GIRL TALK: Penny Low, Founder, Social Innovation Park

Why CSR and Social Innovation is Everyone’s Business

So in September, I attended the CSR and the Social Innovators Forum.



I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised when I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Penny Low, founder of Social Innovation Park, an impartial, not-for-profit organisation based in Singapore that incubates social entrepreneurs worldwide to bring positive innovations to lives and societies.

Excerpt taken from Social Innovation Park’s book Top 50 Social Innovations Changing Our World.

Of course, the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, lent some star power mega star power to the event.


I had never thought about Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation prior to this, despite being in business for the past 5 years. Mainly because I had always had the impression of it being something that only applied to large corporates because of the extent of their influence.

But, at this forum, I learnt quite the opposite. CSR and Social Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. And to make any significant kind of change, efforts have to be made from the “ground up”. This means the responsibility is yours and mine.


CSR and Social Innovation can be as simple as participating in Food Bank initiatives.
Like this Food Bank Project X-pired –  Converting Food into Fashion!
Me and Penny

Find out more about the inspiration behind Social Innovation Park and what entrepreneurs can do to contribute to this cause, watch my interview with Penny here:

MotivationalMonday: Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky

7 Lessons from Corporate Leaders from the World’s Best Companies

“In this world, there is no force equal to the strength of a woman determined to rise.” – W.E.B. Dubois

As an entrepreneur, I am committed to my continual education and I love learning, what more from the world’s best. It’s phenomenal how the organiser, House of Rose Professional, managed to gather all these corporate leaders in this Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky Summit so we could learn from them and apply these lessons to our businesses.


This Summit was inspired by the book of the same name and was written by Women In Leadership expert, Founder of House of Rose Professional, Anthony Rose. He is committed to empowering women to help us break the ceiling and touch the sky.

Here are 7 lessons from these corporate leaders that really stuck with me:

Lesson #1: On Hiring

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, South East Asia and Australasia, UNILEVER Plc

Always ask a person who they are (not what they do). A lot of people know what they do but can’t explain who they are.

It is important that they know who they are, they possess humility, are confident and have high ambitions. If they do not have humility, they will just be plain arrogant.

Lesson #2: On What Businesses Will Look Like In The Future

Amit Banati, President, Asia Pacific, the Kellogg Company

  1. Micro tasking
    1. Splitting tasks down into small tasks and handing them out to freelancers who will do these jobs for a fee.
  2. Customisation of health, wellness and nutrition
    1. There is so much information and so much confusion out there now.
    2. In the future, it will be a lot more common to have highly personalised nutrition, health and wellness products or services.
  3. Advertising and Marketing
    1. Customers will want to engage very differently with brands, on their own terms.

Lesson #3: On how to attract Millenials to work for you

Lynne Anne Davis, President, FleishmanHillard Asia Pacific

  • Millennials tend to be very high performers
  • Overachievers and learn a lot in a very short period of time
  • Companies need to work with it and feed their learning curve, and prepare for turnover every 3 years
  • Millennials want a job that is worthwhile and feel valued.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, South East Asia and Australasia, UNILEVER Plc

  • First, you need to be a winning organisation. No one wants to be a losing team.
  • Secondly, there must be a sense of purpose: 84% of millennials have a mission and they want to change the world. If you don’t demonstrate a sense of purpose, then it will be difficult to attract them.
  • Thirdly, we must have very high standards and send the message to them that if they are able to join the organisation, they will be part of a winning team.
  • Once they join, they are put into a very intense learning programme. Every 6 months they will need to be learning new things to ensure that they learn at an exponential rate.

Lesson #4: On How To Break The Ceiling And Touch The Sky 

Ann Mukherjee, Global Chief Marketing Officer, SC Johnson 

Ann’s sharing struck a chord within me. And I’m really grateful for her deep and raw honesty because not many people are this brave. She shared about her experiences in an abusive marriage, her eventual remarriage to her current husband, her struggles to conceive, and when she finally had her twin daughters, finding out they had cancer. To her, these are her stories and they have shaped her to who she is today. She encourages everyone to embrace their stories and use them to their advantage. This is what she says:

“If you want to be successful, you have to break your own glass ceiling and touch your own sky. It takes courage to look within yourself and truly find ways to love yourself.

Be honest about what skills you do have. Then you’ll be able to uncover the soft skills that will be reflected in your company. 

You must embrace your stories, because through those stories, become those soft skills. Use it to touch your sky, but also help the organisations that you want to join, touch the sky too.” 

Lesson #5: On How To Be Authentic 

Catherine Hall, GM Marine, Shell Chemicals 

Catherine is a woman in a man’s world and she shared that she was completely fine with that because of her own childhood experiences. She was always different from her schoolmates and so learned to embrace being different at a young age.

She advises everyone

  • to become comfortable with being different and
  • and then thrive on that to make a difference. It is important to find out what really motivates you and go from there.

It is important to find out what really motivates you and go from there.

Catherine Hall and I.

Find out more about her in her Straits Times feature.

Lesson #6: On Executing Plans

Grace Ho, Chief Commercial Officer, Singapore Post Limited 

Grace has had an extremely high flying career in tech, having worked for HP and Microsoft, amongst other companies.

Her secret to creating workable systems is crystallised into the following Acronym (Yes, so Singaporean, right?):

Communicate: Set the expectations with the bosses

Operationalise: Set the processes and systems for predictability.

Plan: Review every 90 days and forward plan to instil some sense of sanity.

Find out more about her ACE Attitude which has brought her to where she is in her Straits Time feature.

Lesson #7: On Making A Positive, Lasting Impression

Anthony Rose, Founder, House of Rose Professional and Bestselling author of Daddy’s Logic and Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky

Anthony took the time to hand write personalised messages on the name tags of all the delegates who attended.


The event was really well run and put together and I certainly learnt a lot (and ate a lot). But what struck me most deeply besides these other 6 lessons above was Anthony’s thoughtfulness and humility in this gesture.

I truly believe he really has a heart for women in leadership and I’m really glad that he’s doing what he’s doing. Thank you Anthony!

This blue tag was attached to a rose which HP was giving out to all the ladies at the Summit. As you can tell, I love it!