Multitasking execs strike right balance
IT'S no longer good enough for executives to just be distinguished in their careers - more of them are now multitaskers, handling family commitments alongside numerous side pursuits.
"Some of the contestants are parents, and also take part in many different recreational activities. That really shows that a good work-life balance is possible with multitasking and prioritising," said Ms Cherie Ng, managing director of Skyy Creative Consultant and one of the three judges for this year's My Paper Executive search competition.
The ability to juggle multiple pursuits alongside their job is a key trait of the savvy executive, said Ms Ng.
That competency in attaining a work-life balance was evident on Saturday at the audition round of this year's competition, now in its seventh year.
The contest aims to find people who best epitomise the ideal Singapore urban executive, with skills in networking, communication and teamwork.
About 500 executives applied this year but only 100 were shortlisted to present themselves at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) News Centre.
Judge Dollah Jaafar, creative director of Creative Lab at SPH, said: "There's really an interesting line-up this year, with great diversity in the backgrounds and characters of the contestants.
"Many of these executives have the kind of work-life balance that I'd dream of having."
Ms Annie Tan, head of product branding and promotions at SPH and the third judge, agreed, saying: "Executives nowadays must be good at more than just working to really stand out - whether as parents or in their spirit for adventure."
Ms Dhanashree Sharma, 30, is one executive who appears to have nailed the concept of work-life balance.
The assistant pricing manager for American Express is married and has two children aged four years and 16 months, and is an aspiring singer and dancer to boot.
She started learning singing and dancing at the age of five, composed her own song and produced and recorded vocals for it in a studio last month. She is also performing as a solo dancer for the Indian Women's Association at an event soon. On top of that, she also sketches and creates artwork with colour pencils, crayons and glitter.
"I'm a morning person, so I get up at 6am every day and make time for all my different pursuits," said Ms Sharma on how she manages her time.
Mr Ndi Ng is another multitasking executive who excels at both work and play.
As a manager for Sport Singapore, he helps athletes develop skills outside of their sporting careers. He also previously did grassroots work for six years in Hougang as vice-chairman of the youth executive committee.
The 35-year-old is also the owner of a 10kg blue-white cat. His pedigreed Maine Coon named Elvis has won multiple awards at shows organised by the Cat Fanciers Association.
"I feel pride as a cat owner when my cat wins prizes at a show. It's a very time-consuming thing to take care of a pet and so I think I'm honing my parenting skills for when I have a child," said Mr Ng, on how owning a pet has changed him.
Mr Vivek Gangiredla, senior vice-president and initiatives department head of Citibank, 31, describes himself as a "creative person in a boring job".
To have a creative outlet, he takes up a different hobby each year.
"I was into oil-painting two years ago, cocktail-making and photography last year and this year, I'm learning coffee art," he said. "My hobbies help me to stay grounded in the midst of my work."
The India-born banker, who was based in New York for 10 years, recently returned with his wife from a trip to the Arctic, where he had gone to see the Northern Lights and to celebrate their seventh anniversary.
He received his Singapore permanent resident's card on Saturday before he arrived for the audition.
"I'm really excited today. It feels like a good day for me," Mr Gangiredla, who has worked here since the end of 2010, said.
Of the 100 contestants who auditioned, 20 finalists - 10 men and 10 women - will be unveiled by the second half of this month. They will compete in the grand final on May 24. The winner will take home $10,000, among other prizes.