Leading with Empathy:
The Business Leadership Mandate for Mental Well-Being
Hosted jointly by the Singapore Leaders Network and the SG Mental Well-Being Network (SGMWBN)
Thursday, 8th June 2023
About The Event
Leading with Empathy has been one of our largest events to date. We brought together 150 leaders and mental health advocates to discuss mental well-being in the workplace. This event, in partnership with the SG Mental Well-Being Network, saw lively and fruitful dialogues at the tables, as well as with our panellists (MOS Alvin, Evelyn Kwek, and Per Magnusson) on positive mental well-being, destigmatising mental health issues, and how leaders can lead with empathy on this front.
1️⃣ Proactive prevention is better than cure, and we need to normalise the acceptance of seeking help.
Just like how we see a doctor when we are physically unwell, and how we have zero tolerance for workplace injuries, leaders need to normalise seeking help for good mental health and hold themselves liable for achieving zero harm (both physically and mentally). Leaders can lead with empathy by taking a proactive preventive approach to reach out to their employees to check in on them!
2️⃣ Mental well-being needs to become an organisational strategic priority.
The data on how mental well-being affects businesses is very clear. Leaders who are serious about their people cannot neglect mental well-being, and this is a strategic priority that involves all organisational stakeholders (i.e. it is not just a HR issue).
3️⃣ Leading with empathy starts with us and requires vulnerability on our part.
For those who are already vested in this journey of good mental well-being, the buck does not stop at us. We need to create a positive feedback loop by cultivating awareness, understanding, and practicing authentic vulnerability as “ambassadors” that people look up to, want to emulate, and learn by osmosis. Ongoing efforts have already been moving the needle evermore slightly, and we need to keep at it!
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, mentoring, as well as an online LinkedIn community.
About the SG Mental Well-Being Network
Launched in July 2022, the SG Mental Well-Being Network (SGMWBN) is a national platform that brings partners and citizens together to take action to strengthen mental health and well-being outcomes for our society. For a start, the Network is focusing on strengthening community and peer support, as well as raising awareness through engagement initiatives with the aim of encouraging help-seeking, tackling stigma, and raising mental health literacy. More information about SGMWBN can be found on their LinkedIn page here.
Mr. Alvin Tan
Mr. Tan was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2020, and appointed Minister of State for both the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI), and the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth (MCCY). He is also a Board Member at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
At MTI, he is involved in growing Singapore’s economy, focusing on the tourism, tech startup, agri-food tech and advanced manufacturing sectors, and securing free trade agreements with Latin America. At MCCY, he is working on empowering youths, promoting mental wellbeing and mentoring, strengthening racial and religious harmony and supporting Singapore’s sports, arts and culture sectors. At MAS, he is helping develop Singapore’s financial sector, including as a fintech, green finance and digital assets hub.
Before leaving the private sector to join politics, Mr. Tan worked in finance and tech at companies such as Goldman Sachs, Facebook and LinkedIn. He has also worked in the United Nations and Oxfam, and in New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, and San Francisco. He has also served in the Singapore Armed Forces as an armour officer, and the Ministry of Defence in diplomacy, research and counter-terrorism roles.
Mr. Tan has degrees in Economics from Sydney University and Harvard University, and was an International and Global Affairs Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Centre of Science and International Affairs.
Evelyn (or Eve as she is affectionately known) delights in a partnership approach with clients to identify their challenges and co-create strategies to build a strong workplace culture leading to high performance. She has over 27 years of experience in Human Resources, Organizational Development and Leadership roles, both in organizations and in a consulting capacity.
Since starting up the Singapore office in 2014, Evelyn is now focused in heading the expansion of Great Place to Work® offices in ASEAN. She is optimistic about this mission and is convinced that just as the region is growing exponentially on the economic front, the work of building great workplaces FOR ALL™ must go in tandem with economic growth. With a degree in Business Administration specializing in Human Resources, she was later awarded a scholarship by the Singapore government to pursue her Masters in Business Administration with the Singapore Management University.
A proud mother of 3, Evelyn takes the role of parenting very seriously – she is strict yet giving, result-focused yet generous. Together with her husband Roland, they relish exploring new cultures and beautiful places around the world, usually on leisurely self-drive holidays.
Per Magnusson is the Group CEO of Jebsen & Jessen Group, a private Singaporean owned and Singapore headquartered, international, diversified industrial group with around 3000 employees and SG$1 billion in turnover. He is also a board member of GMA Garnet - a global mining, processing and distribution group operating mines in Australia, USA and South Africa, as well as recycling and sales outlets in 100 locations globally.
In addition, Mr Magnusson is a council member of the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore National Employers Federation, and he is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Magnusson is a Swedish citizen with a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and a MBA in international business. He has lived and worked in Europe, North America, China and Southeast Asia, and has been a CEO of various companies for the last 25 years.