60 seconds with a rising star: Shayne Goh

Author May-San NG
March 11, 2020

Keeping with the theme of #IWD2020 this month, our 60 Seconds With A Rising Star features and celebrates the achievements of HR Manager at William Grant & Sons, Shayne Goh. 

Coffee or Tea?

Definitely tea. I thrive on Earl Grey, am widely known as a bubble tea addict, and I love my Singaporean teh peng.

Favorite Singaporean food?

Lai Huat Sambal Fish @ Upper East Coast Road – it’s my go-to and the one thing I really miss whenever I’m overseas. The chili is amazing.  

What is the best thing about your job?

It’s really about being a true partner to the business & turning HR from an operational team to actively driving the business. That means understanding the company, the market, what we do, how we’re responding to it, and setting the wheels in place for our people to be successful. I love the products, I love what we do, and I love being a part of building success now and for the future.

Tell us about a woman that inspires you…

Karen Fogarty – my first boss & the managing partner of Colquhoun Murphy Lawyers. She has such insight into each person’s strengths and development areas, and she’s got a knack for drawing the best out of you and helping you grow by putting you through challenges you don’t even realise are challenges until you’ve overcome them.

She’s a great lawyer, truly believes in developing people, and she’s always been a huge champion for women’s rights – she herself has achieved so much and she’s so keen to bring others along with her. Karen has such a wealth of experience, yet still remains down-to-earth at the same time. She’s always made me want to be a better person, to find that balance between career and personal success, and I would not be where I am without her support (even today).

What key theme’s surrounding International Women’s Day do you think still needs greater awareness?

#EachforEqual is so much about equality, and one huge part of that is recognising and addressing bias.

Bias is really interesting because, as the name suggests, it’s something you have as a blind spot, which means more often than not, you won’t see it yourself. We talk a lot about equal rights, treatment, opportunity, but a lot of this is hindered by the fact that people don’t see the differences or hurdles to equality due to their own bias.

It’s not about finding fault or blaming people for having these biases, but more on encouraging them to be curious, self-aware, looking at their own behaviours with a different lens to overcome these and to actively work to remove their bias from behavior, systems, and societies.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Lean in into difficult feelings and conversations. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s not weak to need help – never be afraid to ask. Your biggest growth comes from times where you are the most uncomfortable.

Which male allies do you find inspiring in their support for women’s equality?

My father, his brothers, and my partner. It’s never about about what you cannot do, but always what you could possibly achieve.

My dad and my uncles are part of large family – 7 sisters, 4 brothers – with a strong matriarch at the head even though my grandfather was the breadwinner. I was brought up in an environment where women are equal, if not stronger figures. I’m also incredibly lucky to have a partner (and I use this term intentionally) who is equally supportive. They may not be the ones banging the drums at women’s marches, but it’s the little things that count – actively seeking input from the women in their lives, challenging men on behavior that doesn’t spell respect for women… I really think these things make a difference and it’s people like them that help drive the change slowly but surely.

Any hidden talents?

Being able to sing an unusually large repertoire of 70s and 80s songs (not necessarily in tune).

What was the last thing you googled?

How to get to…multiple locations e.g. a Greek restaurant, my regular bar – I can navigate Singapore on roads without a map for the most part, but leave me at a bus stop and you’ll soon realise I can’t figure out public transport routes!

If you could invite two individuals to a dream dinner party, who would you they be and why?

Brené Brown and Arunachalam Muruganantham.

I first came across Brené Brown’s work in the TEDTalk on the power of vulnerability, and she’s done fantastic work across daring leadership (leading with courage), applying self-compassion, as well as research into shame & vulnerability. It’s hugely applicable to most of us in daily lives, and to both formal and informal leadership. I really believe these skills are essential to helping us become better people, better leaders and to effectively drive authentic change – what better than to have a strong female leader herself driving this.

You may think it’s an odd combination, but I would absolutely love to meet Arunachalam Muruganantham too. He’s better known as India’s period man, who’s made revolutionary strides in making menstrual products more accessible and reducing stigma around menstruation in India. We face huge challenges with equality, particularly in the developing regions of the world – the progress he’s made in India is hugely impressive, and it is heartening to see that women’s rights aren’t a fight that women run on our own, that we have male champions helping drive and persist in driving this journey forward. 

I would love to bring them together to have a conversation about the challenges we face in making equality more of a reality, particularly in the developing countries. To me, this is what IWD is about – reflecting on yourself & what you can do to build an equal world, how you can help enable others to do so, and to find and build relationships where we partner each other to work towards our shared goal. It’s #EachforEqual and beyond. 

Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organisation/company they are employed by. 

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