Olivia Koentjoro is the Head of Intellectual Property Analytics Center of Excellence for the Global Law Department at Applied Materials. She is responsible for leveraging advanced intellectual property analytics to drive scalable analysis for Applied, enabling data-driven integrated business strategies and decision making.
“I constantly strive to break STEM gender stereotypes and firmly believe that welcoming diversity in all its forms will make the world a gender-equal place,” shares Olivia.
With a PhD in chemistry and a passion in promoting STEM and championing women, Olivia is the Executive Sponsor for the Women’s Professional Development Network at Applied Materials South East Asia, the Chairperson of the Royal Society of Chemistry Singapore Chapter and Careers and Industry Mentor for the University of Adelaide (Aus) and the University of Durham (UK).
Fun Fact: Olivia loves the application of chemistry in food and one of her life goals is to visit the Fat Duck (UK) to experience their multi-sensory molecular gastronomy menu
Dr Lakshmi Ramachandran has a PhD in Cell and Microbiology and is a Research Program Manager at the Duke-NUS Medical School.
Her work focuses on the Cancer ImmunoTherapy Imaging (CITI) Programme, a national initiative involving 12 partner organisations across Singapore. She is also a global speaker and coach, and works to encourage women to pursue STEM fields.
Did you know? She has co-authored an award-winning memoir-cookbook, ‘Roomies/Foodies’, written as a witty survival guide for Indian students going abroad and she blogs at lakshmiramachandran.com.
Angelene Chan is ‘the only woman CEO out of the top 5 architecture firms’ (The Straits Times) in Singapore.
She is the CEO of DP Architects which is the 10th largest architecture firm in the world, according to The WA100 2020 rankings from Building Design, a leading UK-based online resource for the profession.
She believes that women should support each other to build confidence and resilience, together, united are we able to overcome the adversities in our path. Angelene is a meditator and she believes that meditation can transform the way we work, live and relate to others.
#UWSInspires💫 – Grace Park is the founder of DocDoc, the world’s first patient intelligence company that uses artificial intelligence to empower patients with data to make informed decisions in their doctor discovery process.
The idea of DocDoc started when Grace’s infant daughter was diagnosed with a rare liver condition, which made her realise that there was a lack of medical information, particularly when it came to choosing the right doctor for her daughter.
Fun fact: Grace was a Girl Scout in her youth and currently volunteers as a co-leader of a troop because she loves to help shape values and skills in young girls to make a positive and lasting impact in our communities.
From working in a Fortune 500 firm to taking the leap of faith to start a company in Singapore, Grace generously shares her motivation for success:
Q1. What inspired you to start your business? What gave you that leap of faith?
The purpose behind DocDoc stems from a deeply personal story. My husband, Cole Sirucek, and I welcomed our healthy new-born daughter, Rand Sirucek, into this world but at her 90-day checkup, she was diagnosed with a rare liver condition. Despite several attempts, unfortunately, we were not able to collect the information we needed to understand if the team who had made the initial diagnosis was the right team to perform the procedure on our daughter. Our basic questions like, “How many liver transplants have you done?” to “How much will this cost?” were not well received. From our personal network, we found a team in Japan that was the pioneer of pediatric live liver transplants.
In a highly complex 15-hour long operation, my husband donated a piece of his liver to our daughter. Thanks to the highly qualified team, the operation was successful, making Rand one of the youngest to undergo such a procedure in the world. Our medical care team made all the difference. This team had done tens of thousands more transplants than the initial team who wanted to do our surgery and had far superior outcomes. Shockingly, despite higher expertise, they were also 60% less expensive than the team who had initially diagnosed our daughter.
While Cole was recovering in the ICU, the purpose of DocDoc became clear to us – to empower patients with data to make informed decisions in their doctor discovery process.
Q2. What motivates you to achieve success? How do you motivate yourself consistently?
There is a famous saying by Friedrich Nietzsche: “He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any how.” I strongly believe that when you pursue a mission bigger than yourself and are focused on creating a positive and lasting impact on the world, you can push through any hurdles and keep moving forward. Giving up is never an option.
Practice cultivating a mindset where you ask yourself on a daily basis: How can I strive to be the best version of myself today? This not only impacts my own life but also my family. As a mompreneur, I’m often motivated to role model what success looks like to my young daughter.
Q3. What advice would you give to a young woman keen to start a business on her own?
First, guard your mind. The journey of an entrepreneur is a marathon and not a sprint and not every day will be sunshine and rainbows. Celebrate the small victories. Don’t take rejections to heart and stay focused on your purpose. If you believe in your purpose, it will sustain you through the hardships.
