Swati Pandey, Co-Founder & CEO, Arboreal Innovations
Swati is the CEO and Co-founder of Arboreal – an award winning plant biotechnology company focused on creating a diabetes free world. Arboreal has combined advanced scientific R&D and proprietary innovations with a traceable, sustainable and scalable supply chain to reinvent Stevia – a 100% natural, zero calorie sweetener that comes from a plant source.
Arboreal’s strength lies at the intersection of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Food Technology, and is currently focused on industrial scale production and marketing of its proprietary range of Stevia extracts and formulations globally. Arboreal is backed by a clutch of leading investors and angels from UK, Ireland, France, US, Indonesia and India. Swati’s prior professional experience includes international stints in VC, Investments, Consulting and O&G sectors in EU, UK, Singapore and India.
Earlier last year, Swati was announced as the Asia-Pacific Laureate at Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards in Singapore from amongst 2900+ high quality women led ventures, from 130+ countries, which were adjudged by Cartier, McKinsey and INSEAD Business School. She is a Mechanical Engineer from IIT (ISM) Dhanbad and holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy from Imperial College London, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and an EIT Climate-KIC Scholar.
Her areas of active interest are Sustainability, Plant Biotechnology, Agri Tech and Clean Tech.
Michelle Yong, Director, Aurum (Part of the Woh Hup Group)
Michelle is a 4th generation family business leader in Woh Hup and Director at Aurum Land, a subsidiary and real estate development company. In 2016, she started Collision 8, a co-working space and innovation community that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, and family business owners in downtown Singapore. Collision 8 has now merged with Found., and is now known as Found8.
Following on from Found8, she started a new business concept, Core Collective, which is a collaborative health and wellness community and coworking centre that fosters entrepreneurship and facilitates cross-sharing of knowledge within a curated environment. She has also most recently launched a corporate venture fund, Aurum Investments, which invests in startups that have synergies with the group’s core businesses.
Michelle triggers corporate innovation from within, and has brought to Aurum the innovative mindset, attention to detail, and rigor that she learned as a consultant, and has since grown it to an award winning $100 million+ business.
Now as the founder of Found8 and Core Collective, Michelle is transforming Aurum into a space and business innovator with a focus on the future of people. In a time of increasing connectivity, where customer experience is the gold standard, Aurum is the core of a trusted network of communities, creating opportunities across diverse industries for businesses, professionals and individuals seeking growth in Singapore and beyond.
Ever on the go, Michelle is the mother of three young children, and a foodie at heart. She strongly believes that great food makes both life and business better.
Michelle Peh, Chief Brand Officer & Group GM, MindChamps
One of the pioneers of MindChamps, Michelle is the brand champion spearheading MindChamps’ global image and positioning over the last 14 years.
She is responsible for driving the visibility, values and strength of the brand across all touch-points in Singapore and across the world.
Michelle has been instrumental in making MindChamps, the number one brand position in the highly-competitive Singapore premium preschool space, with an impressive market share of 38.5%. This was followed by a successful listing on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange in 2017, leading to the creation of a globally-recognised preschool brand.
Under her dynamic leadership, MindChamps received the following branding and marketing accolades:
- The only preschool to be inducted into the Influential Brands® Hall of Fame for winning the Top Brand award for five consecutive years, 2014 – 2018
- The only preschool to be awarded the Superbrands® Mark of Distinction for five consecutive years, 2014 – 2018
- The Established Brand – Singapore Prestige Brand Award 2011, organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and Chinese Newspaper Lianhe Zaobao
- 2018 Influential Brands® Top Employer and
- 2019 Asia’s Greatest Brands award presented by AsiaOne Magazine & PricewaterhouseCoopers
Violet Lim, CEO & Co-Founder, Lunch Actually Group
Violet Lim is the heart and soul of Lunch Actually – a matchmaking company that she founded with her then-fiancé, now-husband Jamie Lee back in 2004. Her inspiration came from observing her friends and colleagues who did not have time to date, due to their busy lives around work.
Today, Lunch Actually is Asia’s biggest premier lunch dating company with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Jakarta and Bangkok. Together with Jamie, Violet also founded esync to fill the gap in the market for trusted online and offline dating service platforms, LunchClick, the dating app for serious singles to help them meet offline as soon as possible, as well as Lunch Actually Academy, the date coaching service to maximize singles’ dating
success. Her most recent venture is Viola.AI – the world’s first blockchain-powered lifelong love AI to help singles and couples across their relationship stages.
