Chief Empowerment Officer I Founder & Author
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator, her husband)
Caris is an artistic and creative thinker who’s never afraid to push the boundaries. After completing degrees in sociology and law, she worked as a lawyer and a law lecturer for over a decade.
2016 was a turning point in her life. She received an offer for a leadership role at about the same time I received an overseas posting for work. We decided that she would turn down her offer so I could take on mine. She shed her professional title and spent the next 4 years in New York parenting our two young children. During that time, she channeled her energy and drive into a cause she believes passionately in – making legal knowledge accessible to youths as a way of empowering them.
Caris worked tirelessly to translate her background in law, education, and sociology into a series of superhero comic books that double up as 'the most comprehensive legal resource for teenagers' in Singapore. She also created an open-access legal education website that contains a wealth of legal information relevant to youths, communicated though creative formats like videos.
Having returned to Singapore, she remains fully committed to this project and her mission of making legal education accessible and engaging for all young people.
As the saying goes, "knowledge is power." Yet, despite the law affecting almost every area of their lives, most children and youth have no knowledge or understanding of it. This makes them vulnerable to negative influence, exploitation, and abuse. In some cases, this can lead to devastating consequences. Caris wants to change that. She’s driven by a unique vision and a mission that’s not focused on accumulating wealth or material success. As a mid-career lawyer, she could have opted to continue climbing the corporate ladder, a route that offers job security and financial stability, but instead chose to pursue a different path.
After years of exhaustive legal research, writing and editing, constantly pushing herself outside of her comfort zone to handle all the cross-disciplinary aspects of producing comics and websites, and finding ways around every hurdle, she brought her vision to fruition and published an impressive series of graphic novels and a website that are engaging and highly informative, even for experienced lawyers.
In her own words:
Creating a series of 3 full-length "graphic novels-cum-legal textbooks" and a kids' legal information website from scratch.
It was extremely difficult yet deeply fulfilling to collate and distil the vast amount of laws relevant to kids and then work all that information into graphic novels with a superhero quest plot-line. I feel I achieved my lifelong goal of creating the most complete one-stop legal resource for kids and even parents in Singapore! Now when my kids ask me questions about the law, I can even refer to my own books.
Biggest challenge thus far
So many! Researching, writing and editing were the easiest parts even though they entailed a lengthy process. The true challenges lay in managing all the details where I had little expertise - project management, publishing and other technical areas. Specifically, one challenge was dealing with publishing books that literally have no precedent. Publishers and editors usually specialise in specific genres. I knew it would be near impossible to find a publisher who was not only willing but able to manage a project that is part comic (graphic and plot-heavy) and part law textbook (technically complex). So I decided to do the work myself with the help of an artist and finally brought the project to completion in March 2021.
Really proud of the books and hoping this will be a fun way for kids to learn about the law. This is of course not the end of the road in terms of challenges - I'm expecting many more ahead as I expand the project!
what judges say
Caris left a corporate career she had spent decades building to pursue her passion - Taking her knowledge and sharing it freely with the world