There is a saying that goes, “learning by doing”. Educators are talking about creating “leadership moments”. What does that look like in Halogen? 

Restlessness. That was what fuelled the start of the Projects unit in Halogen. After running many inspirational events and educational trainings, running Projects came as a natural progression for Halogen. “While we were proud of what we had already accomplished, there was a restless feeling of wanting to do more, to go beyond the four walls of the classroom and really see youths in action,” says Darlene Joy Uy, Halogen’s first head of Projects.

“Inspiration, Education and Action”, are the three domains of leadership that Halogen often talks about. Halogen’s Projects unit is envisioned as the manifestation of leadership-in-action, providing guidance to youths who want to contribute positively to their communities.

Part of the driving force were events in Singapore such as Our SG Conversations, where Halogen was moved by young peo- ple’s desires to be involved. “Personally, I really wanted youths to get their hands dirty and really experience first-hand what it’s like to accomplish something good for others,” says Darlene.

Being a small and lean organisation, and especially one that focuses on playing a non-prescriptive catalytic role, Halogen could fulfill this dream only with the partnerships that came along.

In 2009, the Cambridge Society in Singapore approached Halogen to partner for a mentoring programme. A result of that was the Cambridge-Halogen Youth Leadership Programme. In 2011, Temasek Junior College and Temasek Secondary School, close partners of Halogen, wanted to kick off a national youth leadership competition. From that, The Leadership Face-Off was started.

In the same year, Halogen met the Asia Pacific head of Salesforce.com Foundation while they were looking for a Singapore partner to run their global leadership apprenticeship programme, Salesforce BizAcademy. “Our partnerships have not only opened new doors for Halogen, they also exposed youths to new ideas and broader horizons,” says Darlene.

Collaborating with different partners such as teachers, corporate volunteers and staff from other non-profits has been a rewarding experience for Halogen. “It was heartwarming to see the people involved have the same passion to see youths succeed. What touched me most was the dedication of the teachers and volunteers that we worked with – those who didn’t have to do the projects but were doing it because they wanted to, and those who really went out of their way to make the projects awesome. It was a lot of work and could be stressful at times, but it was touching and energising to feel their passion and excitement,” says Darlene.

What was it like being involved in these leadership projects?

Rob Smith - Senior Technical Architect, Salesforce.com Mentor at the Salesforce BizAcademy

Andy Lim - Educator, Temasek Junior College  The Leadership Face-Off Primary Coordinator

Barry Clarke - Managing Director, Taylor & Francis Asia Pacific Mentor at the Cambridge-Halogen Youth Leadership Programme

How has participating in these projects shaped you as a leader?

Serena Huang - Student, CHIJ St. Theresa’s Convent  The Leadership Face-Off Participant

Article by Jael Chng


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