PANG LI KIN
Founder & Director, Strategic Partnerships, Image Mission Ltd
(In her 60's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
In 2015, Li Kin founded Image Mission Ltd and Dress for Success Singapore with the vision to empower women to achieve economic independence. Prior to that, she had left an industrious career in Marketing Research to pursue her passion in People Development. At the age of 48, she made a bold career switch into the field of Image Management and Coaching.
Li Kin transitioned from corporate life to being an entrepreneur, setting up her Image Consulting and Training business after acquiring new skills in Coaching and Image Consulting. She became the first 2 in Singapore to be a Certified Image Professional by the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI). She later became a founding Board Director of AICI Singapore in 2007 and President from 2010 to 2013.
Image Mission was founded on her strong belief that an economically independent woman has the ability to break the cycle of poverty and greatly impact the people around her. She successfully established Dress for Success Singapore (DFSS) in 2015, one of the first Asian affiliates of Dress for Success (DFS) Worldwide. In 2017, DFSS won the DFS Rookie of the Year Award, one of only 2 given every year to new affiliates. Li Kin singlehandedly built a dedicated board (volunteers) from 3 to 7 in 5 years and continues to spearhead the development of programmes to meet the needs of clients, including tackling the challenges of the pandemic with virtual programmes. Under her leadership, Image Mission has grown from serving 12 women in 2015 to over 730 women since.
Li Kin’s transition from corporate life to entrepreneurship paved the way to the founding of Image Mission. In fact, she fits all 3 nomination categories – as a career transitioner who became an entrepreneur in pursuit of her passion and with that same passion, she became the social contributor who helps women transform and break out of poverty. Her determination and pioneer spirit spurred her to starting a charity with zero funds and just 2 volunteers!
Li Kin has an impressive community track record which includes overseeing AICI Singapore’s donation drive for victims of the Japan tsunami disaster in 2011 by donating all proceeds to the Red Cross, Japan. The project earned AICI Singapore the Civility Star Award in 2011. Li Kin’s drive is evident in the way she strives to do more for the community through continuous engagement with community partners and ensuring service offering and programme relevance. She is very results-oriented yet compassionate and nurturing, always generous in sharing her expertise.
Till today, she remains heavily involved overseeing partnerships and programmes which are cornerstones of Image Mission’s services. She also continues to make time to coach and mentor beneficiaries. Li Kin is an inspiration to us (the nominators), who are in our midlife and going through a similar career transition phase, by showing us that this is the time for us to live a life of service and significance. There’s always something to learn when working with her and more importantly, she continuously ignites our passion to do more for the community we are serving.
In her words:
Achieving our charity's mission for the first 4 years without staff, I was able to build a strong board and pool of volunteers in all aspects of the organisation to serve over 750 women to date. The efforts earned us a small grant from the Community Chest so we are able to hire staff last year.
Biggest challenge thus far
Funding in the 1st year and wondering if we could pay our rent. I knocked on many doors and found a corporate partner to support our fund-raising events - we ran 4 networking events that year and were able to build up some reserves since then. I am very pleased that we have also built a strong image among corporate partners who continue to support us not only financially but also in CSR.
what judges say
Leads an inspiring life for other women in midlife and also inspires them to do more for the community. Made a career switch at 48 - Can also see her challenges and struggles not just in the transit but also in seeing it through!