Violet was the first Asian to be certified by the Matchmaking Institute in New York City, and she is the pioneer in her field. She has appeared in over 4,000 media coverages in top local and international media such as FOX, Forbes, CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, Mashable, The Straits Times, ABC News 20|20, CNBC Asia and Radio Australia. She’s also a renowned public speaker, recently spoke at TEDxNTU in Singapore, PR Asia 2018, Southeast Asia CFO Vision, Asian Women in Leadership Summit, and more.
Ng Aik-Phong, Managing Director, Fave (Formerly Groupon)
Aik-Phong is the Managing Director of Fave Singapore, Southeast Asia’s leading Online-to-Offline and cashless payment startup. AP, as he is more commonly known, is a founding member of Fave. He currently heads out Fave’s Singapore business, focusing on growing the FavePay cashless payment and loyalty rewards solution amongst F&B and Retail merchants, as well as driving rapid customer adoption, crossing 1 Million FavePay transactions in Singapore within a year of launch.
He was previously the Head of National Accounts for Groupon APAC, building and driving a regional business unit that generated annual revenues in excess of $50 Million across 6 countries (Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia & Singapore).
AP is a former Team Singapore Fencer and a SEA Games medallist. At 16, he entered Carleton University in Canada, graduating with a degree in Electrical & Systems Engineering as one of the faculty’s youngest graduate.
In recognition of his business and organisational leadership, AP was The Leading CEO Award recipient at the prestigious 2018 Singapore HR Awards.
Grace Park, Co-Founder, DocDoc
Grace is the Co-Founder and President of DocDoc- Asia’s leading patient empowerment company.
She brings with her more than 19 years of leadership experience, nearly 13 of which were spent in international healthcare when she led large-scale teams of distributors and a direct-to-doctor, pan-Asian sales force for Fortune 500 companies. She joined the private healthcare sector with the vision to extend and enhance human lives. She strongly believes that it is possible to do good and do well at the same time.
Prior to DocDoc, Grace held leadership positions at Medtronic, most recently as the Managing Director for its ASEAN operations, leading the company to expand its footprint for medical technology in these markets. Over the years, she has also worked in companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb where she managed local grants of +US$100M to support women and children with HIV/AIDS in 10 African countries.
Grace arrived in Singapore as a Fulbright Fellow and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School alongside an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Formerly, she graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she was a four-time All American National Judo Champion. Highlights of her military career include leading a platoon, rappeling from helicopters and parachuting from planes to earn her badges in the Army’s Air Assault School and Airborne School, and completing her service as a Captain at the Pentagon.
An active philanthropist, Grace believes in contributing to charitable causes and has raised significant donations by running 250 kilometres across the Gobi Desert to benefit children’s heart surgery in Vietnam and China. She has also climbed Mount Fuji during the winter to donate funds to children’s diabetes research in Australia, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Singapore.
Alexander Pang, CEO, New Ubin Seafood Group
As of October 2018, Alexander took on the position of Chief Executive Officer and Chef of the New
Ubin Seafood Group.
Prior to this, Alexander was appointed as a director of the Group in September
2017. Alexander recently represented Singapore at the World Restaurant Awards in Paris (Feb, 2019)
(“WRA”) to prepare Singapore cuisine for over 500 chefs and F&B media at the WRA gala dinner.
The Group owns the New Ubin Seafood brand, and began as a homegrown, family-run business in
Its first outlet at Sin Ming, which has since moved to Hillview, has garnered multiple awards. In
particular, these include three consecutive Michelin Guide “Bib Gourmand” from the inaugural year
the Guide was launched in Singapore in 2016, all the way through to 2018.
The Group presently owns and/or operates three separate outlets in Hillview, CHIJMES and Ramada
Hotel at Zhongshan Park, with the latter two outlets opening in February and December 2018
Alexander is married and father of two. He is also an avid photographer and specialises in street,
portraiture and landscape photography. Alexander also holds memberships with the Restaurant
Association of Singapore, the Insolvency Practitioner’s Association of Singapore, INSOL International,
the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association, the Singapore Institute of Directors, the Law Society
of Singapore and the Singapore Academy of Law.
