LTC (NS) Kelvin Tan, chairman of the SAFRA Mount Faber Executive Committee, shares his thoughts on volunteering and leadership.
What are you currently doing?
I’m a regional sales director of a global CX organisation, a leader in the technology of enabling our clients’ customers to feel remembered, heard and understood – to deliver “experience as a service” for our customers. As chairman of the SAFRA Mount Faber Executive Committee, I’ve the opportunity to work with extraordinary individuals. The Committee works closely with SAFRA staff, ensuring effective management of the club and that its services cater to a broader SAFRA membership, while curating offerings that attune to its PMET demographic. I’m also Vice Chairman of the SAFRA Digital Transformation Committee.
Name some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced.
The needs of our NSmen today are vastly different from that of five years ago, and they continue to evolve with time. However, SAFRA’s commitment to strengthen bonds and appreciate their contributions never changed, and this poses an enormous yet worthwhile challenge to ensure that our men are fully supported by the community.
Being part of Men of SAFRA, I firmly believe in being FUN [focused, unified and nimble] in order to relate, and in keeping myself constantly in tune to these everdynamic needs.
What made you choose to volunteer?
It started with an “innocent” call from a senior SAFRA staff member in 2000, I believe, pitching for me to volunteer with the SAFRA Youth Network Committee. I thought: Why not? And here we are.
Why is volunteering at SAFRA important?
Over the years, I discovered areas where I was able to value-add with my professional experience and role in the SAF. It’s beyond volunteering and giving back to the NS community; it’s the camaraderie forged with like-minded individuals that gives momentum. I’ve also grown to be a better leader. I’m able to coach and share my professional/army experiences, and learn and enjoyed my time volunteering.
How do you balance work and volunteering along with leisure?
I would link this back to my belief in FUN – and also literally having fun volunteering, just like how one enjoys one’s professional and personal life. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
What would you advise newer volunteers do to maintain a healthy balance of learning and contribution to SAFRA?
To start, decide on an area of interest. Pace your approach, expand your personal development and, finally, extend beyond when contributing to yield selfsatisfaction.
What are some of your favourite leisure activities?
I used to dance and perform salsa. Recently, I’ve discovered a flair for cooking with much time @ StayatHome.
Some interesting things people might not be aware of your role would be…?
One might assume it’s essential to be “all-knowing” to chair the Committee. To which I say, the strength of the wolf is the pack. As Chairman, I’m very fortunate to have team members who demonstrate ownership, commitment and accountability. Our strength is in diversity – we bring our vast experiences to collectively make decisions and provide guidance. We also make it our promise, as equals, that each member will lead various club events as Guest of Honour when representing SAFRA Mount Faber’s Executive Committee.
Some volunteers are worried they may not be able to juggle work, family and volunteering. Any advice?
Finding time will not be an issue once you decide that volunteering is part of your life. More important is being conscious that volunteers are contributing their experiences and time to support SAFRA’s mission. Volunteering is not a full-time affair; it is understandable that family or work would come first. For those times of absence, the team is here to provide support.
With the current ever-changing environment, what are your goals for SAFRA Mount Faber in 2020?
While the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a curve ball to our planned programmes, it has also paved new avenues for other opportunities. We took the leap to explore the use of technology platforms, which sprouted new ideas to engage members. We have since seen tremendous digital outreach on this front.
With the progression to Phase 3 hopefully soon, we will see the gradual opening of our vendors’ operations. SAFRA Mount Faber will adapt to the “in-Covid” normalcy and evolve with our partners to review our offerings to members.