Upon assuming the role of President in March 2014, I set out the following Vision 2016 for AAS:
- To become a leading alumni association in Singapore, with over 5,000 members;
- To become an effective facilitator to our members, enhancing their professional and business networks;
- To become the key link promoting and encouraging Australian education to Singaporeans, and Singaporean education to Australians.
At present, there are 140,000 Australian Alumni in Singapore. In 2016 alone, our membership grew by 80% from 1,500 to 2,700. Thus, I believe that with our continued hard-work and perseverance, our 5,000 member target will soon be achieved.
- The AAS 61st Anniversary Annual Dinner and Dance held at The Marina Bay Sands Singapore on 22 October, welcomed 600 guests including Guest of Honour Mr S Iswaran (Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry)), His Excellency Philip Green (High Commissioner of Australia to Singapore), Her Excellency Yael Rubinstein (Ambassador of Israel), His Excellency Cheth Naren (Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia), Dr Lily Neo and Dr Chia Shi-Lu (Members of Parliament), and Mr Mah Bow Tan (Former Minister).
- The AAS Bi-Monthly Networking events have been increasingly well-received and many are now over-subscribed. We have introduced a new format whereby 3 to 5 VIPs and/or Special Guests are invited to give a short talk. The number of attendees has grown from around 50 last year to over 130 this year.
- The Inaugural AAS Basketball Carnival held at The Australian International School Singapore on 14 June. Over 300 participants and spectators attended the event. The objectives were to encourage Australian alumni to come together, representing and supporting their respective alumni associations whilst enjoying the sporting event. This was followed by a relaxing BBQ social.
Over the last three years, we have implemented the following strategic initiatives including:
- Raised sponsorship funds to support operating costs;
- Embarked on a membership drive;
- Established ongoing engagement and partnerships with Australian Alumni Associations in Singapore;
- Strengthened ties with The Australian High Commission, The Australian Chamber of Commerce, The Australian and New Zealand Association and The Australian Universities.
This year, we delivered two more strategic initiatives:
- Established a Partner University Scheme with selected universities, which will provide benefits including, free AAS membership for their alumni in Singapore. We are very grateful to James Cook University, RMIT University and Murdoch University who are our pioneer Partner Universities.
These three universities are among the largest international universities in Singapore, with a combined student population of more than 13,000 and more than 60,000 alumni here.
Our phenomenal membership growth of 80% this year is primarily due to this initiative and its associated membership drive campaign via social media.
I wish to thank our Management Committee member Peter Tan, who originated, drove and delivered this strategy.
- Set up a Council of Advisors (“Council”). This Council is made up of highly regarded and successful Australian alumni. Together, they will provide guidance and support to the Management Committee in charting a long term, successful and sustainable AAS.
The members are:
1. Dr Cheong Choong Kong, Former Chairman of OCBC and CEO of SIA
2. Mr Mah Bow Tan, Former Minister
3. Mr Daniel Teo, Chairman of Hong How Group
4. Mr Philip Forrest, Former President of Austcham
5. Dr Dale Anderson, Deputy VC of James Cook University
6. Mr Neil Parekh, General Manager Asia (Ex Greater China) National Australia Bank
7. Mr Loh Hoon Sun, Former President AAS, MD Philip Securities
8. Ms Peggy Tan, Former President AAS
9. Mr Michael Yap, Former President Swinburne University Alumni Association, Singapore Chapter
Under the AAS Constitution, The President shall not serve for more than two consecutive terms. Therefore, the maximum tenor that I can serve will be up to end March 2018. Together, we have come a long way in the last 3 years and it is now my goal to establish a strong foundation to ensure that my successor can take this prestigious organisation to a far higher ground. Hence, we will aim to carry out the following objectives:
- We will interview and endorse 3 suitable presidential candidates for the upcoming Management Committee members’ election in March 2017. We need candidates with a strong professional stature, proven leadership capability and ability to engage all key stakeholders at the highest level, including raising sponsorship.
- We will explore hiring an Executive Director who will take ownership of executing our strategies, growing our relationship with key stakeholders and driving the organisation.
- We will introduce Constitutional changes to impose Code of Ethics and KPIs on Management Committee members and to empower the President to recommend removal of a Management Committee member via voting by the Management Committee. Thus, improving our corporate governance to ensure the best support for AAS.
Hence, by increasingly institutionalising AAS, we hope that the organisation will be better poised to achieve long term sustainable growth.
Finally, I wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to a number of people. Firstly, I would like to thank our Term Sponsors, in particular our Platinum Sponsors National Australia Bank and James Cook University, our Gold Sponsors Westpac, Lend Lease and Flight Centre, Silver Sponsors Crown Group, Goshen Art Gallery, Hui & Kuah, Jetstar and Singapore Airlines and Qantas, our Official Airline.
Moreover, I wish to thank His Excellency Philip Green who has done an excellent job as the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore and will now be returning to Australia. Most notably, Philip has been instrumental in contributing to our two great nations establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Philip has been extremely supportive of AAS over the years. We wish Philip all the very best in his future endeavours.
Last, but not least, I wish to thank all members of my Management Committee and our Secretariat for the excellent support.
Australian Alumni Singapore
3 Jan 2017