17 October 2019
In the Spotlight: Dr Edna YEO
Dr Edna YEO, who graduated in Botany and Zoology in 1993, was appointed Chairperson of the NUS Alumni Melbourne Chapter in January 2019. Here, we speak to her on her career experiences and her plans for the alumni chapter.
Your illustrious career spans diverse industries, sectors and jobs. Please share the highlights with us.
Dr Edna Yeo: When I first stepped into the working world in the 1990s, you could say I “broke tradition” as one of the first female Regional Sales Managers. I oversaw sales and distributor teams across Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, and I fondly recall cutting my teeth on the challenges of doing business, given the unique constraints of each country’s business regulations.
Thereafter, I moved on to the not-for-profit industry where I spearheaded, from-concept-to-implementation, a new start-up laboratory within budget and half the allocated time. This was the first Victorian laboratory to be accorded internationally recognised ISO 9001:2000, ISO 17025 and OECD Good Laboratory Practice certifications in preclinical toxicology and pharmacology.
My passion for disadvantaged communities eventually led me to work with people with disability, at a disability employment agency. During that time, I was motivated to pursue my Ph.D. where I studied self-sufficiency for the long-term unemployed. Concurrently, I decided to start my own management consulting practice for disability employment organisations and medical equipment companies.
I also ventured into medical cannabis cultivation. I am eager to learn how to treat Parkinson’s Disease, which is affecting my mum.
What is your vision for the chapter, and your plans for the future?
Dr Edna Y.: The NUS Alumni Melbourne Chapter has about 150 alumni from different faculties and cohorts. I am pleased to share that we have broadened our communication channels to social media. In the new year, I hope to set up new message texting group chats for our alumni to stay connected and updated on news and events.
What are some of the alumni programmes and activities planned?
Dr Edna Y.: Traditionally, the chapter organised the annual Chinese New Year dinner which is attended by some 100 alumni and their partners, as well as the NUS Day of Service which we have hosted for the last three years. Next year, we hope to organise network drinks with informative guest speakers. We hope that this helps our alumni to integrate and to establish mutually beneficial relationships between themselves and our alma mater.
How would you describe your experience with the chapter so far?
Dr Edna Y.: I am greatly honoured to be appointed to this role. This has provided me the opportunity to connect with fellow NUS alumni, many of whom spent many years in Singapore. Our gatherings often invoke a wave of nostalgia as we discuss news from home and share local meals. In this way, we make Melbourne a home away from home.