SFGC: Where are you from? Where have you lived? How long have you been in Singapore?
Elizabeth: I’m originally from the Philippines, the daughter of a career diplomat, so I left the country the first time when I was six years old and lived in Paris, France (1972-1975) and Bucharest, Romania (1975- 1978). I studied at French schools for most of my elementary education. Then I returned to the Philippines for high school and college, before going to Washington, DC to pursue a graduate degree in International Affairs. I ended up studying and working in Washington, DC for four years (1989-1993), Hong Kong for nine years (1993-2002) and finally here in Singapore for the past 12 years (2002 to date).
SFGC: Working with various governments is the epitome of being a “global citizen”. What is it about this that you enjoy so much?
Elizabeth: I’ve always wanted to contribute to Asia’s economic development and solve some of our toughest challenges in the region. But this requires creative partnerships between different stakeholders – government, private sector and civil society. It can be challenging at times, but the sweet spot in corporate affairs is when you can get different stakeholders to come together on a common cause or mission. That’s what I enjoy the most – creating shared value.
SFGC: You recently joined the Board of Directors of HOPE International Development Agency’s Singapore Chapter. What’s been the best part about this so far? What are you looking forward to doing in the future?
Elizabeth: HOPE is a great organization helping to uplift the lives of some of the poorest families around the world. They only recently set up their Singapore chapter. HOPE Singapore is focusing on programs and partnerships in Southeast Asia, including in my home country, the Philippines, so it seemed like a great fit. I can use my extensive network in Singapore, among multinational companies as well as within the Filipino community, to help establish HOPE’s brand and rally support for its various programs around Southeast Asia. I particularly like the education program for indigenous children and youth in Mindanao, as it seems to be a sustainable program that brings much needed skills back into their remote communities. I hope we can build HOPE’s presence in Singapore beyond the Annual Gala and get more people involved not just as donors, but also as volunteers. This is becoming more and more important particularly among millennials.
SFGC: HOPE’s annual Singapore Gala is coming up this weekend. Is your table ready to #GameForHOPE?
Elizabeth: Of course! It should be a very memorable evening in support of both HOPE and Pandoo Foundation. Let the countdown begin!
SFGC: Global Citizen Crush!?
Elizabeth: I have a great role model and mentor at HP. Her name is Gabi Zedlmayer and she leads our global citizenship programs, called Living Progress. In terms of a more public figure, I admire Bill and Melinda Gates and what they have done in healthcare, especially in promoting the value of vaccines. It’s crazy to think that there are still millions of children who die from vaccine preventable diseases.