ON EQUAL GROUND

Jayne Jayanti Nadarajoo

FOUNDING DIRECTOR

MELBOURNE SPECIALIST INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PTE LTD

(Pulsar Category Winner 2018)

"Learn from every experience to make the next one better. Don’t be afraid to be successful and don’t be afraid to fail. "

Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) was founded by Jayne Jayanti Nadarajoo in 2014. It opened its doors to students in November 2014, offering a unique visual arts-inspired curriculum that uses the Victorian Foundation to Year 10 Curriculum as a guide.

Sited in the Loewen cluster in Dempsey, MSIS offers a unique and innovative model for teaching students with intellectual and multiple disabilities. It adopts a child-centred approach where teachers use the power of concrete experiences mediated through dance, drama, music and visual arts as a way to immerse its students in a deeply engaging learning environment. This enables the teachers to more readily facilitate each student’s development in literacy, numeracy and living skill goals.

MSIS also supports students with a range of services delivered by the therapy team, which includes specially qualified members of staff such as a clinical psychologist, an art therapist, swim coaches, music teacher, occupational therapist and speech and language therapist, dance teacher, physiotherapist, and drama teacher.

MSIS requires many resources in terms of members of staff and infrastructure to be able to offer such a diverse and rich programme. It looks to the future with clear directions in place to offer innovative programmes to its students, and its founder is working towards a purpose-built permanent school site as part of its growth and
expansion plan.

From her adolescent years, Jayne learned what it meant to be responsible. Her father passed away when she was just 11 years old, leaving behind her siblings and mother. Life as she knew it changed overnight — she and her elder sister had to assume larger roles and take care of chores around the house, while her mother became the sole breadwinner of the family.

After completing her O Levels, Jayne had to stop school full-time to help with the family income by becoming a teaching assistant at a school on Coronation Road. There, she was exposed to the expat community, which broadened her perspective and gave her a sense of how education could be different from that which she went through.

Resolved to giving the next generation of children a more holistic learning experience, Jayne established her first company in education in 1999. Her love for education and her desire to meet all the needs of students — including those with learning difficulties — then led to the launch of Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) in 2014. Now 49, the founding director of MSIS is working harder than ever to give equal opportunities to all students, regardless of their capabilities and cultural backgrounds.

From the outset, what was your mission or goal in life and in business?

To have a good balance in personal and academic success. There is nothing wrong with Singapore’s education system, but I want to do it differently. I want teachers who can inspire students and provide opportunities for them to make mistakes and learn from them rather than be punished. I want teachers who are more broad-based thinkers, as opposed to those who teach to test.

To what would you attribute the success of the schools?

Not generalising every child and taking time to understand their different cultural backgrounds and needs. When you are a melting pot like Singapore, you have to push yourself to gain real world knowledge to understand how others live. You cannot assume everyone just fits in, you want to help those who can’t by providing the transition and a place which is just as welcoming and supportive.

When have you been most satisfied in your life?

My children give me a lot of joy, they give me my biggest sense of achievement. I am very blessed that they have been supportive in the years that I had to work long hours. To me, they are the only people in the world who always forgive you and accept you. That is the beauty of motherhood. You will always be the mum and no one can take that away from you.

What advice would you offer the budding entrepreneur?

Learn from every experience to make the next one better. It doesn’t have to be failures, learn from successes too. Use the success to do better and make a difference; use the failure to work and live better. Don’t be afraid to be successful and don’t be afraid to fail. We often hear, “My failure brought me this or that”, but remember, your success brought you just as much.

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AWARD JUDGE

BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai

Director

Seed Global Investment

BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai spent 29 years in the Singapore Armed Forces as a military officer. He rose up to the Army’s top leadership and held numerous key appointments.

The years in the Armed Forces provided him a strong foundation in leadership, human capital management, operational planning, training development and critical diplomatic skills.

He retired from active military service in 2016 and is currently a Director with SEED Global Investment, a real estate investment firm. He oversees the company’s portfolio and business development in the US and UK. He holds a MSc in Applied Finance from the Singapore Management University, and is no stranger to corporate finance, portfolio management, equities, bonds and derivatives.

AWARD JUDGE

TIN PEI LING

Member of Parliament
CEO

Business China

Ms Tin Pei Ling is the Chief Executive Officer of Business China, a non-profit organisation that harnesses the support of the public sector & private enterprises to strengthen the ties between Singapore and China. Prior to joining Business China, Pei Ling was the Group Director of Corporate Strategy for Jing King Group.

Pei Ling is an elected Member of Parliament in Singapore since 2011 and currently serves on the Public Accounts Committee. She also serves on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications & Information (from 2018, Dy Chairperson) and Health (2011 – present) and previously for Law/Home Affairs (2011-2015) and Social & Family Development (2015 – 2018, Dy Chairperson).

AWARD JUDGE

RYAN CHIOH

Managing Director

Faseastflora.com

Mr Ryan Chioh joined FEF.com in 1998 as Executive Director of Far East Flora Holdings Pte Ltd.

