Every year, the team at Her World calls for Her World Woman of the Year (WOTY) nominees, puts together dossiers of shortlisted nominees and they go through a judging panel – the whole process takes almost a whole year’s work and effort.
So if we do this year in year out, what’s different about this year?
This year, we have former managing director of Community Chest, Ng Ling Ling, as our Woman of the Year, and industrial designer, Olivia Lee, who is our Young Woman Achiever (YWA).
On Aug 24 (Friday) evening, close to 300 guests showed up at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore to celebrate these two women and support of Her World’s yearly cause – that is recognise two (and in some years more) exceptional role models who go above and beyond to challenge and push the boundaries while continuing to innovate, inspire and spread good to their community, Singapore and overseas.
Photo: Table setting with beautiful floral centrepiece by Mirage Flowers
Congratulations and cheer filled the air as we honoured the achievements of Ling Ling and Olivia at the event that presented by Bvlgari and Decorte. Guests were treated to lovely gifts from Bvlgari and special creations of Bynd Artisan placed on tables that were decorated by floral centrepieces by Mirage Flowers.
Here are 10 ways this event is going down in history.
1. The Guest-of-Honour (GOH) was our President
Photo: President Halimah Yacob interacting with SPH Magazines CEO Loh Yew Seng and winners.
We are beyond honoured that this year’s event was graced by the President of the Republic of Singapore, Madam Halimah Yacob.
Madam Halimah herself was Her World’s Woman of the Year in 2003. She had previously been GOH of WOTY in 2013 and 2015, but this is the first time she is attending our event as President.
2. Ms Jennie’s Chua’s ‘prediction’ came true
Almost every year, Ms Chua, who is the chairperson of the Judging Committee of Her World Woman of the Year would give citation(s) to announce the winner(s).
Before embarking on the citation speech, Ms Chua candidly revealed that she had predicted some years ago that Madam Halimah, our Woman of the Year in 2003, would be become Singapore’s president one day.
3. YWA 2007 winner Melissa Kwee never received her own award but ironically, she’s giving out one
Photo: Melissa Kwee
Ms Kwee who was present at the event to give the citation for 2018 YWA joked that she was not present to receive her award back in 2007 when she was conferred the YWA. But 11 years on, she is here to introduce this year’s winner.
4. A special cocktail was created just for this event
Photo: Guests enjoying the Her World Signature drinks by Mixes from Mars
The folks from Mixes from Mars created a Her World Signature drink that had gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, grapefruit juice and Prosecco. Absolutely delicious.
5. The youngest attendee of the event is 10 years old
Photo: Ling Ling’s family and friends
WOTY winner Ling Ling had brought her son to the event. He was clued into why he was getting dressed up for a fancy night out just on Friday itself.
6. It is the first time we are awarding the Young Woman Achiever Award to an industrial designer
Olivia Lee began her design journey at the National University of Singapore, where she studied industrial design. In her second year of school, she was awarded a scholarship by DesignSingapore Council and studied product design at Central Saint Martins in London, and achieved first class honours.
In 2017, she was named one of the eight promising designers at the Salone Del Mobile Milano furniture fair. Her Athena Collection, which showcases her designs that combine form and function with playful viewpoints, have made Best-Of lists by industry publications and websites. One of her notable local works is the iLight Marina Bay Festival.
Olivia started out in the civil sector and then moved on to set up her own business.
To women who are trailblazing their own paths, Olivia’s advice is to “hold on to your passions, as obscure and unconventional as they are. Use it to bring value to others. Boldly invent the job you want to do and live by your own definitions of success.”
7. Her World’s Woman of the Year 2018 and former Comchest managing director is a social work convert
Ling Ling said in her acceptance speech at the event that she is now a social worker at heart. But that didn’t come naturally as she is an accountant by training.
She credits her “conversion” to former CEO of Comchest, Ang Bee Lian, who is a veteran social worker and one of the first batch of social workers in Singapore.
In her time at Comchest, Ling Ling encouraged her team to volunteer their time with beneficiaries by being a volunteer herself.
In fact, she believes in volunteering so much, she began taking her now 10-year-old son to charity events from the age of three.
8. From non-social worker to chief fundraiser
As the managing director of Comchest, 46-year-old Ling Ling has been instrumental in guiding Community Chest’s efforts to make Singaporeans kinder.
Under her leadership, Community Chest raised a record $800 million in 2015 under its Care and Share movement. Comchest continues to support over 80 charities and thousands of beneficiaries in Singapore.
Even with these achievements, Ling Ling remains humble and sees her work and contributions as larger than her: “I see the award beyond any personal recognition, but as more of an affirmation to the contribution of social service to the greater community.”
Do you feel like volunteering, already? If you haven’t already started.
ALSO READ: 20 WAYS TO VOLUNTEER IN SINGAPORE
9. Most inspiring quotes of the night
There were not one but a few inspirational quotes that left a deep impression.
“I believe this (win) is an important message for little girls everywhere – that hopes and dreams come in different sizes, and that all of them are attainable,” said Olivia in her acceptance speech.
“We create a ripple whenever we care. As cliché as it may sound, no gift of time or talent is too small, because the collective impact of small actions can move mountains,” said Ling Ling.
10. There were some tear-jerking moments too
In Ling Ling’s speech of thanks to her family, she mentioned her son, whom she said has been “the most understanding boy a mummy can have”.
“Thank you for releasing mummy to the work I love, with that childlike comment when you were just 5-year-old ‘if you don’t do it, who will, mummy?’ I take it as you meant we each have to take actions on what we believe in.”
And the sweet boy gave his mother a rose at the end of the event (check out Her World’s Instagram stories for that).
For more on what Ling Ling’s son said, you have to watch this video.
Special thanks for Her World Woman of the Year video
Videographer: Tan Wei Te
Assisted by Gong YiMin, Tan Kai Lin & Howgene Leong
Art Direction: Ng Say Lee
Hair & makeup: Kenneth Lee & Zoel Tee
Outfits: Tory Burch, Iris and Ink, h&m,
Shoes: Tory Burch & Iris and Ink
Location: Special thanks to Enabling Village & Rainbow Centre
Her World Young Woman Achiever video
Videographer: Frenchescar Lim
Assisted by Phyllicia Wang
Art Direction: Ng Say Lee
Hair & makeup: Hongling & Melissa Yeo
Outfits: Hermes & COS