Executive Director, Suncare SG
(In her 40's)
Her story (in her own words)
I enjoy making changes, building things, creating liaisons, seeing lives changed, and above all making good friendships. These sum up my constant hunt for breakthroughs, and spark my aspiration to create more impact to the community around me.
I started teaching since the age of 17 when I had to prepare for the Licentiate Teaching Paper with Trinity College (London). This anchored my love for teaching and led me to begin my career as a teacher in St. Andrews Secondary School. 7 months into teaching, I was chosen to develop the current Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum with MOE.
I took a break from working to embrace motherhood with her 3 children. Thereafter, I returned to the workforce full-time, 8 years later to become the executive director for a charity, Society for Continence, Singapore (SFCS). During my term (2016-2021), I led SFCS to achieve the status of “Institution of a Public Character (IPC)”. We ran different campaigns through the years to raise funds. I delighted most in the networking opportunities, further expanding the presence of the society. Thereafter, I took on a regional position to organise the 1st Asia Continence Nursing Congress 2021. 1200 local and 800 overseas participants from China (Guangzhou, Shenzhen), Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Taiwan attended the congress. The event was graced by Senior Minister of State, Dr Koh Poh Koon, with many key personnel in Singapore.
In 2020, I was presented with the ‘40 under 40’ award in 2020 by the National Council of Social Services for being an outstanding leader in the social service sector.
Currently, I am the Executive Director for the charity, Suncare SG. The charity supports the emotional and well being of children and youths, through equipping families and the community with science-backed and research based programs. Suncare SG also operates a youth centre in Punggol, the Lighthouse, to provide youth people and their families with a place to learn, play, grow and connect with each other.
I was recently featured in CNA for the collaborative work I have contributed to, with the different mental health partners for mental wellness programmes developed for youth peer leaders, "You Matter".
My personal joy always revolves around volunteering and social work. My greatest fulfilment remains in serving through mission work in Thailand as a volunteer, since 2008. I enjoy going to Chiangmai with my children to serve, raise funds and develop curriculums. My goal in life remains simple, for my children to grow in humility, love and joy.
I was not sure if I can be a good mother, and then I did not want to be the mother that I should not be.
I recall vividly the day I shut down my business and went home to be a full time mother. That day, the memories of me removing the signage of my company, painfully keeping it away in the car, are still edged deeply in my heart. I did not only pack up my company, I packed up my ambition as well. Suddenly I was ‘just a mum to a toddler and a newborn’.
I have always wanted a career, always wanted to be ‘The Businesswoman.’ My identity was tied to my business. It was a fearful decision. I was not sure if I was up to the job of being a mother. Yet, it was the right decision. After the birth of my third child, the joy of motherhood was apparent to me. I watched my kids grow up – witness their character take shape. (One is aloof, one is insecure and the third is timid).
It was difficult to keep my expectations to myself; difficult to hold judgement against them; difficult to not be a pressurising mother so that my children may excel to my expectations. I went against every grain of my cell to allow space for my children to grow. My heart melted when I saw my ‘Aloof’ bathing her brother lovingly, my ‘Insecure’ approaching a group of acrobats requesting to join in their busking performance, and my ‘Timid’ climbing up a 3-storey high zipline, zooming down courageously with giggles. I have survived the early years of motherhood with sheer will and determination of only wanting to embrace who my children are. I went against myself; completely, but I found my children.
Biggest challenge thus far
At the age of 40, another challenge beckoned, and I courageously took the challenge of changing industry. I challenged myself and went forward. Soon, I found myself grappling with uncertainty due to an immense workload. I had come to the conclusion that the demands of the work during that point in time of covid, with being totally new in the industry was an almost impossible task. It entails managing 70 permanent and temporary staff remotely, clearing endless backlogs while cajoling the team to meet necessary targets, earning the requisite bonus of $800,000 for the company. I was further thrown into the deep end when tasked to lead building a $350,000 grant management system, with zero IT background! Yet unfazed, I pushed on. With the teamwork from vendor and end users, we successfully launched and built the system, and within budget and time frame.
Yet I soon realised that something deep is not fulfilled. Mustering enough humility and courage to see the delusion of success, I stopped to think. With great divine timing, the children nudged me, "Mummy, what is your calling?".
I made another courageous decision to return back to my true calling in the social service sector. This round, the challenge involves building the charity, Suncare SG; almost from scratch. In a short span of time, we gained reasonable success, developing mental wellness programs to benefit the youths. I am satisfied that the work that I did greatly benefit the community.
Thus, the opportunity to share this story with mothers that resonated with me, to inspire them gives me great joy. I saw achievement in the form of life choices and resulting challenges that I eventually overcame with success.
what judges say
Giant of a mom!
Felicia is a remarkable mother who extends her love beyond her own children.