Leading Beyond Barriers:
DEI and Enabling Leadership
A Singapore Leaders Network x SG Enable Event
Tuesday, 31st January 2023
About The Event
As our workplaces have transformed rapidly in the last few years, more questions are being raised on how we can truly practice "Inclusion" as part of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), particularly for persons with disabilities (PWDs). In partnership with SG Enable, we had the pleasure of having Lim Zui Young, Jolene Poh, and Jean Chua share their personal stories of recognition and resilience in authentically enabling inclusion at the workplace. We learnt about the importance of workplace accessibility, gained insight into what good PWD allyship looks like, and how to take actionable steps towards creating inclusive, sustainable, and accessible workplaces.
1️⃣ Break down barriers to inclusivity: Leaders must understand the fears, stereotypes, and biases faced by PWDs to create inclusive workplaces that value and respect all individuals. This includes using the right terminology and creating a supportive atmosphere through tone and body language.
2️⃣ Embrace curiosity with empathy: Leaders need to have empathy and understanding towards the needs of PWDs and avoid assuming a one-size-fits-all approach. They should ask for permission before offering help and start addressing PWD workplace concerns through active listening.
3️⃣ Champion technology: Leaders should ensure that PWD employees have access to necessary digital tools, and be aware of potential barriers like security firewalls and visual accessibility issues.
4️⃣ Advocate as an enabling leader: Leaders should enable PWD employees to contribute and focus on their strengths, not their disability, to create a workplace where they can thrive. This can be done by allowing them to explore new frontiers (e.g. accessing different business/consumer markets) using their personal experiences as PWDs.
About the Singapore Leaders Network
Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Singapore Leaders Network aspires to help advance the social capital of Singaporean corporate leaders who can support one another on their professional and personal leadership journeys - whilst cultivating a vibrant and robust community. This is achieved through large scale in-person events, smaller business networking sessions on various topics of interest, as well as an online LinkedIn community.
About SG Enable
SG Enable seeks to enable persons with disabilities to live, learn, work and play in an inclusive society. The focal agency for disability in Singapore, it raises awareness on disability issues and facilitates access to disability schemes and services. It brings partners together to share knowledge, collaborate and innovate, striving towards a common goal of building an inclusive Singapore and enabling lives. Set up by the Ministry of Social and Family Development in 2013, it is a registered charity and an Institution of a Public Character. More information about SG Enable can be found on their website here.
Lim Zui Young
Zui Young is a Senior DevOps and Quality Engineer at GovTech Singapore. He believes in the power of technology to improve people’s lives. He is passionate about DevOps, cybersecurity and e-accessibility domains. He possesses wide and varied experience from building monolithic to serverless architecture applications.
Zui Young is currently building Purple HATS - a customisable, automated web accessibility testing tool that allows software development teams to find and fix accessibility problems to improve persons with disabilities (PWDs) access to digital services.
Jolene is a Project Management Officer at NTT DATA. She describes herself as a hardworking, motivated, and reliable individual whose goal is to continuously improve one's skills to make a positive contribution in the workplace.
As a keen avid learner, Jolene is familiar with boosting social media sites through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter which can help to amplify the effectiveness of the content online. Her skillsets in school of learning multimedia and infocomm have further accentuated her ability to intertwine creativity with technology.
Jolene is born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic condition that causes her muscles to weaken progressively, which has affected her since childhood. She uses a wheelchair as part of her daily life and also as a mode of travelling and getting to places.
Jolene spent her teenage years coming to terms with her disability and developing her own ways of coping and solving problems. She believes that this attitude has contributed to her positive approach to life; an attitude that she has been able to bring to her various job roles.
Despite her disability, Jolene wants to lead an ordinary life, just like any other abled person out there. She strongly believes in the quote, “I choose not to place ‘DIS’, in my ability.”
Jean is a seasoned communications professional with more than 20 years of working for MNCs, SMEs, as well as non-profits and start-ups. Her roles have frequently required her to lead creative branding campaigns to drive publicity and strategic marketing communications, manage social media handles and be a key advisor to senior stakeholders.
A firm believer and champion of CSR and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) causes, Jean is an active volunteer in these areas. She continues to make an impact in these areas by mentoring, advocating through speaking at panel dialogues with industry leaders, and actively promoting it within her community work and in her organisation. She has been nominated as a finalist for the D&I champion at the Channel Asia Women in ICT Awards 2022, as well as the SG Enabling Mark D&I champion category.