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Leadership Moments with MsPatsian Low

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Nurul Syafiqah Bte Mohd Said

on 18 March 2014

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Transcript of Leadership Moments with MsPatsian Low

Patsian wanted to try something different. She wanted to pursue non-profit work full-time rather than just volunteering.
Micro-finance in Singapore did not have a very solid base, so Patsian took up a job at the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).
Getting to know Patsian
"to determine if your career path is going in the direction that you favor, take a look at what your boss is doing"
Patsian Low
Family of 5
eldest of 3 siblings
younger sister and
younger brother
Raffles Girls School
Binghamton University- School of Management
Hotel Management
1991 - 1995
1987 - 1990
(Finance Major)
State Street Bank
Microfinance and Social Finance Specialist
June 1995 – June 1996
(1 year 1 month)
Product Specialist
June 1996 – July 2004
(8 years 2 months)
New York University- Leonard N. Stern School of Business
1998 - 2001
July 2004 – April 2008 (3 years 10 months)
Managing Director
2008 – 2010
Freelance Consultant
National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)
May 2010 – Present
(3 years 11 months)
Director, Philanthropy
National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre
Managing director before 35
Managing Director before I turn 35!
Vice President
Patsian decided that taking over her boss’ current position was not what she would like for herself, and so she departed from her job
Patsian decided to volunteer in a department for micro-financing. She was intrigued by the amazing dynamics between finance and aiding poorer people to start businesses.
Patsian travelled to developing nations such as Cambodia and India to help locals set up businesses and provide funding for them.
This volunteering experience gave her new insights as to how she is able to contribute to the society and is the inspiration for her new journey.
She decided to start her own initiative along with her husband and a few friends, each bringing their own experience to the enterprise.
Patsian and her friends struggled with the social enterprise consultancy for two years because they could not find a revenue model that would work in Singapore’s business environment at that time. Social enterprises did not have much funding and she could not work for free, so after two years of struggling, they decided to shut it down.
Patsian almost exhausted all of her
savings. It turns out that Patsian and her team
were naïve about one thing; they thought that
they could bring their years of experience from the
private sector to the non-profit world and apply business
principles to non-profit organizations’ problems. They realized
later that the two were very different. However, even though
it was the roughest patch of her life, Patsian said that she would not
change it for anything because the challenges she faced there molded her into what she is today.
While looking for cars and apartments in Phnom Penh, she discovered that she was expecting her first child!
Patsian decided to apply for a job in microfinance in Cambodia, while her husband decided to pursue humanitarian works there.
Patsian and her husband did not want their child growing up in Cambodia, so they decided to stay Singapore.
The CEO was very impressed by Patsian's work. He setup a separate division within the NVPC to cater exclusively to philanthropy, in which he told Patsian to lead.
Patsian's GOAL
Patsian is currently the director of the philanthropy division in NVPC and heads a team of 9.
Hotel manager before 35
Hong Kong
New York
New York
Patsian shows great interpersonal skills. She is sensitive towards needs of others and takes consideration of their individual characteristics.

She also enjoys working at NVPC as it is a very friendly place, which shows that she values the relationships she has with people working there.
Before entering university, she already had the goal of wanting to be a managing director or a hotel manager by 35. She had already set a goal and had the determination to achieve it, which she eventually did.
She said that she will keep on trying until she can no longer influence anyone, which shows her desire to lead and influence others.
Open to new experience & risk-taker
She already had a successful career early on in life. This huge jump to her social consultancy start-up shows that Patsian is not afraid of going into the unknown. She dares to take risks.
Though the consultancy initiative eventually failed, Patsian still considered it a great experience, showing her ability to know what went wrong and to learn from her mistakes. She is flexible and has the ability to adjust to different situations easily.
Learning from mistakes & flexible
Patsian was made responsible to lead the new philanthropy department in NVPC shows that she is trustworthy and dependable
Her ability to pick up the pieces and continue shows that she does have a high level of self-confidence, not allowing failures to cripple her.
Achievement Motive Theory
The Need For Achievement
The Need For Socialised Power
The Need For Affiliation
Patsian was goal-orientated from the start. Patsian achieved her goal of being a managing director of a bank even before she turned 35.

