ALUMNI BOARD Q&A

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Board Nominations are open! What is that? It means that you get to be a team that helps the Alumni Community stay tightly knit, planning events and sharing our experiences or opportunities we find. Here are a series of interviews with the 2017-2018 Board Members, where you can learn about what goes on on the ground and behind the scenes. Perfect for if you'd like to know more about the work entails. If you'd like to ask a specific question to a board member, shoot us a DM and we'll get a response back to you! 

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CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD

Ong Sim, VA 2012

Hi Ong Sim! What is your role on the board and what do you do?
OS: I called for the first Alumni elections back in 2014, initiated some of our first few programmes as an Alumni such as the various contributions back to SOTA and Evening Assembly, and represented the Alumni in establishing our working relationship with SOTA. I am currently responsible for setting the direction of the Alumni, ensuring that our milestones are met and planning for a smooth successorship of the Alumni Board.

What you do in your real life?
OS: I’m going to get called to the Bar in August 2018, about to be a newly qualified lawyer.

Can you tell us one of the notable or proudest endeavors you've completed on the board?
OS:Laying sufficient groundwork during the formation of the Board. I got to establish an annual calendar and protocol for the Alumni Board to fall back on but also leaving a lot of room for change, new ideas and projects so that the next generation of Alumni Board members have all the tools they need to hit the ground running.

What have you learned during the past two years?
OS: Management and leadership means having enough willpower and tenacity for your entire team. Sometimes, it also means reasoned stubbornness. Once your team and you have deliberated and decided on a goal, do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done, keep on keeping on.

And what's your favorite thing about being on the board?
OS: Pioneering work is always frightfully exciting and inspirational, especially when you have a brilliant and talented team to support you and bounce ideas off of. I love embarking on new projects from scratch, the freedom to craft your ideal programmes and outcomes from others' experiences without being bogged down by tradition and red tape is the best thing about being a young alumni. It is also my wish that the Alumni Board upholds this trait on principle for the years to come.

Who will make a good nominee for your role?
OS: The Chairperson of the SOTA Alumni should love the SOTA community (including the teachers and parents) and see its potential past the school gates of SOTA. A good nominee is someone who knows the rules and who knows how to strategise based on the team’s strengths. It's a whole other side to creativity from the one we are familiar with at SOTA. A good nominee should also be someone who can pick up the slack when the team is spent and reignite that fervour and buzz within the team again. Being firm in principle but open to new, younger ideas is also a plus!

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TREASURY & FUNDRAISING

Evan Chooi (@evanchooi) VA 2012

 

Hi Evan! What is your role on the board and what do you do?
EC: I help to overlook the board finances and budgeting for our alumni projects and events throughout the year, and I also head the fundraising initiatives that we have. These initiatives include getting sponsors for our events such as the evening assembly and our upcoming alumni card - and it involves communicating and negotiating with various external organisations to forge partnerships between them and the SOTA Alumni. 

What do you do in real life?
EC: I’m currently in my final year in SMU Law.

Can you tell us one of the notable or proudest endeavors you've completed on the board?
EC: The 2017 evening assembly was our biggest one to date and the first one where we began to actively look for partners. My team and I managed to attain $20,000 worth of sponsorship in that year from scratch and I think it was a great time to have introduced our alumni to a very wide range of public organisations then. 

What have you learned during the past two years?
EC: Apart from learning to work with a group of very Creative people from different years, I have learnt about the difficulties of starting out an organisation from scratch and also about having a sensitivity to the many stakeholders that your decisions can affect (as our alumni is growing to be a fairly diverse one). 

And what's your favorite thing about being on the board?
EC: It gives me a chance to give back to SOTA and SOTA students both past and present, and allows me to continue having a bond with an unforgettable experience I’ve had growing up.

Who will make a good nominee for your role?
EC: Someone who is not afraid to try new things and come up with new ideas (because the alumni & it’s board is still very new), someone who is comfortable with communicating with all sorts of external parties, and someone who is passionate about giving back to SOTA! 

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ALUMNI RELATIONS

Ng Jingyun (@facelessclocks) Music 2013

Hi Jingyun! What is your role on the board and what do you do?
JY: Hallo! I’m the person who links up new alumni with the SOTA Alumni community, and gets everyone in the loop of opportunities to continue staying connected at gatherings and with our juniors. I head Alumni Liaison activities, like a Head Hunter of sort! I also gather folks for Evening Assembly performances.

What you do in your real life?
JY: I’ve recently graduated from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music with a BMus (Vocal Performance) degree — I’m taking a gap year where I’m continuing to build my portfolio as a vocalist, voice teacher and project manager. Eventually I’ll (hopefully) pursue a specialisation in Alexander Technique and voice pedagogy.

Can you tell us one of the notable or proudest endeavors you've completed on the board?
JY: Personally gathering alumni from all stages in life to head back to SOTA to share about their experiences, making sure that our juniors have a guiding light and a support system waiting for them on the other side of graduation!

What have you learned during these two years?
JY: Hunting people down is easy but convincing people that their time and effort to connect with others is valuable to both the people and themselves is where the toughness is at. In HR and PR management, it’s important to get the job done while remembering we’re all human, so be polite and understanding even in the face of rejection or problems. Also, perseverance pays off: from 2014 to 2018 the board has come a long way!

