Singapore: Behind the Scenes at the Human Capital Summit 2013


Michael Taylor often writes about meetings, incentives, conferences, and events – but he doesn’t usually get to participate in them. A commission to report on a conference in Singapore gives him a rare insider’s look.

What an interesting – but exhausting – two days I’ve just had!

In my career as a travel writer, I’ve often had to write about meetings, incentives, conferences, and events – collectively known as MICE – but it’s usually based on touring the facilities and interviewing events organizers.

I haven’t actually had many opportunities to participate in them.

So it was an eye-opening experience for me to attend the Singapore Human Capital Summit, which took place at the Hard Rock Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore.

The Hard Rock Hotel is part of a four-hotel integrated resort. That should tell you something!

Held on 11 and 12 September 2013, the summit brought together several hundred delegates from across the Asia-Pacific.

There were 35 speakers from academia, government, and industry addressing such issues as diversity in the workplace, the impact that Social Media is having on business, and the changing face of human resources.

Up Close and Personal

As a journalist on commission, I got to meet some of the speakers before or after their presentations, and these were among the highlights of the two day event.

Some of the conversations were quite straight forward, and others were actually quite stimulating! A few of the people I’d like to keep in touch with!

On a few occasions I found myself tongue-tied. I wanted to ask questions, but I was so tired that I had difficulty formulating grammatically coherent questions.

I hope they understood!

Our Singaporean hosts were gracious, professional, helpful, and friendly. The two dinners we shared with them were a delight! 

And then there were the other journalists from Hong Kong, China, and India that I got to hang out with. As always, I got to know some of them better than others. I hope that at least some of our paths will cross again!

Semi-private Audience

My final semi-private audience was with Heekyung Jon Min, Executive Vice President and Chief Officer at Korea’s CJ Corporation.

It was fascinating to learn about her climb up the corporate ladder and how she managed to crash through the glass ceiling.

How can someone so powerful be so friendly and down to earth?

Following a very informative conversation about glass ceilings and gender diveristy in the board room, we decided to take photos.

As we made our ways out of the conference room, we exchanged name cards. Then our interviewee pulled out her Samsung and said, “Wait!”

One by one, she photographed our name cards and then took our pictures. The app added our contact details – together with our pictures – to her data base.

“I really love this thing,” she said grinning ear to ear.

And so did I!

I know what I’m going to buy when I get my next pay cheque!

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