From The Straits Times    |
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Credit: Veronica Tay

They may come from different industries and diverse backgrounds, but the eight mentors with Her World’s inaugural Mentorship Programme have plenty in common: For one, they are keen to lend their insights and advice from their own journeys.

Many of them have also had non-linear career paths, sometimes taking leaps of faith to land their biggest breakthroughs. Others have struggled with being the only woman in the room, or juggling the realities of being a mother, wife, and daughter. We hear from our mentors directly, and learn how the power of mentorship has helped in their own careers.

Fannie Lim, executive director, Daughters of Tomorrow

A former sales manager with a regional tech company, Fannie became a stay-home mum in 2010 to care for her three children. In 2016, she joined the non-profit sector, first as a volunteer with women’s organisation Daughters Of Tomorrow (DOT), contributing to its employer engagement and community partnerships efforts, before becoming the head of programmes. Today, she is the charity’s executive director and leads a team of 22 people.

Fannie credits DOT’s founder, Carrie Tan and former board president Kim Underhill as being instrumental in her leadership journey. “One advice that [Carrie] has given me is to keep in good company with a diverse group of people. This helps challenge my own thinking and avoid groupthink,” she says.

What do you hope to achieve as a mentor?

I’ve benefitted from people who’ve invested in me, and I’d like to pay it forward. In some ways, it’s also a
privilege to have the opportunity to invest in another person’s life. Of course, it never hurts to make a new friend.

Should one choose a career for money or passion?

I think it depends on your goals. Even for those who choose a career for passion, there would still be a money “goal” involved based on commitments, lifestyle choices, and so on. Money and passion are two factors that need not be mutually exclusive. And if you choose one over the other, know that your mindset might change depending on the seasons of life.

What’s the most significant turning point in your career?

A major turning point was considering the offer of a leadership position with DOT in 2018, as I had loved doing operational and community work as the Employer Engagement and Community Partnerships manager. To leave that position and assume management responsibility was a huge undertaking for me. Since then, I’ve strived to stay open to options I may not be so inclined to in the first place, and am learning not to box myself in – if I’m pursuing growth, I should be developing new muscles that enable me to tackle new challenges.

Has there been a particularly challenging period at work?

I’m going through it right now! With the inflation rates going the way it is this year, and people’s wages – especially from the lower-income communities – hardly matching up, it’s harder for people to make a living for themselves and also provide for their families. In fact, I think this is a challenge that’s ever present, seeing that the income gap is widening, which perpetuates the inequitable environment.

What advice would you share with someone who’s switching careers?

Speak to people in that sector/career path that you are aspiring to. It helps to listen to an “insider” in order to discern if this is something you’re really keen on. Also, you should seek advice from people who know you and are able to provide an objective perspective. Most importantly, you should be clear about why you’re contemplating a change, as that would be an anchor when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.

About the Her World Mentorship Programme

Whether you’re just starting out or at a crossroads in your career, Her World’s Mentorship Programme connects mentees with influential women who are leaders in their respective fields. Besides professional development, one stands to build valuable connections as well as gain professional insight and female support from this peer community.

PHOTOGRAPHY Veronica Tay
ART DIRECTION Adeline Eng
STYLING ASSISTANCE Lena Kamaruddin
HAIR & MAKEUP Aung Apichai / Artistry, using Shu Uemura & Kevin Murphy; Benedict Choo, using Laura Mercier