Generation T 2018: Meet The Tribe
May 3, 2018 | BY Chong Seow Wei
Selecting 50 outstanding names for the Generation T List 2018 is serious business.
While it may be our third year putting together this annual list, the same level of attention that went into the past two successful editions has gone into the process this year. The 2018 Generation T cohort was selected in consultation with these 12 esteemed individuals, who hail from diverse industries shaping the future of Singapore.
And it is with no exaggeration when we say that the Tatler Tribe is a crucial part of this process, and selecting the right 2016 and 2017 Gen.T lister and industry leaders who make up this tribe lays the foundation for a strong list every year. After all, if you want to find out who makes up the new wave of leaders, innovators, disrupters and dealmakers, who better to ask than the people who have travelled down the same path themselves?
(Related: What Is Generation T?)
We are honoured that the members of the Tatler Tribe this year have accepted our call, and spent valuable time pondering worthy nominations and engaging in the shortlisting process with us. Many of these accomplished individuals were also happy to share how they got to where they are today, providing words of wisdom to the 2018 Gen.T cohort.
Before she stepped down as the CEO of the Government Technology Agency Singapore on May 1, Jacqueline Poh played a key role in the digital transformation of the public sector and the development of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative. “Beyond the development of new digital services, we strive to boost the ‘smartness’ and productivity of our city,” she says. “We envision having common infrastructure and services such as a data sharing gateway, video and data analytics capabilities supported by sensors and the sharing of data collected and analytics to support public efforts such as urban planning and incident response. These are exciting times, and I can't wait to see what it will bring.”
Jacqueline is on the 2017 Tatler 300 list
Along with his wife Gan Guoyi, Indra Kantono has his finger on the pulse of the local F&B scene. Their establishments include bars Jigger & Pony, Gibson and Sugarhall, as well as seafood restaurant Humpback, which are all entrenched in the current zeitgeist—their popularity with trend-hunters and loyal regulars is proof enough. This year, the couple opened Caffe Fernet at the historic Customs House serving Italian-inspired dishes and tipple.
A good leader… “is someone who surrounds himself with motivated people who are more capable than him”.
Indra is a 2017 Generation T lister
Neo Mei Lin
This marine biologist fell in love with nature thanks to parents who helped her explore the natural wonders in this urban jungle. Today, Neo Mei Lin is lauded as one of the world’s leading scientists on the giant clam—her favourite marine animal and one that plays a pivotal role in the protection of coral reefs.
A digital innovation on my wish list... “is underwater robotics to capture environmental data for long periods of time. A major concern of such technology is corrosion of materials in seawater. Sadly, there isn’t yet a device that can last long enough in the oceans”.
Mei Lin is a 2017 Generation T lister
Edmund Wee, the publisher and CEO of Epigram Books, is an ardent supporter of local fiction, with graphic novelist Sonny Liew’s The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye being one of his most successful titles to date. In 2015, Edmund launched the annual $40,000 Epigram Books Fiction Prize to further encourage the creation of local content, and has been publishing the work of the winners and finalists with gusto.
A good leader… “is someone with moral courage—do good and do it right”.
Edmund is on the 2017 Tatler 300 list
Yu Yah-Leng co-founded design and branding agency Foreign Policy Design Group, and has worked on projects ranging from award-winning restaurants to Gallery & Co, the museum store and cafeteria at the National Gallery Singapore. The agency is also known for its Brand Guide dossier series, which profiles successful brands by city. Yah-Leng is a judge for the 2018 D&AD Awards, which recognises the best in design and art direction.
A digital innovation on my wish list... “is nothing. As designers, we should design for mankind, not machines. We need to make more human-centric designs”.
Yah-Leng is on the 2017 Tatler 300 list
Under co-founder and CEO Arrif Ziaudeen, restaurant reservation platform Chope is showing an increased appetite for growth. It has already made its presence felt across Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia and Thailand. In 2017, it announced a fresh round of funding worth US$13m, and Arrif has made no secret of his hunger for improving and expanding Chope’s services, with upcoming functions that will give hungry diners real-time information about where to chow down.
A good leader… “fights alongside his team, leads by example, and is unafraid to make tough decisions and have honest conversations”.
Arrif is a 2017 Generation T lister
Taha Bouqdib, the co-founder, president and CEO of TWG Tea, drives the creative direction of the luxury brand, and makes sure the company is plugged into the digital conversation. In 2013, TWG Tea launched a virtual tea connoisseur experience via a mobile app, and it is targeting to launch a third‑generation e-commerce platform later this year. “We hope to bring contemporary functionality to a classic product, and open TWG Tea to a market of younger, tech-savvy customers around the world,” he says.
A good leader… “needs to be strict about the know-how of the company, but flexible with the organisation of his team members”.
Taha is on the 2017 Tatler 300 list
As the managing director of FoodXervices Inc, Nichol Ng modernised her family business, and subsequently set up The Food Bank Singapore with brother Nicholas. The non‑profit organisation collects food donations for distribution to the needy, and has raised awareness of food security and wastage issues. Nichol is also president of One (Singapore), a non-profit organisation that aims to eradicate poverty and inequality.
Productivity tip “Never procrastinate and always complete what you can do today. Save tomorrow for another challenge.”
Nichol is a 2016 Generation T lister
As the CEO of NUS Enterprise, Lily Chan works to inject the entrepreneurial spirit into the learning experience at the National University of Singapore, through experiential education, entrepreneurial support and industry engagement. Key programmes include the NUS Overseas Colleges initiative, where students gain industry exposure in global entrepreneurial hotspots. “Entrepreneurship plays a key role in a young and dynamic economy like Singapore, where it’s responsible for creating more jobs, innovative products and services, and even new markets,” she says.
Lily is on the 2017 Tatler 300 list
The founding partner of SoGal Ventures, Pocket Sun has her venture capitalist game down pat and is a sought-after speaker for high-profile conferences all over the world. Her company invests in pre-seed to Series A stage enterprises, and has an extensive portfolio in Asia and the US.
Productivity tip “Knowing myself and unapologetically doing things my way. I’m the most productive when I want to work and don’t waste time feeling guilty for taking a break.”
Pocket is a 2017 Generation T lister
One half of design studio Lanzavecchia+Wai, Hunn Wai works with Italian designer Francesca Lanzavecchia to create concepts and products that provoke new perspectives and possibilities. The studio was the Red Dot Award Winner for Product Design in 2016.
A digital innovation on my wish list... “is Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain-machine interface technology, which will allow us to share information and render three-dimensional designs in real time just by thinking of them”.
Hunn is a 2016 Generation T lister
The founder and managing director of Mercury Marketing & Communications was instrumental in the creation of the Audi Fashion Festival, now known as Singapore Fashion Week. Tjin Lee also co-founded social enterprise Crib, which recently expanded beyond its focus on female entrepreneurship with Holiday for Hope, an initiative that channels the holiday expenditures of travellers to charities that help local communities.
A trait I admire... “is resilience and tenacity. I admire people who aren’t afraid of fighting against the odds, in the battle of David against Goliath”.
Tjin is on the 2017 Tatler 300 list
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