She was motivated to be a successful social entrepreneur as she felt the internal drive and passion to serve the community.
Patsian has high amount of emotional stability, interpersonal skills and maturity to manage her company. Since the social sector requires a greater amount of “human touch”, she maintains her reliability and respect of her fellow followers by first establishing strong personal relationship ties with them. Patsian scores high in agreeableness and sensitivity towards her followers, respecting their decisions and varying motivations.
Ethics and Morality
While working in banking sector, she volunteers in micro-finance
Left the banking industry to pursue non-profit work
Took initiative to establish social enterprise consultancy venture
Future plan: to work for NVPC till retirement and keep contributing philanthropic sector
"When you have a situation where you have financial issues, people defrauding savings, you don’t want to work for an organisation like that"
-Patsian's father
Wanted to move to Cambodia to pursue and work for a micro-finance institution
"One’s ethics should not be judged on one’s actions"
Patsian believes that one should not just judge another just by his unethical behaviour. We have to take into consideration of his environmental situation.
Leadership Style
Leader Behaviours
Employee Contingencies
Environmental Contingencies
Leader Effectiveness
Task Structure
Team Dynamics
Employee Motivation
Employee Satisfaction
Leader Acceptance
Path-goal Leadership
Based on situation
Leader chooses most appropriate leadership style for maximum effectiveness
Pygmalian Effect
Patsian’s leadership style on communications actually significantly impacts the culture of the workplace
Patsian wants to keep the communication style very
open and friendly
to not only foster good relationships but to ensure people are welcome to posit their own opinions pertaining to any issue. This always helps to keep the environment
politics free
, that would otherwise be drastic for her team of 9.
"A few members from my team and another team regularly go for yoga together, some go to the same church, most of us are Facebook friends"
She communicates with external vendors for donors and sponsors to keep her thriving business
She tries to maintain good relationship and build rapport with her external stakeholders. This is done constantly and consistency to showcase her sincerity with donors and sponsors

External Communication Style
Internal Communication Style
Crisis Management
NVPC relies on online portals to bridge the gap between NVPC and the donors and charities. However, this online portal is not a one-size-fit all system. Smaller charities did not have the proper infrastructure to sync with the online portals and hence would be excluded from their clientele base.

Managing Crisis:
Patsian’s foresight and intelligence led the team to overcome such obstacles by taking alternative solutions like first collecting donations before passing the donations to charity. She keeps abreast with the current innovation.

Her ability to be
quick to react
to situations enabled her to
execute crucial crisis management plans
, sustaining NVPC reputable in the social enterprise sector.
Lessons Learnt #1
Lesson Learnt #2
Lesson Learnt #3
Lesson Learnt #4
Lesson Learnt #5
Lessons Learnt
Patsian always envisage a plan (15 years)
Benjamin Franklin
Independent study: only 5% had a plan!
Sticking & following through!!!
Yes, we all know its important
BUt, how to have "openness to new experience"?
Key words: (i) humlitiy; (ii) willingness to always seek improvement
The moment you think.....
Life will always present itself with challenges
Tipping point
Personal vs Group: level up
Clarify: Not just about doing social work
It begets many qualities: generosity; empathy; patience; likeableness
Leadership is about people; and people is about r/s
Garner greater RESPECT and John Maxwell’s 5 Level of Leadership

Ethics and Morality
Often a neglected and understated quality for SUSTAINABLE success
Enron, World Com, 08 Financial Crisis
Seen as a liability in business world
Ethnics is the foundation of reputation
Can't lead if you have a bad rep
World Com, Enron, 2008 Financial Crisis
Mr Rajat Gupta
can't afford to let loose

What happens when you and I fail
Singaporeans are very afraid to fail
PROF ;)))))))
Will we crumble or bounce back
Spot the Silver Lining

Patsian did not take an authoritative role
Her ability to adjust to different situations and changes while being able to influence and promote creativity and innovation to followers around her was one of her successful characteristics.
Balancing high emotional quotient (EQ) and remarkable abilities for emotional stability and self-confidence, this leadership method has aided Patsian in being a focused individual and a successful leader in the social entrepreneur industry
forceful superior
unaware of corporate ethical climate
Full transcript