Page Personnel’s Executive Assistant of the Year 2016, Michelle Ng, did not allow being retrenched during the 2008 financial crisis to defeat her.
Following her emotional win during the award ceremony last week, the 47-year-old senior admin assistant with Proterra Investment Advisors (Singapore) Pte Ltd said the lowest point of her career came eight years ago when she faced retrenchment after her entire business unit ceased operations.
“Naturally, all my colleagues were upset but I couldn’t afford the time to cry at all. I had three young children to support and I knew I had to revise and send out my resume right away,” said Michelle, who had to prepare her staff’s termination slips before her own.
Years later, Michelle was re-hired by Proterra after she impressed during her first stint as EA. Last year, she helped to rebuild her company’s IT and HR functions from scratch after the private investment firm specialising in agriculture, food and metals, split with its parent company. Her efforts won top votes from a panel of judges at Page Personnel’s EA of the year.
Now that her company has stabilised from the split, Michelle says she wants to repay her own family’s sacrifice. “At the end of the day, all I want is to go home and cook a healthy dinner for my children and husband. I have not been able to do that for months because of the late nights,” she said.
Her managing director Koh Peng Chua, who nominated her for the award, said, “Michelle made it on her own merits, all I did was state the facts and be a testament to what she has accomplished. She took on a lot of responsibilities and made a lot of personal sacrifices while being positive the whole time in the office.”
Michelle, who will be taking up a compliance course at the end of the year with her manager’s support, has been known to answer work calls in the wee hours of the morning in case her colleagues needed urgent support during their work travel abroad.
Page Personnel’s EA of the year 2016 is awarded:
“We were looking to recognise the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that organisations function seamlessly in their daily operations. Michelle’s success has opened avenues of career progression where she has carved her own path from administrative work to office manager and is now taking on a course in compliance. This is an example of nurturing a workforce which is so important in today’s dynamic environment,” said Kirsty Luce, Director, Page Personnel Singapore.
The Page Personnel 2016 EA of the year received a total of 170 submissions. 10 finalists were shortlisted and a panel of judges made up of senior industry leaders scored the finalists based on five criteria — interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, ability to perform under pressure, adaptability and pro-activeness.