HEAR FROM EDB ALUMNI

A career at EDB touches lives in many ways. Read profiles of EDB alumni and about the lasting value of their experiences at EDB.

ANGELINE POH

Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Industry Group, Singapore Media Development Authority (MDA)


Angeline Poh
It's the role we play in creating opportunities for fellow Singaporeans to fulfil their dreams that kept me going.

Singapore’s media industry is near and dear to Angeline’s heart. She graduated from the NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information with top honours and the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal. She started her EDB career in 1999, in what was then known as the Communications & Media cluster (now known as Infocomms & Media) where she helped foster the growth of the broadcast, production and publishing industries. She also played a key role in kickstarting Singapore’s journey into the media & digital entertainment industry, creating and executing the strategy for Singapore to be a regional hub for video games, animation, visual effects and other interactive digital media sectors. From 2009, she wore multiple hats as the Director of Infocomms & Media, Strategic Planning, and the Research & Statistics Unit.

Angeline left EDB in 2011 to join McGraw-Hill Education (Asia), a leading education publishing and solutions firm, as its Managing Director. In January 2014, she assumed the role of Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Industry Group) of MDA.

You spent around a decade helping grow the media & digital entertainment industry in EDB. What kept you engaged with this sector?

It's the role we play in creating opportunities for fellow Singaporeans to fulfil their dreams that kept me going. As EDB officers we always knew that our work resulted in economic growth and job creation, however it was sometimes difficult for us to see the tangible outcomes of our effort. But these outcomes became very real when people actually came up to thank us for enabling them to pursue their aspirations of becoming documentary filmmakers, visual effects artists for blockbuster films, or video game developers. In my view, these simple exchanges with fellow Singaporeans made the late nights, burnt weekends and hard work all worthwhile. This is why I decided to re-join the public service after spending time at McGraw-Hill, to be part of the team at the Media Development Authority that is charting the future of Singapore's media industry.

You’ve had some exciting experiences courting investments at world-renowned media trade events like MIPCOM (in Cannes, France) and the Game Developers’ Convention (in San Francisco, USA). Share with us a memorable story or two from your investment promotion trips?

Perhaps you are referring to the time my manager and I were detained for questioning by immigration authorities at a French airport while we were in transit, and we didn't know if we were ever going to make it back to Singapore? Or perhaps the trip where someone in the delegation (not me!) came down with scabies when we visited LA? Or the time when I clocked my personal record of travelling through five US states, to attend three meetings – all in a single day? I remember all those stories well!

What is the most valuable guidance you received at EDB?

The most valuable lesson I learnt, wasn't from any particular manager or mentor. It was from the organisation itself. I learnt that we should always stretch ourselves, our thinking and imagination to achieve more than what we think we're capable of. This applies not just to the work that EDB officers do in developing Singapore's economy, but also to our lives. It was this realisation that emboldened me to step out of my comfort zone to challenge myself and take up the opportunity at McGraw-Hill Education.

What was the biggest adjustment for you, moving from EDB to the private sector?

Arguably, none of my actual work experience from the EDB was directly applicable to the new role I assumed at McGraw-Hill Education. However, it was the soft skills I had developed over the years that made all the difference. It was the combination of wanting to do the right thing, serving others and the ability to self-learn that helped me thrive in a completely new environment. In fact, these aren’t just transferrable to any workplace – they are very valuable life skills!

Ask anyone who's left the EDB and they'll tell you the same thing – it's the people that you'll miss most after you leave the Board. Perhaps it's the fact that most of us joined as fresh graduates and "grew up" together. Or perhaps it's the fact that these friendships are forged by shared experiences (and stresses!). Whatever the case, the bonds you form with your fellow EDBians will last a long, long time.