It was a momentous night of celebration for past and present winners at the 20th Her World Woman of the Year award ceremony.

Held at a gala dinner at Fullerton Hotel, the event presented not two, but three prestigious awards: Woman of the Year, Young Woman Achiever, and a commemorative Woman of the Year special award.

The grand event started with a cocktail reception, where esteemed guests – including Members of Parliament, business leaders, key advertisers and partners, past Her World Woman of the Year and Young Woman Achiever winners and celebrities – mingled over bubbly and canapés, took a trip down memory lane with the 20th Anniversary Winners gallery, and had their pictures taken before the Photo Wall.

Upon the arrival of Guest-of-Honour, Senior Minister Prof. S Jayakumar, guests were ushered into a ballroom for the commencement of the award ceremony and dinner.

This year’s Young Woman Achiever award – the first award of the night – was presented by Ms Caroline Ngui, group editor-in-chief of SPH Magazines, and went to Dr Marissa Teo, a cancer researcher with the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

At just 34 years old, Dr Teo is part of a team that develops immune cells for nasopharyngeal cancer – a type of cancer that is common in South China and South East Asia, and is one of the top 10 most commonly occurring cancers in Singapore.

In 2010, Dr Teo was the first Singaporean to be awarded a US$20,000 research grant by the Women in Science programme, which recognises hardworking women scientists around the world and awards them with grants and fellowships to aid them in their research.

Up next was the 20th anniversary special award, presented by Mr Robin Hu, deputy chairman of SPH Magazines and senior executive vice president of Chinese newspaper division, Singapore Press Holdings. The award was given to Dr Oon Chiew Seng, founder of Apex Harmony Lodge and former obstetrician and gynecologist.

Her lifelong passion for contributing to the society began in 1948, when she first started work as an obstetrician and gynecologist at KK Hospital. After she retired in her seventies, she opened Apex Harmony Lodge in 1999, which houses dementia sufferers.

Now 95, Dr Oon still makes daily visits to spend time with the 210 residents living at Apex Harmony Lodge.

The final, and much-anticipated presentation, was the Woman of the Year award. Since its inception in 1991, the award has seen inspirational women lead the way to societal empowerment through their passion and selfless dedication.

This year’s Woman of the Year title was given to Dr Cheong Koon Hean, CEO of the Housing & Development Board (HDB) and Deputy Secretary (Special Duties) with the Ministry of National Development MND).

She made history in 2004 when she became the first woman to be appointed chief executive of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), where she spearheaded major projects that have shaped the Singapore we see today. One of her projects was the development of the Marina Bay area into a new waterfront destination.

Dr Cheong received her award from Guest-of-Honour, Senior Minister Prof. S Jayakumar.

All three winners received a trophy, a Tag Heuer watch and a Shiseido product hamper. Partners of the event included Tag Heuer, Shiseido, Mumm Champagne, and Max Mara.