Country Chair & Board Chair, Inspiring Girls Singapore
(In her 50's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Jacqueline is a multi-talented leader who excels in the non-profit sector and the banking sector for close to 30 years. Throughout her banking career, Jacqueline has held frontline leadership roles in wealth management at UBS, RBS Coutts, ABN AMRO, Citibank, and Allianz Global Investors. She has also successfully led teams of accomplished private bankers covering South East Asia with her innovative business development approach.
Deeply passionate about women's empowerment and promoting the advancement and recognition of women in finance, she joined non-profit Financial Women's Association Singapore (FWA), where she created and led the first mentoring programme in Singapore for women in finance, and later served as a President for 3 years. She tirelessly champions gender equity and advocates for women in financial services to stay knowledgeable and up-to-speed on new disruptions in the industry. Her exceptional contributions have left an indelible mark on many women in the financial sector over her 22-year service in this non-profit organisation.
As a board member (Asst. Treasurer) of the Singapore Council of Women's Organisation in 2020, she oversaw Inspiring Girls, an international pilot program that nurtures young girls' aspirations and confidence to discover and be inspired to pursue different career possibilities. Following its Singapore social media success #thislittlegirlisme campaign in September 2021, she led a team to establish a local chapter under Singapore's charity status in 2022. To date, the charity has connected over 1,200 girls to close to 200 role models since the first year of its inception as a charity. With relentless dedication to fostering knowledge and innovation, Jacqueline is currently pursuing an MSc in Innovation at Singapore Management University (SMU) with the SMU Impact Award scholarship.
Jacqueline's journey is one of impactful social contributions across sectors, inspiring transformation and empowering countless women and young minds to boldly embrace their potential. Jacqueline's service in the non-profit sector of over two decades epitomizes an outstanding spirit of the Social Contributor, deserving recognition for her remarkable contributions. Her life story is one of amazing resilience through multiple adversities, where she has taken on the role of caregiving from a young age and right through adult life.
In her own words:
My greatest achievement is that I've accomplished so much despite the numerous obstacles and doubts I've faced along the way. Throughout my journey, I've encountered challenges that might have deterred others, but I've consistently pushed forward, determined to overcome every hurdle in my path. This tenacity has allowed me to achieve personal, professional, and philanthropic milestones that I'm immensely proud of. It's a testament to my resilience and unwavering belief in my abilities to surmount adversity and reach my goals.
I started my journey as a child facing significant learning challenges in a low-income family and losing my adopted elder parents whom I cared for during my Junior College days to cancer and dementia. I also had to deal with my sister falling into clinical depression from retrenchment right after the loss of her parents. My iron will and determination led me to overcome these obstacles independently and achieve my bachelor's degree without any delay. Sadly, I could not excel given the circumstances but very fortunate to find closure at the age of 53 with a master's degree. During my banking career, I took on the role of caregiver for my elderly sister, who battled dementia for 12 years. This responsibility, coupled with raising two children and maintaining a demanding frontline private banking career, required an immense amount of dedication and resilience.
Even in the face of adversity, I continued to give back to the community by volunteering at the Financial Women's Association Singapore for over 20 years. In 2019, serving as the President of FWA Singapore I received a diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer, yet I pressed forward, fulfilling my responsibilities and remaining committed to my volunteer work, caregiving, work, and family.
Ultimately, my passion for empowering young girls to build confidence and pursue their dreams drove me to make a significant life change. I made the courageous decision to leave my job and focus on this meaningful mission with Inspiring Girls. My determination to set up Inspiring Girls with my co-founders remained steadfast, even as I faced the loss of my elderly parents-in-law and my elderly sister within a span of 18 months.
Through these experiences, I've learned the true value of perseverance and the importance of dedicating oneself to causes that matter most. Regardless of how bad the situation I face, I always know someone out there has it worse than me. I always never fail to give back and the best of times were when I was all time low and lost. I recall after the loss of my parents, my sister's retrenchment, and poor A-level results, I was lost about my own future but I found happiness in volunteering as an English tutor to kids at the Bukit Ho Swee Family Service. I thought they were so much worse off than me!
My journey has been marked by resilience, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of others, especially young girls who aspire to reach their fullest potential.
Biggest challenge thus far
Perhaps the most significant obstacle I've faced in my journey has been overcoming imposter syndrome, a challenge that has lingered since my early years when I learned on my own at 13 years old that I was given up for adoption. This discovery instilled a persistent fear of rejection within me, leading me to doubt my worthiness and capabilities, despite the many accomplishments and the high regard of those around me. I've often grappled with a feeling of not being 'good enough" inside.
To combat this, I embraced a belief in meritocracy, relentlessly working to prove my worth and continually striving for self-improvement. These efforts led to a very successful career in wealth management which took a toll on my health in 2019. Recognizing the importance of addressing this issue, I sought counseling, which played a pivotal role in fostering self-awareness.
I'm fortunate to have a wonderfully patient husband who has been instrumental in helping me maintain balance and perspective. I have friends to support me and remind me to constantly take it easy. I've learned to manage my imposter syndrome more effectively. This ongoing journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance has taught me the significance of self-awareness and the power of listening in the face of deeply ingrained challenges. It's a testament to my commitment to personal growth and well-being, and it reinforces my dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of others.
what judges say
I feel you, Jacqueline! Imposter syndrome is real. Congrats on overcoming, time and again, the deck of cards that life has dealt you. Jacqueline is truly inspirational.