WENDY CHUA KOK WAND
Founder & MD, Wand Inspiration Network
(In her 50's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Wendy has over 20 years of experience as a coach and facilitator for personal transformation, applying research from Psychology to help leaders and teams build resilience and achieve their goals despite challenges and setbacks.
Wendy’s approach to coaching high achievers to maximum performance has been presented at the 2002 International Congress of Applied Psychology. Her WAND approach emphasizes the use of relevant questions to facilitate awareness and ownership of goals; taking effective actions; acknowledgement; being neutral and non-judging; recognising individual differences; and making a difference.
Wendy has an authentic style of communication that builds trust quickly with her clients. Her commitment to her clients’ achievement leads her to design relevant strategies with them.
She has written 20 books based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and 2 books on developing resilience.
Wendy is a champion for youth and embodies resilience, generosity and courage. Amongst her many achievements:
Developed youth mentorship programme (now in 9th year) for United States Embassy. High-achieving youth scholars help promising ITE students prepare for careers and develop resilience.
Developed the (BUS) programme for ITE students at risk of dropping out of school; mobilised holistic community of support involving ITE staff, youths’ families, mentors-to-parents and mentors-to youth.
Training youth on resilience and to be peer coaches in Youth Mental Well-Being initiative
Resilience programme for Stage-1 breast cancer patients.
Authored “Break to Dawn: New Challenges, New Commitments” (2003, 2006) based on her personal story - to help youths develop resilience to bounce forward from mistakes, failures, illness, betrayals and loss; “What are you thankful for?” (2012) for children and parents to thrive through changes.
Wendy walks the talk about resilience, courage, generosity:
Personally donated $20,000 to fund B-U-S; raised $25,000 in cash and kind from private donors.
During COVID19, gave free soft copies of her Resilience book to anyone who wanted one; provided free Resilience trainings via Zoom
Supports others’ dreams : BUS programme started as an idea that Wendy’s friend had, who himself was a youth-at-risk with challenging circumstances. She nurtured this seed, funded and leveraged her experience to co-create the programme with him.
During multiple personal trials between 2012 and 2016 when her husband Matt had a long battle with a serious illness, Wendy became the sole breadwinner supporting 4 children and was Matt’s primary caregiver and encourager
At this time she also embarked on INSEAD Executive Master’s programme on consulting and change (EMCC)
Following Matt’s recovery he moved back to Australia for (2 years) to attend to his aging mother and his daughter’s school; they nurtured and sustained the relationship, bouncing forward from a long distance marriage.
In her words:
My greatest achievement thus far is in using my own setbacks to inspire resilience in others. In 2013 I started the US Embassy-sponsored Mentoring Programme at ITE, and over the last 8 years, more than 200 students from ITE have benefitted. This programme also spurred me to support my friend, Paul, to co-create a pro bono programme for ITE's most at-risk students. I poured my passion, time and money into these social impact programmes while looking after a business, family and team. During this time, I also showed that as a 43 year-old woman, I could go back to school by starting an Executive Masters in INSEAD, and use my new learnings to serve others even better. Finally, I used my own setbacks to write "The WAND way to resilience" in 2016 (launched in 2019) , which I now give PDF copies away. I am leading an initiative for youth mental wellbeing and one for women after breast cancer. My greatest achievement is not about the success I have but the difference I make because of my setbacks.
Biggest challenge thus far
My life went through many challenges in my early 30’s including being divorced, raising three kids on my own and starting a business during SARS. When I was 38, I married a single dad. But the challenges did not stop. My husband fell sick in 2012. I was 42 years old and looking after my business and four children. It was tiring as I was trying to take care of everything and everyone. I realised that I needed to look after myself - I vulnerably asked for support from my team, family, friends and even clients. I decided to look after my mental health so that I could look after everyone else's. I embraced the imperfections in my life, and adjusted to the changes in my life and in my parenting role. Today, my children are in university, growing in their independence, responsibility and resilience. I am grateful and proud of them. Today, my husband and I are healthy n still committed to each other, having overcome our challenges together. I am wiser, bolder and more gracious because of what I have overcome. I wish to use my imperfections, strengths and stories to give hope and guidance to other women.
what judges say
Inspires other youth in resilience using her own personal challenges over the years, authoring multiple books, but more importantly, programmes for supporting ITE youths and YAR to succeed!