DBS Launches Sparks Episode 6 – Inspired by True Stories

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Launched last year, Sparks is a mini-series by DBS that shares ‘inspired by true stories’ narration of the work and personal lives of a group of young bankers and how they solve unusual client challenges and going the extra miles for customers. The insightful stories shows that banking is not about numbers and dollar signs, but of passion and determination. Since their launch of this form of digitally-oriented content marketing, there has been more than 42 million views and over 1.7 million digital engagements across the region for this mini-series.

Spark’s latest edition, Episode 6, will be launched on 17 March 2017, and you can watch it along with the other earlier episodes, via this [LINK]. I had the opportunity to attend the exclusive screening of it during the DBS event which I attended last week.

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Episode 6 shares the story of a social enterprise which utilised technology and innovation to bring world-class learning to children in a traditional village. In one scene, one of the female bankers could not agree with the traditional thinking of the village head that females need not receive education as they should be tending to their homes, and never gave up in getting the village head to change his mind about it. I felt the conclusion was really heartwarming. And it was after watching Episode 6, which served as a reminder to me on the importance of education for females, for it can change the course of their lives and eventually the society. Sadly, this is denied in some parts of the world even at this age.

Digital innovation has been the driving force behind what DBS does – To make banking simpler, quicker and more effortless for their clients. Other than the exclusive screening, there was also a panel discussion on Digital Disruption For Impact – Digital SMEs of the Future. It was enlightening to hear the experiences and views of the speakers, especially since the Budget announcement placed strong emphasis on how digitalising of business is crucial for their growth.

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The speakers are entrepreneurs with their own businesses, driving towards to aim of achieving profitability while creating social impact. Yes, their form of businesses are what we called – Social Enterprises. It was insightful to hear their experiences and challenges faced during their course of journey, and certainly inspiring.

The speakers were:

(1) Neil D’Souza – Founder of Zaya Learning Labs (Educational curriculum technology that can be used with no or limited Internet connectivity and unstable power supply, for under USD2/child/month
(2) Dr Alex Lin – Head of SGInnovate, DBS BusinessClass Advisor
(3) Gillian Tee – Co-founder of Homage (Like a jobsearch site, but this is to specifically connect paid care-workers with primary caregivers and loved seniors)
(4) David Pong – Co-founder of WateROAM (Water filtration solutions for quick access to clean drinking water in diasaster-hit locations)

The key takeaways from the social enterprising discussion include:
  • Don't be afraid to start the journey or to experiment.
  • Focus on the problem, then think of products that can impact the lives of people.
  • Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your cause.
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DBS believes that businesses can be a force for good – By creating an impact beyond their core businesses and giving back to the communities. And this is why the DBS Foundation was established at a tune of 50 million dollars in 2014, to support the social enterprise ecosystems, at every stage of their journey to ensure sustainability, profitability and social impact.

The social enterprising spirit is certainly commendable as it brings forth a positive impact and hope for the people and the society. In the midst of our busy lives, we must never forget to give back to the society whenever and whatever we can. Afterall, like what Julia Fletcher wrote in her poem 'Little Things' ---  Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and a pleasant land.

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Event goodie bag
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Catch the full mini-series below: 

International Women's Day - Be Bold For Change

Observed on 08 March annually, International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrates womanhood, and the progress of women being recognised for their significant contributions and achievements in terms of political, cultural, economic and social.

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At the same time, IWD 2017 brings awareness of the importance of gender parity, of women being able to play a pivotal part in shaping the society and economies, to execute the equal freedom and rights that in some cases - Only men have access to. Afterall, like what the previous First Lady Michelle Obama (whom I admired a lot) mentioned, "There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish”.

As much as there is a call for gender equality in the current society, there is no denial that there is certainly vast improvements of women’s rights and freedom as compared to the early 1900s. Fast forward to the current age, more women have gotten the rights to vote and experiencing less job discrimination over the past century. But more is to done – To empower women and bring forth hope to the misrepresented. 

This year’s IWD theme is “Be Bold For Change”, to establish equal freedom and rights to women, like what men got to have all along, especially in workplaces. With the changing world of work where there are more women in the workforce than before, there is much to do to reduce this  imparity and injustice faced by women at their workplace – Such as gender pay gap, job opportunities, suggestions not taken seriously, etc. (#beboldforchange)

One example is the recent case by Susan Fowler, a female engineer who worked in Uber – She, along with other female engineer colleagues as claimed by her, faced workplace sexual harassment and sexism. Most left on their own accord, but it means a loss of talent in the company, in the industry or even for the better good of the society. I should not but cannot help to assume that there are many similar situations happening in other companies around the world.

