The inaugural SUTD-SHRI Leadership Forum was organised on 7 April 2016 at the new SUTD Campus at
8 Somapah Road. Three esteemed speakers were invited to share about their research and expertise on
“Leadership in a Fast Changing Technological Landscape”. About 250 guests attended the inaugural event
and most of them were industry leaders, HR Directors, as well as officials from the public service. The forum
was opened by Dr Jaclyn Lee, Senior HR Director with SUTD. Jaclyn manages Human Resources and
organizational development in her current role and has over 25 years of experience of which more than 15
years were in senior HR Leadership roles. Jaclyn is an organizational/ transformation/ specialist and possesses
a Phd in Management in the area of culture transformation/ using digital tools.
The first speaker was Prof Celeste Wilderom from the University of Twente. She shared on her research work in the area of leader emotional intelligence/ as a causal agent for high worker performance and well-being. Celeste is currently the Chair in Change Management & Organizational Behavior, University of Twente. Her research focuses on organizational/team leadership, change and culture, aimed at examining predictors of high effectiveness: at the levels of high-tech work teams, projects and individual employees. Prof Wilderom is one of the three co-authors of the award-winning 1st edition of the Handbook of Organizational Culture and Climate (2000, Sage).
The second esteemed speaker was Ms Rita Chan, Head of HR, Singapore, Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd. Rita gave an engaging presentation on how Fujitsu Asia manages leadership in business development/ technology innovation/ and customer support/ in a fast changing landscape. Rita is a senior HR professional with more than 20 years of managing a full HR function across Asia Pacific covering North Asia, South Asia, ASEAN and Australasia. Through working in highly matrix and complex organisations, she has developed strong strategic business partnering capabilities as well as operational experience at the country and regional level.
The final keynote speaker for the forum was Prof Lucienne Blessing, Co-Director of SUTD-MIT International Design Centre and an expert in Design Thinking. She gave an insightful presentation on how can we use design thinking to transform the organization. Prof Lucienne obtained her PhD in the Netherlands (Twente). She worked 8 years as Senior Research Associate in the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre/ 7 years at the TU Berlin as Chair of Engineering Design and Methodology/ and 7.5 years at Luxembourg University as Professor/ Vice-president for Research, and since 2013 as she is the interim Director of the University of the Greater Region, a consortium of 6 universities in 4 countries. Lucienne is currently one of the world’s foremost leader in Design Thinking and has been a sought after speaker in global conferences in the area of “Big D”.
The forum ended off with an interesting and lively panel discussion where the speakers had the opportunity to take questions from the audience. Some of the topics raised were on whether we should steer away from HR best practices to how do organizations grow leaders under a dominant CEO who believes in only the power of one.
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