For their 4th VIP Classroom, the Gurus met YB Senator Khairul Azwan Harun (AKA Azwanbro) on 16th May 2016 at Akademi Kepimpinan Kapten Hussin (AKHI) in Kelana Jaya.
Azwanbro is a politician with extensive corporate experience. He spoke about "My Journey in the Corporate and Political World."
He shared 7 key lessons in life and leadership:
One 26th January 2016, we organised a private session between young leaders and Mr. Raja Singham - Founder & Managing Director of Brickfields Asia College (BAC).
16 lessons in life and leadership with Raja Singham:
In the “VIP Classroom Series”, we deconstruct Malaysia’s leading personalities and learn their strategies, tips and secrets to success. We get close and intimate to ask questions you’ve always wanted to (or never thought of) — role models, daily routines, favourite books, even their favourite cereal. VIP Classroom is part of the Guruship.
In our inaugural VIP Classroom Series, our VIP is none other than Benjamin Yong, Founder & Chief Eating Officer (CEO( of The BIG Group. If you don’t know, he’s the man behind your favourite restaurants & cafes — Ben’s, Plan b, Ben’s General Food Store, Ben’s Independent Grocer and many more. We held this session on 12th January in Ben's Publika.
10 things Ben said:
1. My 5 core principles are Integrity, Honesty, Value Proposition, People & Relationships
2. My favoruite food is nasi lemak because like life, it's simple. Life should be simple.
3. I check social media for feedback from customers as well as ideas on cuisines and recipes.
4. The BIG experience is important. I select the material and design of the cafes myself.
5. Diversifying our portfolio is important. As you know, we opened grocery store in addition to expanding our F&B. In the current economic situation, retail has went down 18% whereas groceries has increased 25%. So, we're doing okay lah.
6. I've learned a lot from our social enterprise, Project B. [In collaboration with Dignity For Children (DFC) foundation with support from Berjaya Cares Foundation and The BIG Group.] Leo Burnett is doing the marketing. What I learn is even if you have the big boys, it doesn't guarantee success.
7. Yes, it's important to balance between being hands-on and empowering your people. Making mistakes is important, that's one way you really learn. But I don't believe empowerment is making the same mistakes. I install CCTV in my cafes for auditing purposes.
8. When I was younger, I would sacrifice time for family and friends for work. But I won't do it now. I mean I'd bring a stack of work paper to read but I probably won't even read them. I'd rather spend a whole day with my daughter.
9. We're launching "Food Lab" to train foodpreneurs. Giving internships and opportunities for young people interested in culinary.
10. In the current economic condition, we're looking at pricing. We can sell nasi lemak at RM 5 but we don't want to compromise on the [BIG] experience. That's our value proposition.
On 15th October 2017, we held our 2nd forum entitled 'What's Happening Lah Malaysia?'. We wanted to discuss the increasing pessimism and cynicism amongst Malaysian youth regarding their country's future. We invited 3 prominent youth figures from various backgrounds to share their thoughts and ideas. More importantly, we asked them to share their suggestions to address the problems we were facing. A total of 70 attendants participated in this forum.
1. Danni Rais — Youth leader; Organisation For National Empowerment (ONE)
2. Wesley Chan Wenzhen— Trainer; Peak Performance Masterclass Trainer, Vision Alliance
3. Kal Joffres — Social entrepreneur; Co-Founder & CEO, Tandemic
We started the forum with an introduction to the Nation Building School. Our first speaker, Wesley Chan, a trainer from Vision Alliance got us on our feet with his physical and mental exercises. He talked about the importance of self-improvement. Wesley noted that citizens tend to blame external factors for their problems without doing any self-reflection. Ultimately, our problems start with us. We have to make a choice to own it or blame it on others. Responsible citizens will be accountable to their country's challenges.
Danni Rais, a youth NGO leader called on the participants to get their hands dirty through turun padang (going grassroots). To understand the problems the people are facing, we need to meet them in person. He shared about his initiatives via his NGO, Organisation for National Empowerment (ONE). ONE has been active in organising forums and sessions with young people. One can visit their website to take part in their activities.
The final speaker, Kal Joffres, a social entrepreneur gave us a presentation to the innovative solutions to the world's problems including extreme poverty and climate change. Kal argues that disruption is happening at a rate we couldn't imagine. For young people, it's incumbent upon us to take advantage and be part of the process. Kal says one doesn't need to be an entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial. Even employees can be intrapreneurial at their workplaces to add value to their employer. Ultimately, entrepreneurship can solve the problems we face.
Unfortunately, Nadira Yusoff couldn't attend the event as she was ill.
Nation Building School was launched on 3rd September 2015 during our inaugural Assembly (forum). During this occasion, we invited 5 prominent young leading figures in business, entertainment and politics to talk about the future of youth in Malaysia. Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur was gracious and generous to host us at their lovely and hipster venue in Sentul East Design Centre.
The speakers were as follows:
1. Michael Teoh Su Lim — Youth icon & Founder, Thriving Talents
2. Caprice (Ariz Ramli) — Founder,Classruum.com & rap artist Caprice Official Group
3. Jazz Tan — CEO & Founder, YouthsToday.com
4. Zaidel Baharuddin — Barisan Nasional Youth Executive Secretary
5. Edry Faizal Yusof — Coordinator, Roketkini & DAPSY - Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth
We asked them to explore the topic of ‘Young Malaysians and Our Future: Looking Beyond 2020.’
The panel kicked off the session by introducing themselves. They, then, proceeded to talk about the subject.
Youth icon Michael Teoh noted in his 7 years working with youth, he has witnessed the explosion of young people volunteering and taking direct action. He expects more NGOs and movements to organise on key issues in the coming future.
Young entrepreneur Jazz Tan concurred with Michael's observation. Jazz, leading a sponsorship matching platform for students, says young people are dabbling in entrepreneurship at a rate never seen before. She believes more youth participation in business bodes well for the country as young people rely less on government aid and hand-outs.
Rapper-turned-entrepreneur Caprice (Ariz) encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs and activists to take up causes and solve them. There is money and impact to be made. He shared his experience in creating a platform to democratise access to high-quality education through online tutoring, Classruum.com.
Young politician from the ruling party, Zaidel took a different turn. He talks up of a brighter future for all Malaysians with the government's national transformation policy. However, he acknowledges a number of people would fall in between cracks, as with any ambitious grand scale policy. His mission is ensure nobody is leave behind in the country's journey to be a high-income nation by 2020. Most importantly, he called on Malaysians to be active citizens and be part of the decision-making process.
His counterpart from the Opposition, Edry agreed with Zaidel's clarion call. Edry introduced the concept of socialist democracy as another to nation-building. He says a socialist democratic system ensures economic development is more even and equal for the benefit of all Malaysians. Edry believes government should play a more proactive role in people's welfare. He talks about his initiative Sekolah Demokrasi in encouraging youth to be active citizens.
All in all, all speakers agreed the future of young Malaysians beyond 2020 is optimistic. There are challenges abound but we should see opportunity in crisis - and seize them. The 5 speakers also called on young people to be actively involved in the nation-building process.
We are youth platform aiming to shape the future, one mind at a time.