Always a firm advocator for technology, Ryan identified the direction for e-commerce development and saw a business opportunity to offer FEF.com’s extensive range of flowers and gifts online in 2001. Ryan blended his IT savviness and prudent business sense to steer the company’s website to become the leading portal for flowers and gifts. Ryan also brought the company to another level by spearheading the development of a CRM and ERP business solution, integrating the front-end and back-end operations so that there would be easier identification of customer base.

AWARD JUDGE

NEO SING HWEE

Head, Operations System & Control

MAPLETREE INVESTMENTS

Sing Hwee is the Head, Operations System & Control of Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd. He is responsible for the business processes and control functions, information systems and technology as well as Internal Audit and Risk Management.  He also takes ownership of the Group’s Delegation of Authority and Procurement Policy. 

Sing Hwee has more than 20 years of experience in providing risk management, performance improvement, internal controls and business advisory services to clients in various industries, including the real estate sector.  Being a thought leader and a recognised expert in this field, he used to sit in the Ernst & Young (EY) ASEAN Partner Governance Council and led the Advisory (Risk) Internal Audit Practice in Asia Pacific, ASEAN and Singapore covering 17 countries, 30 partners and 700 professionals.  Before joining EY, he had spent many years in risk consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Andersen.

AWARD JUDGE

DR LIM WEE KIAK, PBM

Member of Parliament
CEO

Eagle Eye Centre

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, is an elected Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC since 2015 and serves as chairman of Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth. An Ophthalmologist, Dr Lim is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Eagle Eye Centre.

Dr Lim joined the Singapore Armed Forces as a medical officer in 1994 and completed subspecialty training in Ophthalmology in 1998, with a Master’s degree in Medicine and two post-graduate specialist qualifications in Ophthalmology. During his service in SAF, he led numerous humanitarian missions to neighbouring countries. He joined Singapore National Eye Centre and was awarded the MOH HMDP fellowship in 2003, doing one year of clinical and research Fellowship at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Dr Lim had been an active grassroots leader since 1998 before joining politics in 2006. For his active community involvement, he was awarded the Young Executive of the Year in 2000 and Public Service Medal (PBM) in 2003.

AWARD JUDGE

Chew Mok Lee

Assistant Chief Executive
ICM & Digitalisation
Enterprise Services & New Industries

Enterprise Singapore

Ms Chew Mok Lee is the Assistant Chief Executive in charge of ICM & Digitalisation, Enterprise Services & New Industries in Enterprise Singapore, a government agency spearheading enterprise and industry development, reporting to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. Enterprise Singapore is also the national Standards body in Singapore.

Prior to Enterprise Singapore, Mok Lee was with National Productivity Board (NPB), PSB and SPRING Singapore. She graduated from National University of Singapore, majoring in Economics and Statistics. She has a double Masters and is well versed in the area of enterprise promotion, industry development and partnership building, having been involved in various aspects of capability development, support for local enterprises, enabling a viable enterprise eco-system and entrepreneurship for 29 years. She also served as Secretariat to the Action Community for Entrepreneurship and was responsible for working with the Minister in Charge of Entrepreneurship and private sector members to foster entrepreneurship and support start-ups in Singapore.

AWARD JUDGE

CHIA KIM HUAT

Regional Head
Corporate and Transactional Practice

Rajah & Tann Singapore

Mr Chia Kim Huat has extensive experience in capital market, public and private mergers and acquisitions, cross-border joint ventures and private equity investments, both in Singapore and the region. He travels regularly in the Asia-Pacific region advising clients on a wide range of matters, including direct investments and infrastructure projects in China, major acquisitions in Korea, joint ventures in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan and cross-border mergers and acquisitions transactions. Kim Huat also advises foreign investors on their investments in Singapore, including listings on the Singapore Exchange, privatisations, secondary and dual listings.

He has been recognised as a leading lawyer in his field by International Financial Law Review 1000, Chambers Global “Leaders in their Field”, Asia Pacific Legal 500, “Eminent Practitioner” in Chambers Asia Pacific, Who’s Who Legal: Corporate – Merger & Acquisition/Capital Markets – Debt and Equity and Merger & Acquisition, ‘Leading Lawyer’ in Asialaw Profiles and Best Lawyers, 2017 Edition.

AWARD JUDGE

TAN WEE BENG

Deputy Chief Executive (Operations)
SkillsFuture Singapore

Wee Beng is the Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) of SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). He leads the Business Technology Group (Operations Planning Division, Capability Development Division, Operations & Support Division, Security & Infrastructure Division), the Training, Manpower & Infrastructure Group (Manpower & Infrastructure Planning Division, Office of Lifelong Learning, and Institute of Adult Learning which comprises Learning and Professional Development Division, Research and Innovation Division, Learning Services and Support Division ) as well as the Business Services Group (Shared Services Management, Integrated Business Services Division &, Corporate Services Division).

Prior to joining SSG, Wee Beng was an officer with the Singapore Armed Forces, leading both large and small teams. His last appointment was Chief-of-Staff, Republic of Singapore Navy, overseeing a range of staff departments and ground commands. Other key appointments held were Head Naval Operations, Commander of Maritime Security Task Force and Commander, Naval Diving Unit. Wee Beng holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Physics from Oxford University, UK, and a Master of Science in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.