to prove myself. Now that I have moved to a much smaller organisation, it really allowed me to listen to stories which really helped me get to know people on a much deeper level. There was a really positive shift where the metric for things that I valued, things that I should appreciate and journeying changed. Moreover, my motivation for success had changed. It was no longer climbing the corporate ladder, but more tangible results in changing someones life. 4) What was your toughest moment in your career? When I officially started as CEO of Halogen in 2015, it was really quite a sudden shift. The first few months were super tough, it was like an entirely different realm. I went from being a part of this organisation to running it. My initial mindset was that I didnt ask for this. I really felt the weight of the role and I questioned my impact on this. I felt really alone and I didnt want to be put down by the naysayers. I really had to dig deep to change this. The breakthrough came when I realised that I could actually quit. If it got too much for me I could just back out, but by turning up for work everyday, I was making the conscious decision to choose this job. 5) What has been your greatest achievement thus far? I always credit my success to my team at Halogen. I always seek to drive my time to invest in the humanity that is staffed at Halogen. My greatest gratification and success has been watching them grow and seeing them make break-throughs and impact lives. 6) What has been your driving force through all your toughest moments? When I first started I really felt like I had to be on the frontlines. Being in events was just too fluffy, but my lens was far too myopic. So I employed the prospect of opposition: I couldnt see why I should walk away. I couldnt find the answer to my why not so I stayed. 7) What is some advice you give to someone who is struggling right now? Spend more time knowing yourself. I honestly did not explore my options enough. I was always interested in community but I was too single-minded. If youre always just searching for a feel-good sensation, you should then rethink your motives. In social services, there is always something more. If we say that we are changing lives, everyone would say yes, but those who dug deep will really be different. Identify what resonates with you a bit more, search for something deeper. Ask yourself: do you actually know what you want for yourself? Do you actually know yourself? 8) What does thriving mean to you? It is people being put in a place where they can flourish. This should be a personal thing and there should be no national yardstick. It is where individuals are joyous in their own element.