Another example is Yours Truly. As a Sales Account Manager working in an industry that is of (1) male-dominated and (2) engineering field, it was challenging but fulfilling to prove that I, who may be in dresses and high heels, can do as well, or even better, than the male counterparts. There may be some apprehensions by new customers but to gain their trust and business was rewarding. Or that when I tell people I meet for the first time that I am doing sales, they would ask me, in the beauty industry? In a bank? Was it sexism that I encountered? :-/

Some companies are known for their gender diversity practices, while it was reported that more than 85% of FAs on Wall Street are men and 25% of listed companies on Russell 3,000 Index have no female board of directors. Despite that, it is certainly interesting to know that it is the companies that are more gender-balanced which perform better.

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Credits: State Street ('Fearless Girl' staring at charging bull,
 to encourage more companies to have more gender diversity)

Other than equality in workplaces, I feel that there is more to advocate on and empower women with - Such as healthcare, education and a safe place free of domestic violence. Education is denied for females in some families, communities, but with it, this can change the course of a woman's life, and eventually the society.

A study showed that in US, women account for a majority of college graduates and Fortune 500 entry-level employees but this proportion declines at each executive career stage. Other than due to the possibility of gender imbalance, it may just because some women chose to take a back seat in their career, giving up what they could achieve at work to care for their families. And these stay-at-home-mums are those to be admired.

Over in US, many ladies are participating in “A Day Without A Woman” by taking a day off from work or home roles, avoid shopping (except to small, women- and minority-owned businesses) and wear red (to signify love and sacrifice). As much as it is to highlight that women's presence is not to be taken for granted and how women contributes to the socio-economic system, this strike will affect many businesses and individuals on this day, in my opinion. Is it necessary to be part of the strike? Imagine schools have to be closed as female teachers go on strike. The ones being affected are the schoolchildren! Voicing out for gender parity and to highlight women receiving lower wages, discrimination vulnerabilities, sexual harassment and job security need not go to such an extent.

With that, everyone has a part to play in enabling a change to society's mindset and business practices when it comes to women. But as mentioned by Malala Yousafzai, "We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back" (in recognising the importance of equality and full humanity of women and men). Before I end, wishing all ladies a Happy International Women's Day. May we find love and acceptance in who we are and strength in all the things we do! 

20,000 Free Guinness Draught Pints by Guinness Singapore

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Yes, Guinness Singapore is giving away 20000 free pints 
of Guinness Draught in Singapore for the upcoming St Patrick's Festival once again! 

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From 01 to 19 March 2017, you can sign up for the free pint if you are a Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident, Valid Work Permit or Employment Pass Holder, and of course, of the legal drinking age...

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How to redeem your dark brew pint of Guinness goodness?

(1) Fill up the details on this site: http://www.stpats2017.com.sg.
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(2) Wait for the SMS confirmation that will be sent to the mobile number you keyed in during registration.
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(3) Visit any of the participating outlets to get your free pint!
There are about 100 outlets all across Singapore for you to choose from! For myself, I prefer going to one of the Irish watering holes in Singapore... :)

Registering and redeeming the free Guinness draught pint is that simple! Whether you are a Guinness lover, stout lover, beer lover, or even just curious how this creamy dark malt taste like, don't hesitate and quickly get your free pint today, because the 20K Guinness pints get redeemed really quickly! Share this blogpost with your family, colleagues, friends or even that guy/lady that you see each day at your office lobby!

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While you are at it, wear green like a leprechaun... Especially if you are heading to the annual St Patrick's Street Festival happening at Circular Road (Boat Quay) from 17 to 19 March 2017. Fun-filled family-friendly activities for the kids, music performances, and of course, lotsa Guinness (the official beer for the festival)! Of course there will be other beers available, but if you know me well enough, my preference is stout. But to know why... That's another story for another day. ;)

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I cannot wait to go to the Street Festival happening in 2 weeks' time --- Similar to last year, I can eat, drink and go merry with my Stout while enjoying celtic music (which I grown to love while living in London back then!). On a side note, my only regret during my months in London was not making a trip to Dublin to visit the Guinness Storehouse (Reason: I could not bring myself to go to the scenic Ireland by myself!).

Hope you will find a four-leaf clover one day!
Till then, a SaltBae shot inspired by Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe!
#iAmNotSaltBae #iAmStoutBae 
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