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Small Beginnings: Flourish In Your Lane

Blog | Life and Leadership   |   November 17, 2017

by Ann Romey

“I have always loved interacting with people but I wasn’t sure which field of study I should pursue when I was a student,” Alfred began. He recalled the time when he had to choose between Engineering or Nursing at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. “I eventually decided on Nursing as I preferred to be around people more than machines. Then in Year 3, I had the opportunity to be a part-time trainer for schools.”

“I began interacting with youth leaders, and was posted to different schools. It dawned on me then that I enjoy training.”

Alfred ROHEI Trainer

Alfred Cheong is now a Trainer at ROHEI, a role which allows him to meet diverse groups of people on a daily basis. “I started with Halogen Foundation,” he added. “My friend, and now colleague, Eric introduced me to them. I liked training so much that after my national service, I joined another company called Ministry of Empowerment. Their focus was on youths-at-risk.”

“After a few years training youth leaders, and a couple of months interacting with youths-at-risk, Eric introduced me to ROHEI.”

Valued and humbled

Alfred initially joined ROHEI as a part-time actor for program simulations, then a member of the Guest Experience team, his tasks ranged from setting up the rooms to troubleshooting equipment issues. At the end of his 8 months in ROHEI, Alfred recalled, “I knew that my journey in ROHEI has not yet come to an end,” hence, he gathered the courage to speak to the CE, Rachel Ong. “Before I went on a backpacking trip for 6 months, I asked if it was possible to return to ROHEI as a Trainer. Without hesitation, she said yes.”

“I was stunned! At the same time, I felt very humbled and incredibly valued. Typically, during a job search, most of the companies will zoom in on your experience, or lack of, but that wasn’t the case with Rachel. When I asked why she was so quick to say ‘yes’, she said, ‘because we know you as a person.”

“That gave me a very different perspective of what a workplace should be. As much as skills are important, it is even more valuable to know the person. To personally know the individual—his character, his behavior, his beliefs—is even more crucial. Skills can be acquired, but not a person’s character and values.”

Alfred ROHEI Trainer

Alfred Training ROHEI

Do not Dismiss Humble Beginnings

His journey wasn’t without its challenges. “I was the youngest member in the team, and I only had a diploma.”

Before he started at ROHEI, Alfred checked out his colleagues’ profiles on the website. “Most, if not all, had very rich experiences in their respective industries,” he said. “Many were also holders of a Master’s degree. That was my first self-doubt. How could I contribute?”

“I approached my teammates and also my supervisors, Aline and Praise. I made it a point to ask for feedback. I also asked for opportunities to train different programs.”

“Today, I continue to observe how my fellow teammates train and learn from them. The coaching and mentoring by my leaders helped me to find my niche. I aspire to understand and assist the SME owners in Singapore to step up as market leaders, and groom the next generation of leaders in their companies.”

“In times of confusion and frustration, my colleagues helped me pull through. Aline and Praise guided me, and I’m grateful for that. When you know where your niche is, you cease to be intimidated because you understand that everyone has a unique lane that they can flourish in.”

When you know where your niche is, you find yourself no longer intimidated because you understand that everyone has a unique lane that they can flourish in.

A Culture of Trust

“Everyone is genuinely supportive of one another,” Alfred smiled, when asked what he liked most about working in ROHEI. “When people approach me, I know that I don’t have to second guess his/her intention. This allows us to focus on the work that we need to do.”

“This is my first ‘full-time’ job, so I may not have much experience to speak about. However, in my interactions with friends and family members, I often hear of the frustration and anger they go through in their workplace. I can’t help but feel so blessed being where I am.”

A Spirit of Innovation and Continuous Learning

Alfred is now taking his Master of Leadership in Organizational Learning with Monash.

“My manager, Aline, encourages me to share what I’m learning with the team and look into how we can apply it back at the workplace. Apart from training, I’m also currently working on SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace. I have a heart for SMEs, and have many assignments that focus  on understanding and helping SMEs continuously learn and develop.”

“I continue to update myself with what’s happening in the healthcare industry as I’m one of the anchor trainers for healthcare clients of ROHEI. With my past experience in training youths, I find that I am able to connect effectively with participants of my generation and those who are younger.”

ROHEI’s vision “To inspire hope, joy, courage and purpose in the global workforce” continues to inspire Alfred in what he does. “We are an SME,” he said. “But we are not limited by the size of the company. I appreciate how our leaders constantly push the boundaries and challenge the unknown. ROHEI is also venturing beyond Singapore into the China market. I really love the spirit to explore , the spirit to innovate.”

“I have been given opportunities in ROHEI to travel and train in India and China, and that allowed me to open my eyes to cross-cultural nuances and discover how to address the trainees’ different needs.”

Start Somewhere

Alfred encourages his peers not to look down on small beginnings.

“Looking back, I realized how far I have come. From not liking to study to now balancing my Master’s degree with a full-time training job, I feel a sense of achievement.”

“The idea of flourishing in your lane can be overwhelming at first, but if we don’t start somewhere, however humble, we might not even get there.”

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