career transitioner/ restarter
Global Head, Sustainability and Impact Investment, Consulus
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
I met Clara at a mediation course in 2018 when she was a successful lawyer. With two children under her care, she juggled between work, single parenthood and followed her passion to make a difference for communities and be a role model for her children. She embodies the phrase, living life to the fullest and is energetised by spreading positivity. She believes and lives the motto "Tomorrow can always be better". She is personable, compassionate and selfless with her time with a growth mindset. Clara moved to become the Chief Operating Officer in a renewable energy company, taking on the legal and corporate matters in there. Despite her full schedule, Clara completed an Executive MBA at KelloggHKUST and in a leap of faith (and despite the uncertainty ), transitioned fully into sustainability advisory with Consulus, in line with her personal passion and motivation for a better and sustainable future for generations to come. She is now driven to create a ripple effect of care for the community and empowerment of women and children through her work and volunteer efforts.
In her short time in the sustainability field, she has been quickly recognised as a thought leader in this area. She now teaches sustainability courses with CXO and an assessor for Cambridge and is a finalist awardee for the Sustainability Category in KelloggHKUST. Her article on movements for sustainability became the theme of Consulus's “Shape the World” Summit in Sarawak in June 2023.
She also spends a lot of time volunteering for the benefit of women and youth, serving as a Committee Member of the Social Health Group, as a volunteer in Woodgrove CCC. She also volunteers in different capacities in Junior Achievement Singapore, volunteer judge for Youth For Causes etc. She embodies the saying that "so long as you put your heart and soul in what you believe in, you can achieve it" and is not afraid to fail. She isn’t afraid to fail and has broken the traditional mould of what lawyers are, pushed for greater societal acceptance of return-to-work stay-at-home mums, and redefine what women can be.
In her own words:
I think my greatest achievement thus far is transforming into an entrepreneur/changemaker from a lawyer. Being a lawyer had been my identity for the longest time and when I embarked on my journey into the business world with sustainability, I was uncertain whether I would be able to change others' impression of me and be convinced that I could be good at something else, besides law. When I did my Executive MBA with Kellogg-HKUST, I was conscious to learn about the different areas from professors and fellow classmates. As COO of an APAC renewable energy company, though legal was my main focus, I took on more responsibilities to revamp the company from inside out for every department, using ESG principles. I helped transformed the start-up into an APAC renewable energy company from its operations, setting up departments, roles, functions and create strategy plans with the teams for each department. I was very happy to help the company to successfully complete its fundraising with one of the largest and oldest conglomerates in Philippines.
Inspired from my EMBA studies, I gained the courage to step out on my own as a sustainability consultant/entrepreneur to help SMEs in their journey of sustainability. I am very happy that results have been good thus far. From conducting workshops, teaching sustainability modules to CIOs, advising clients on reporting and their roadmap towards impactful changes, I've also started a few impactful businesses driving purpose and sustainability in these companies. I'm very happy that friends and contacts reach out to me for sustainability advice and I can play a role in their company's transitional journey into sustainability
Biggest challenge thus far
I think the toughest challenge I've had in my life is not just to survive, but to thrive as a single mum. I remember returning to Singapore with my young kids and with little else, I dug deeply into myself seeking for answers to make sense of my life purpose. I believe that there is a place where a woman can comfortably be all that she is, wearing all the different hats at the same time as she chooses, and be confident in who she is. And I believe I can do it and perhaps take it a step further to convince and change people’s perception of single mums.
what judges say
Proud of her as a single mum, of what she has overcome while maintaining an active, experiential life to inspire others!