March 2024 Issue: Co-operator Newsletter Quarterly March 2024

SNCF’s Capability Development Programme for Co-ops Kickstarts Second Round with 11 Emerging Leaders

SNCF’s Capability Development Programme for Co-ops Kickstarts Second Round with 11 Emerging Leaders
Caption: SNCF’s Capability Development Programme for Co-ops Kickstarts Second Round with 11 Emerging Leaders

In early March 2024, 11 candidates from eight co-operatives participated in the Emerging Leaders Programme (ELP). An initiative by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) for the Singapore Co-operative Movement, the talent development programme aims to help co-operatives identify and develop human capital within their ecosystems.

ELP was first launched in 2023 and hopes to groom 100 emerging leaders within the next few years.  From a general practitioner to a Singapore Prison Service staff, ELP has since nurtured 22 individuals from various co-operatives in Singapore.

Participants on the programme, otherwise also known as ‘Emerging Leaders’, will be offered opportunities to network with various stakeholders within the Federation, including its EXCO; members from the Registry of Co-operative Societies; and co-operative peers from the Republic and across the globe.

Mostly notably, the emerging leaders will also get to explore projects that could possibly impact the Singapore Co-operative Movement, says Mr Alex Shieh, the architect behind ELP.

“This is a great opportunity for aspiring co-operative leaders who wants to grow and contribute to the co-operative ecosystem,” Mr Shieh said.

Emerging Leaders Programme 2024 Kickstarts in Batam, Indonesia

This year’s ELP kick-off in early March took place in Batam, Indonesia, away from the Singapore’s hustle and bustle, and is expected to complete later in August. SNCF EXCO member Raen Lim also joined the participants.

There, participants underwent a training curriculum curated by SNCF and educational professionals from the Republic Polytechnic (RP). They will resume their own team discussions back on the sunny island before presenting their findings in a final presentation.

Ms Lim, who is also the Group Vice President (Asia) of San Fransico based technology firm Splunk, will join some industry mentors to share advice along the way.

A huge part of the curriculum entails participants identifying their leadership styles and refining their communication techniques.

For instance, through the unseemly yet colourful LEGO blocks, the emerging leaders were encouraged to formulate models (with a preset selection of LEGO components) that best represent their work identities, before sharing their building inspiration and thought processes in a judgement free and mobile-phone free zone. This model-based storytelling helps individuals further discover how the role they are in can further contribute to their organisations as a whole.

Who are this year’s Emerging Leaders?

Comprising mostly women, this year’s emerging leaders hail from eight different co-operatives: POLWEL Co-operative Society, AUPE General Service Co-operative, AUPE Credit Co-operative, NTUC FairPrice Co-operative, Seacare Co-operative, Singapore Prison Service Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, Telephone Company Co-operative, and NTUC Foodfare Co-operative.

These emerging leaders have been working within the co-operative for at least five years. The average age of this intake is 35 years old.

“A good leader needs to have empathy, a clear vision of where they want to go, and the ability to communicate this vision clearly to the team,” said Ms Sharon Lim, a senior executive at AUPE General Services Co-operative. Ms Lim has been with the co-operative, which serves union members and the AUPE Credit Co-operative, for over a decade.

She added: “At ELP 2024, I was introduced to the Problem Definition Template and SCAMPER tool, which taught me how to brainstorm ideas better with my team.”

Like Ms Lim, Ms Serene Lee, a senior manager at Seacare Co-operative, feels that the ELP moulded her thinking as an emerging leader. “Finding out the unknown is crucial in sound decision-making,” Ms Lee, who has been with Seacare Co-operative for 15 years, said. “What we have learnt over the few days have helped me analyse and evaluate scenarios better.”

“I am also looking forward to learn from other co-operative members in my group and apply what I have learnt to brainstorm strategies with them,” she added.

By Sng Ler Jun

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SNCF is the apex body of Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, the apex body represents majority of co-operative members in Singapore through its affiliated co-operatives.