November 18, 2019

This is one of the most common questions that college graduates face at job interviews, right up there with, “What’s your greatest strength and weakness?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Yet, it’s no mere clichéd query. What one considers their greatest accomplishment in life can reveal the values they hold dear, the principles they live by, even the way in which their mind works. Sometimes it could be as simple as getting out of bed, despite feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, or learning how to forgive. Contrary to popular belief, not all successful people pride themselves on their work or career. Some look at the impact they have made, while others look forward to what is to come. Hear from these 8 vanguards in Singapore about the one thing they’ve achieved so far that outweighs the others.

Gillian Tan, Founder of Clicknetwork

“Just being happy. I’m in a very good place in my life. I don’t feel a desire to want or need more, and I think reaching this point of happiness is an achievement… When you get older, you get more comfortable and satisfied with who you are and your life. It makes me realise: Hey! You know what? I actually have a really good life. I am fortunate because things have been so smooth for me. I’ve never really experienced any speed bumps, especially in my personal life, and for that I am extremely thankful.”

Elim Chew, Founder of 77th Street

“I think the greatest accomplishment is when I see young people who I have mentored, make a difference in society or do well in their respective businesses.”

Nellie Lim, Creative Director of Nellie Studios

“I always feel incredibly lucky to be able to attend NYFW, MFW, and PFW for 6 seasons now. And I’m still so thankful for all these opportunities and the fact that I’m being invited to the biggest fashion shows in the world.”

Linda Hao, Founder & Creative Director of YESAH

“Being able to work towards my dream and overcoming every obstacle that came my way.”

Velda Tan, Founder & Creative Director of Collate The Label

“At this point, I don’t think I have accomplished anything that I would be really proud of. The best is yet to be. So, we’ll see.”

Dr Sandhya Sriram, CEO & Co-Founder of Shiok Meats

“I don’t think I’ve achieved it yet. Maybe the transition from being a scientist to an entrepreneur. It’s so personally satisfying. For me, it’s about providing jobs for people, providing a great work environment, and knowing what not to do—life has taught me that. I’ve already made my mistakes, and now I know better. But yeah, I love being an entrepreneur. I love hustling. It’s an addictive thing.”

Dr Ka Yi Ling, Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder of Shiok Meats

“For me, it would be starting a summer undergraduate research fellowship in Wisconsin. I did that in 2013 while doing my PhD. That was a graduate student group. Every year, they’ll onboard about four to five students. We pay the students, I think, $1,000 a month throughout summer. We take applications from undergraduates who want to do research, and grad students and postdocs who want to mentor students. We have a 12-week programme, where professors come to talk about how to do research posters and presentations.

The mentors go through a scientific mentorship programme, so they’ll learn to be actual mentors and not just have students as slaves. I’m very proud that it happened. A lot of students from the first few batches that I onboarded have gone on to grad school and into the industry to contribute to stem cell research. I ran it for two, three years, before passing it on to the next committee.”

Olga Iserlis, Founder of Twise

“At this juncture, the birth of my children… maybe there are better things to come, but I just don’t know yet.”

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