And what's your favorite thing about being on the board?
JY: Seeing the merchandises first hand!! (And having a stash waiting for potential buyers haha). I love getting to know and to work with folks from SOTA graduating cohorts as well as the teachers! The sense of community is something that I cherish — no matter where you are, what platform it is, it always feels like home when you interacting with a SOTA folk.

Who will make a good nominee for your role?
J: Anyone who loves being in the heat of where things are freshly brewing, stalking people, hunting people down, or love the SOTA community and would like to keep it cozy. Someone who would like to organise events and have a go at HR management in a more familiar setting should give it a go too!

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NETWORKING & RECRUITMENT

Kong YinYing (@yinying.kyy) VA 2014

Hi YY! What is your role on the board and what do you do?
YY: I recruited new members for our alumni family and collated data from the register. That includes information on places of study and professional pursuits, which was used by the Board to maintain a network of communication and to map how our community has grown beyond SOTA. In terms of recruitment, I visited SOTA at key events such as Results Day and Grad Night, armed with laptops and helpers for new or soon-to-be alumni to register.

What you do in your real life?
YY: I’m graduating soon from the BA Design (aka BAD) course at Goldsmiths University of London and am potentially moving on to a Masters degree in Critical Writing in art and design.

Can you tell us one of the notable or proudest endeavors you've completed on the board?
YY: I remember speaking to the 2018 graduating batch before their results were released and thinking “I’m on the other side now - and they’re joining me soon!” Most of the time, I’m working very abstractly with names and numbers on a spreadsheet; actually getting to see the students officially get the status of alumni was very rewarding, and I felt proud to be on a team that could make their post-SOTA journey at least a little bit easier.

What have you learned during the past two years?
YY: I’ve picked up a lot of spreadsheeting skills and learnt how to make friends outside of Class of ‘14 haha

And what's your favorite thing about being on the board?
YY: I get a fairly regular dose of nostalgia coming back to the alma mater for recruitment events and the like. It feels like returning to home away from home. It’s also pretty eye-opening to have all this information at my fingertips - to know comprehensively how much of the world SOTA alumni has visited and impacted. And there’s also a measure of self-satisfaction working with a team similarly invested in the well-being and futures of SOTA students.

Who will make a good nominee for your role?
YY: Anyone’s who is committed to building a strong alumni community. All the rest of the skills can be learnt.

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INITIATIVES & EVENTS

Sarah Goh (@sarahgoh) Dance 2014

Hi Sarah! What is your role on the board and what do you do?
SG: Before my current position I worked with my partner-in-crime Joy on all platforms and content that you see & hear as the Media Director. Our team being so diverse and small, I also support  Ms. Prez our Chairperson in meetings and conversations with school, pack welfare packs for year 6s. Currently working with the Evening Assembly team to work on what's coming up in JULY!!!

What you do in your real life?
SG: I’m a final year SMU Social Science, Majoring in Political Science and Arts and Cultural Management.

Can you tell us one of the notable or proudest endeavors you've completed on the board?
SG: Kickstarted our social media platforms and presence, and more importantly just being able to contribute in whatever way I can in being positioned between students, alumni and school. And of course, the Alumni stickers.

What have you learned during the past two years?
SG: Teamwork requires TEAM and WORK

And what's your favorite thing about being on the board?
SG: Getting to work with people I never thought I'll get to work with in SOTA

Who will make a good nominee for your role?
SG: Good at organising, believes timelines are strong yet malleable, knows how to throw a good party, loves helping out and helping others help out.

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MEDIA & DESIGN

Joy Ho (@feever_dreem) VA 2012

Hi Joy! What is your role on the board and what do you do?
JH: I'm the Media Director and I created and maintain the alumni website, getting job opportunities we are emailed on the site, helping design layouts on collateral we need, and contacting alumni for interviews. Now I also maintain the social media accounts, working with Sarah who was the previous Media Director, to get alumni we know have events coming up up there.

What you do in your real life?
JH: I've just graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and currently a freelance illustrator and cartoonist.

Can you tell us one of the notable or proudest endeavors you've completed on the board?
JH: Constructing the website was a good milestone for the alumni to have as an online marker for our existence, and I really like conducting the interviews for Freshly Pressed! The interviewer isn’t a ghost! It’s me!

What have you learned during these two years?
JH: Brainstorming about ways to push out media content has been really eye-opening, and trying to read audience responses on what works and doesn’t.

And what's your favorite thing about being on the board?
JH: I like that we have several roles to play at a time when being on the board and that you get to craft what you want to get out of the experience. I got to practice using the design applications such as Illustrator and Indesign to make collateral, and it’s a good place to experiment, like a self-guided internship. I also secretly really enjoy the meetings because its feels good to work with a team that gets stuff done, and working with other alumni who weren’t from the same class as 2012!

Who will make a good nominee for your role?
JH: Someone with a creative disposition (shouldn’t be a problem for SOTA grads) and knowledge in the Adobe suite. I’ll absolutely be around to help with the next candidate’s questions on getting better in the applications as well. Having the ability to delegate will be ideal, because handling creative, social media and website admin does heavy and it’s good to let others help out both for workload and to have a variety of design voices to make up the community.


Thanks for reading! Nominations remain open until 16 June! Click the link here to find out more about what the Board has done, or to join Team Alumni as a non-board member but a voluntary member who we can reach out to when we need extra muscle.

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