Cheryl Gan, Managing Director, Hysses
Cheryl is the founder and managing director of HYSSES (Singapore) and Barn & Potter Holdings.
Having accumulated certifications in herbal medicine, anatomy, physiology, and holistic healing, Cheryl is also a therapist, a certified trainer, and an international distributor.
Despite a promising career in business technology, Cheryl made a bold switch to pursue her passion in naturopathic aromatherapy, founding Mt. Sapola in 2007. Armed with determination and foresight, Cheryl carved her own career by setting up a lone shop in Tanglin Mall with just two staff. Today, there are 14 boutiques across Singapore and 4 in Malaysia.
Responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, she continues to wear many hats including end-to-end management of supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in these countries. She is constantly blending new scents, improving and beautifying products, while striving for perfection – evident in the excellent quality and product lines.
In 2017, Cheryl rebranded all Mt. Sapola Singapore and Malaysia operations to HYSSES. This was a necessary decision to allow company growth and ventures into international markets.
Cheryl faces challenges head-on and celebrates her successes by pushing herself to reach even greater milestones, “I love to think about the future. When people throw me questions about the seemingly dare-devil decisions I’ve made on venturing into new product lines and international regions, I often ask them the same thing in return, ‘Why not?’ Good decisions will never be made unless you step out of your comfort zone.”
Cheryl is also a proud mother to four children and finds joy in spending time with them.
Laura Verallo de Bertotto, CEO, VMV Hypoallergenics
Laura Verallo de Bertotto is the CEO of VMV HYPOALLERGENICS®, a Philippine company whose mission is to save the world’s skin with the safest, most (proven!) effective care on the planet.
With zero of all 109+ common allergens and over 75 clinical studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, there is no safer, more effective skincare or makeup brand out there. A multi-award winner and regular in global beauty, fashion, and health media, VMV HYPOALLERGENICS is present via omnichannel distribution in several countries, including Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, and the USA. VMV walks the kindness and inclusivity that it talks, boasting a diverse workforce that is over 71% women (leadership is 80%), and initiatives such as a small organic collective farm in Leyte, Philippines, that provides free education and community building.
Laura grew up in the Philippines and the US, is an active member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and was awarded PLDT SME Bossing (2015), Marie Claire Philippines’ 10 Women of the World (2006), and the Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Award for scholarly writing (1993, Black Theatre Network). Laura previously worked in branding in Manhattan, and has a B.A. and M.A. from Brown University.
Rehan Amarasuriya, Executive Director
BP deSilva Group & The 1872 Clipper Tea Co.
Rehan Amarasuriya, the second son of Mr Sunil Amarasuriya, graduated in 2010 with a bachelor of finance degree from Monash University in Melbourne. Since then he has joined the family business, working very closely with the management and his team to grow the group as a whole.
Specifically, Rehan has focused on the BP de Silva Group’s tea business – The 1872 Clipper Tea Co., a local specialty tea company, and Tea Tang, a production arm supplying tea to quality-oriented markets, from Singapore, Japan and Europe. Rehan also co-founded Teapasar, a multi-brand tea marketplace, in
Despite his young age, Rehan has an innate flair for business, and is deeply passionate in his work. He is also involved in the tea blending process, working closely with master tea blenders at Tea Tang to concoct new and interesting blends that will pander to the local palate. Rehan also has an outgoing
personality and loves to share his passion and knowledge about tea.
Renee Tan, Founder, Managing Director, Rendeur (H.E.R Entrepreneur)
Renee Tan is an entrepreneur and trainer with a unique background of science, psychology and business in her past education and work. She started her career doing Stem Cell research. She left the laboratory to pursue a Double Major in Psychology and Marketing, joined a B2B media company handling several portfolios in multiple sectors such as Life Sciences, Healthcare, Mining, Energy, Supply Chain, Hedge Funds, Private Banking amongst many others; for the Asia Pacific business and led a team. Her network of clients include the government, MNCs, investors, institutions and associations. She is now the Founder and Managing Director of Rendeur Pte Ltd, providing training, consultancy, and seminars for corporate organisations and individuals.
She created HER Entrepreneur to provide women with the resources and platform to connect with the entrepreneurial ecosystem and learn from other aspiring entrepreneurs.