CityCare founder Tan Ye Peng is named Young Global Leader 2010 by the World Economic Forum. He joins the ranks of former Olympian Ian Thorpe and White House adviser John Hope Bryant.
Contributed By Wayne Chan
|PHOTO: Victor Lim Fei
Each year, the World Economic Forum names some 200 to 300 “extraordinary individuals” from across the world. “Together, they form a powerful international community that can dramatically impact the global future.”
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tan this year are Ian Thorpe (Olympic swimmer and founder of Fountain for Youth), Somaly Mam (founder of the Somaly Mam Foundation against child trafficking and prostitution) and Jon Favreau, head of President Barack Obama’s speechwriting team.
Nominated by Member of Parliament, Penny Low, Tan says he was surprised and humbled by the nomination and counted it a tremendous privilege and honor to join the ranks of leaders who are making a difference to their society and the world today.
The founder of CityCare Limited, Tan, 37, credits his latest accolade to his ongoing work to get people to become volunteers. This is a “job” he has had since 1996 when international singer and wife to Kong Hee, Sun Ho started City Harvest Community Services Association to help the needy in society.
“I started doing community work back in 1996 as a result of Sun’s vision and passion to reach out to the underprivileged. Since then, I’ve not stopped encouraging people to live their lives for others, not just for themselves. I believe our lives would change and have a greater purpose and meaning when we start to help the poor and needy. My life was changed as a result of being a volunteer,” says Tan.
Tan first discovered the world of YGLs through Elim Chew, founder of 77th Street and a founding member of Social Innovation Park. “She introduced me to Penny Low, the founder and president of SIP and Member of Parliament. Penny is one of the founding members of the Forum for Young Global Leaders, and she then introduced me to the world of the YGLs and many others who are social entrepreneurs. These are individuals who serve the community creatively through a sustainable business model.
“Penny and Elim invited me to serve as a volunteer Executive Director of SIP which I did for almost a year. This opportunity led me to Zurich to attend the Social Entrepreneur Summit, and I came back with a vision to build a city that cares.
“I gathered a few friends and shared with them my idea, and subsequently, in 2007, I founded CityCare, a non-profit Singapore community organization and international humanitarian aid group. CityCare was started to encourage more people to serve the community through active volunteerism. Through the various curricula we have designed, we work with schools and corporations to help the needy and less fortunate in our society.”
CityCare also coordinates humanitarian projects and organizes medical teams to aid in disaster relief areas, most recently and famously, in Haiti. CityCare’s teams were the first Singaporean envoys in Haiti and the organization sent a total of six teams to provide medical aid as well as water pumps and tents. “With the support of philanthropists, in particular, our patron Sun Ho, CityCare has been able to reach out to the underserved communities and disaster-stricken areas in Haiti, Honduras and many parts of China.”
It is primarily his work with CityCare that won him the title of YGL. Tan looks forward to meeting and interacting with other top thought-leaders and change-makers around the world. By finding out what other YGLs are doing in their respective communities, Tan hopes to bring back more creative ideas on social innovation back to Singapore.
Tan says that YGLs share a common dedication to addressing global challenges and working towards a better future. They identify innovative solutions to today’s most pressing problems through various initiatives and work streams, and build up the next generation of leaders.
One such platform for this is the YGL Summits, which provide an opportunity for fellow YGLs to meet, share ideas and discuss ways to collectively shape the future. The YGL Summits are organized by the Forum of Young Global Leaders which plans regular events throughout the year for the YGLs.
Asked what characteristics he thought aspiring YGLs should possess, Tan said they must be passionate about what they are doing so that they can excel in their individual arenas, and they must have a vision large enough to drive fellow leaders towards the common cause of improving the world.
Tan is not new to a leadership position. He is also deputy senior pastor of City Harvest Church, and runs the church office which has a staff strength of 154. On his leadership style, Tan said he leads by first giving people a vision and then inspiring them to maximize their gifts and talents while mentoring them along the way as they work towards achieving their vision.
But he recognizes that leadership is not without challenges. As a leader both in the marketplace and in church, he says “My greatest challenge is the incessant demand placed on my time. I overcome this through proper planning and setting priorities in my life.”
After God, Tan places his family as his top priority and ensures that there is always time for his nearest and dearest in his busy schedule.
To further optimize productivity, Tan also believes in building a strong team of staff to help him oversee some of his other responsibilities.
What drives him? Tan says he finds his greatest satisfaction in simply seeing families and lives change for the better as a result of what he does. His aims for CityCare are many, both on home ground and beyond.
“In the coming years, CityCare will continue to step up its engagement to schools and corporations through innovative programs and curriculum to inculcate civic values and encourage more Singaporeans to volunteer and serve the community.
“CityCare will also grow the international humanitarian projects through the building of schools and welfare centers in under-served communities in Asia. It will also continue its disaster relief efforts by sending medical teams and volunteers to serve in disaster-stricken areas.”
Reflecting on his new responsibilities as a YGL, Tan sums up his simple yet inspiring vision for the future: “I want to be able to use my resources to creatively and effectively serve the underprivileged communities in the world, and I want to inspire and mentor others to do likewise.”
About The Forum of YGLs
The activities of the Forum of Young Global Leaders are almost as diverse as the community itself. Throughout the year, activities are planned with the three pillars of the YGL community—community-building, generating insight and undertaking collective action—providing a strong framework for the events.
The Forum of Young Global Leaders organizes regular events throughout the year including the YGL Summits, which provide an opportunity for fellow YGLs to meet, share ideas and discuss ways to collectively shape the future. The Kennedy School Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century Module provides a convening opportunity for the YGLs to gain critical skills and knowledge in key issue areas as well as leadership skills.
YGLs often initiate different task forces around the biggest global challenges facing our generation—health, education, the environment, global governance and security, and development and poverty. Often when YGLs meet, new ideas and task forces are initiated. Some concrete activities stemming from the task forces include addressing hunger in the developing world, promoting mass deworming in schools for children affected by parasitic worms, and spreading the principles of dignity in schools around the globe.
Candidates for Young Global Leaders have to meet the following criteria:
• He/she is 40 years of age or younger at the time of nomination (to be eligible for the nomination and selection process of the Class of 2011, the candidate must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1970).
• He/she has a recognized record of extraordinary achievement and a proven track record of substantial leadership experience. Typically, this means five to 15 years of outstanding professional work experience and a clear indication of playing a substantial leadership role for the rest of his or her career.
• He/she has demonstrated a commitment to serve society at large through exceptional contributions, and have a global perspective.
• He/she must have an impeccable record in the public eye and good standing in his/her community, as well as show great self-awareness and a desire for learning.
• Candidates from the business sector must be responsible for the full operation of a qualifying corporation or division and must hold one of the following titles: President, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Managing Partner or Publisher, or the equivalent of any of the above. If the company is a Member or Partner of the World Economic Forum, the candidate requires the approval of the CEO or Chairman of the Board of the respective company.
• Companies, organizations and entities can only nominate one candidate from the qualifying company every two years.
For more information, go to http://www.weforum.org.