Run your own race. Every entrepreneur has to carve out their own path and it will be filled with twists and turns. Enjoy the journey and appreciate and grow from the learning opportunity.
A startup’s success is highly dependent on the entrepreneur’s decision-making abilities. In order to manage stress levels and have a clear mind for optimal decision making, it is essential to take good care of your physical health. Sleep enough hours when you can, eat healthy foods, and hit it hard in the gym.
Have your community support system sorted out on the home front and work front. There are no lone rangers out there. If you hire people of character who are aligned with your values and vision, then your colleagues are able to make significant contributions alongside you. A caring support team is behind every successful entrepreneur!
Q4. Is there a female figure in your life that you look up to & why?
I have always looked up to my great grandmother, the matriarch of my family. Having survived the Korean War and leading her family to safety and freedom in the United States, she had the will to never give up.
Another example would be Colonel (retired) Sylvia Moran, who graduated in the first class of women at the United States Military Academy at West Point and came back to West Point as a Professor of Foreign Languages and as an Officer-In-Charge of the West Point Judo Team. Sylvia is a pioneer who encouraged me to keep going in male dominated environments regardless of my race and gender.
Nurdiyana Sudarsono is the Principal Scientist of PPD Skin Health at Johnson & Johnson, APAC where she is responsible for shaping and developing Asia Pacific’s Ageless and Tone Product Innovation. 🧪🔬Diyana has worked on product development R&D on consumer beauty brands that you have seen in stores, such as Clean & Clear, Neutrogena and Aveeno. The mother of three is very engaged in WISTEM2D and has led a few events with her team engaging girls for the last two years. “My pursuit of knowledge has made me more grateful and more curious. Subsequently, this curiousity has ultimately led to my career,” shares the baking hobbyist.
🥧🧁Fun-fact: Diyana loves to bake as it enables her to enjoy a slice of calm. Recently, she started on gardening and is now a fervent reader of books on indoor plants. Juggling three kids at home isn’t easy, so she spends her time at home either playing with her little ones or breaking up their fights!
Mouna was born in Algeria, North Africa and her family migrated to France when she was 8, at the outbreak of a 10-year civil war.
Her core values are altruism, kindness and respect, sprung from her childhood in the emerging world and further nurtured by the social work she’s been deeply committed to since her early twenties. A quote that she lives by is “He who has a why, can bear almost any how” by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Today Mouna is Head of Market Intelligence & Strategy for Merck Life Science in APAC, supporting scientists and engineers at every stage of the development of life-saving breakthrough therapies. She has lived and worked in the US, Europe and Asia and is the blessed mother of two young girls, aged 5 and 2.
Fun fact: In her free time (though seldom these days), Mouna enjoys reading literature and studying foreign languages.
Robyn is the Vice President, Technology & Innovation Procurement, BHP. She is a passionate, high-energy industry professional, with over 25 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in complex, challenging and culturally diverse B2B environments across the Chemical, Mining, Manufacturing, Technology and Oil & Energy sectors.
Robyn holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and an MBA, and has won numerous awards throughout her career, including recognition as one of the Top 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining in 2018. She is an active contributor to several programs which support Women in business, LGBTQ diversity and STEM careers across Asia.
Fun fact: Robyn loves dining at new restaurants with friends, exercising and exploring different destinations in Singapore and beyond.
Samantha Thian is the CEO and Founder of Sustainable Co and was featured in Prestige magazine’s list of 40 Under 40 2020.
🌊The 26-year-old’s passion for marine conservation spurred her to start Seastainable-a social business that supports marine conservation in Singapore and around Southeast Asia.
Fun fact: Sam enjoys spending her early mornings by East Coast Park, incorporating her beach cleanups in her morning exercise. She enjoys picking up plastic trash in our oceans through her initiative #eastcoastbeachplan.
From disinfection solution to DNA testing and computer-aided drug design to fight against COVID-19, Chemistry continues to play its part in saving the world. We speak to Asia Pacific Crop Protection Product & Process R&D Leader, Dr Yuhong Ju of Corteva Agriscience Singapore.
Dr Yuhong Ju’s dream is to develop a new crop protection product to help farmers produce high-quality crops that can feed the world. Dr Ju has delivered 12 formulation and sustainability talks to the broad agriculture industry audience since 2012. She has also experienced working with Clariant Specialty Chemicals (Zhenjiang) in the product and process development and consumer care areas including personal care, metalworking, coating additives and more. Dr Ju has 4 granted patents and 39 peer-reviewed publications.