This edition of 60 Seconds With A Rising Star features and celebrates the achievements of Windsor Low, Talent Acquisition Manager for South East Asia at Willis Towers Watson (WTW).
Tea, coffee or bubble tea?
Coffee, always. Maybe too much sometimes.
Favourite Singaporean food?
Favourites are irrelevant when your wife decides what you eat.
What is the best thing about your job?
Recruitment at its core is about the human element, and the very essence of being human. The best thing about my job is being a part of the growth of an organisation from the macro end, and on the micro end of it, the career growth of an individual. More so the individual, because any organisation is only as extraordinary as its people. It's my greatest privilege to be able to build such relationships, witness personal and professional growth, and to lend a listening ear when needed.
Tell us about an individual that inspires you…
When I first started out my career fresh out of school in 2010, I had the pleasure of working under Mr. Heinrich Grafe, the former General Manager of Conrad Centennial Singapore. I was very impressed that he remembered all 500 employees at the hotel by name and seeing how he managed personal relationships with each individual on a daily basis inspired me to a leader like him one day. It wasn't about how people saw him or commended him as a leader that inspired me, but how he made every individual feel seen and valued that really shaped me. His spirit of hospitality resonates with me, in the sense that the internal hospitality matters just as much as external hospitality. This value stays with me to this day.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your gut because it has served you well, so thank you (or me), but remember to be kind to yourself too.
Any hidden talents?
And it remains hidden. :P
What attracted you to a career in HR?
It was more so the other way around, where HR knocked on my door instead. As an intern, I was the only hospitality student at the Conrad who had the chance to intern at the HR department while all other interns were working in front-of-house functions. Following that, in my National Service days, I was posted to the Naval Personnel Department of the Royal Singapore Navy in MINDEF (which is essentially Navy’s HR department). Thereafter, when I had to do another internship during my university days, I rang up my previous HR manager at Conrad, and was lucky enough to be accepted back again for a second internship. This time, I was converted to a full-time role upon graduation and that's what officially started my HR career.
Affinity more than attraction, perhaps?
How has your role been impacted to ensure business continuity during the pandemic?
I am extremely blessed to be able to say that it is still business-as-usual for me! The pandemic has had low to no impact on my daily workflow. WTW has always been a strong advocate of agile working, i.e. allowing employees to manage how they work and thrive on flexible work arrangements. This culture is practiced even prior to the pandemic, so using tools and technology such as webinars or skype meetings for remote working are not new to me and my colleagues. Being in a regional role, the arrangement of working from home doesn’t affect my work. Though, I would note, a positive impact I have seen is that there has been an increase in skype calls to catch up with my colleagues around the world who are also stuck at home. We are connecting more on a personal level now that we are all (as one human race) going through the same global pandemic, facing the same global uncertainties, and this has definitely brought the team closer together.
What have been the highlight in your career to date?
Recruitment itself is a never-ending highlight, because people are an ever-evolving bunch. If I must pinpoint to a single moment, it would be when I left the HR generalist function to join an executive search firm. That’s when I got a peek behind the curtains of the recruitment world.
How has your organisation/mentor/work experience encouraged and helped to grow your skillsets?
At WTW, we have a very open culture. Our willingness to share information helps me understand the business needs better and, in turn, effectively hire the right people for the organisation. I can always grab my colleagues for a coffee or a call, and they will be happy to selflessly share their specialty and/or line of business knowledge with me. This helped me tremendously when I first entered this industry. With the amount of people I meet and connect with, I have come to understand that this culture is a precious torch to be passed on to any new joiner because it is not commonly found in every organisation.
Nigel Young, my mentor and manager in WTW, has given me consistent support, trust and freedom so I have ample room to perform my role. In fact, he might not even know this but, I take a lot of notes on his leadership style, and use that as a guide when managing my team members too!
If you could invite two individuals to a dream dinner party, who would you they be and why?
Both my late grandmother and my late grandmother-in-law. They’ve never met as one passed on before I met the other.
My grandmother had a huge role in shaping my childhood and it was then that I learned some of my most important life lessons. There aren’t expectations in place where parents would have, and they aren't afraid to spoil you. I learnt from her that caring for a person is the simplest form of guiding future potential and performance. This still rings true in the way I guide my team or candidates who look to me for career advice, because genuine concern and empathy are more powerful than expectations alone.
I met my grandmother-in-law for the first time when I was 22 years old, before I stepped into the workforce. Having been a powerful business woman, her world views shaped my adolescent years. She taught me that no matter how far you may go in your career one day, you should never take yourself too seriously because the ability to laugh at yourself shows humility and bravery. She showed me a business world that is complicated yet delicate, and that EQ is hearing yourself from someone else’s perspective.
Seeing as how these two amazing women impacted me so much in life, I would love to be able to bring them both to the same dinner table and express my gratitude, for without their teachings, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organisation/company.