Trailblazers Ahead of Time
Meet the game-changers who have managed to thrive during some of the hardest storms in recent history. What can businesses learn from their experiences and strategies, and subsequently adapt for themselves?
Glean insights from their stories to propel you and your business ahead.
Click on the speakers photos on the right to view their respective profiles.
Kelvin LamCOO, YouTrip
Kelvin Lam is the Chief Operating Officer of YouTrip, a regional financial technology company dedicated to creating a next-generation digital banking experience in Southeast Asia. Having founded the YouTrip operations in Singapore, and expanded the brand overseas to Thailand, Kelvin manages and oversees the local market growth and regional expansion of YouTrip in Singapore, Thailand, and other upcoming future markets in Southeast Asia.
Prior to YouTrip, Kelvin was the Managing Director in Compare Asia Group, a regional fintech group focusing on helping consumers across Asia find the right financial products at the most competitive price. Before starting his entrepreneurial journey, Kelvin was an Associate Director in UBS Investment Bank, advising tech, consumer, and financial corporates on Mergers & Acquisitions and Capital Markets transactions.
Lai Chang WenCo-Founder & CEO, Ninja Van Group
Lai Chang Wen is CEO and Co-Founder of Ninja Van – Southeast Asia’s leading technology-enabled logistics company. The company was started in 2014 by him and his two other Co-Founders Boxian and Shaun when they realised the market potential of catering to the logistics needs of the e-commerce industry.
With a focus on taking the hassle out of the parcel deliveries for customers, Chang Wen and his team are dedicated to ensuring that logistics is a simple and seamless affair for their business partners and consumers. Specialising in e-commerce deliveries, Ninja Van believes in powering businesses with innovative logistics solutions. The company believes in offering a consistent hassle-free delivery experience for merchants across Southeast Asia and providing clients with a singular access point into the region. With plans to continue expanding and serving in the current markets the company operates in, Chang Wen’s vision is for Ninja Van to open Southeast Asia to a world of possibilities, one delightful delivery at a time.
Chang Wen graduated with a Bachelor of Finance from Singapore Management University and worked as a derivatives trader at Barclays before setting up men’s custom fashion retailer Marcella. His experience with the online retail business made him realise there could be a more efficient way of delivering and tracking packages, resulting in the creation of Ninja Van.
A natural-born entrepreneur, Chang Wen conceived his first business venture when he was a student, having discovered that putting together second-hand bicycle parts and selling the finished product could land him a neat profit. He is passionate about harnessing technology to improve lives and enjoys adapting classical mathematical models to provide real-world solutions.
Nichol NgCEO & Managing Director, X-Inc and Co-Founder, The Food Bank Singapore
Nichol Ng is CEO and Managing Director of X-Inc Pte Ltd, the parent of a group of companies that has been in the food business since the 1930s. She oversees about 180 employees, more than 5,000 products, over 4,500 customers, and an annual turnover exceeding S$70 million. The X-Inc group comprises FoodXervices Inc, GroXers Inc, LogiXtics Inc, X Properties Inc, and PlotX Inc. Together, the companies bring to life dreams in the food ecosystem – from foodservice and retail to logistics and property. It was her passion for food as well as a desire to deliver service with a heart that drove Nichol to acquire the family business and rebrand and restructure the company in May 2007. Prior to this, she was a Marketing Executive of MediaCorp Radio Pte Ltd where she was part of the team in charge of re-branding all the MediaCorp radio stations, including Class 95, Y.E.S 933,Perfect 10 987 and Gold 90.
In 2012, Nichol co-founded The Food Bank Singapore (FBSG), a charity with a mission to eradicate food insecurity in Singapore by 2025. FBSG re-distributes excess foods to more than 300 non-profit organisations that reach out to more than 300,000 underprivileged. For her effort in feeding the needy, Nichol was named as one of the 10 honourees in The Peak magazine’s The Peak Power List 2016 and listed in Forbes Asia’s 2017 Heroes of Philanthropy and Harper’s Bazaar’s The Power List 2018. In 2021, she was the Southeast Asia honouree of the YPO Global Impact Award Regional, which recognises young CEOs for their impact outside of YPO, celebrating CEO impact that is both sustainable and scalable.
She has leadership roles and is actively involved in various local and global organisations:
• President of ONE (Singapore)
• Executive Committee Member of Young Presidents Organisation – Singapore Chapter
• Board Member of Global Compact Network Singapore
• Asian Representative of Global Call to Action Against Poverty
• Member of International Women’s Forum
• Executive Committee Member of St Nicholas Girls School Alumnae
More than just a successful businesswoman, Nichol is happily married to her partner of 25 years and believes that the best legacy to leave her four children (from ages two to nine) is not money but her values.
Prof Annie Koh (Session Chair) Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice) & Senior Advisor, Business Families Institute, Singapore Management University (SMU)Prof Annie Koh (Session Chair)Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice) & Senior Advisor, Business Families Institute, Singapore Management University (SMU)
Professor Annie Koh is Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice) at Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University (SMU). She is a renowned conference speaker, panel moderator and commentator. In addition to being a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on New Agenda for Work, Wages and Job Creation, Professor Koh also chairs the Asian Bond Fund 2 supervisory committee of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and a committee member of Singapore’s Customs Advisory Council and HR Transformation Advisory Panel. She is currently an independent director of AMTD International Inc., PBA Group, Prime US REIT, Prudential Assurance Company Singapore Pte Ltd and Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. She previously served on GovTech, Singapore’s CPF, HMI and K1 Ventures boards.
Professor Koh also advises privately owned enterprises such as Flexxon Pte Ltd, Hendricks Corp. Pte Ltd, TOP International, and startups such as AvePoint EduTech, Dedoco, Elevate Tech, RootAnt Global, StashAway, StaffOnDemand, SWAT Mobility, and non-profits such as Cyber Youth Singapore and WWF Singapore. She has been an investment committee member of iGlobe Partners since July 2010 and advisor to CUBE3 Ventures since October 2021. Previously held leadership positions at SMU include Vice President for Business Development; V3 Group Professor of Family Entrepreneurship; Academic Director of Business Families Institute and International Trading Institute; Associate Dean, Lee Kong Chian School of Business; and Dean, Office of Executive and Professional Education.
Professor Koh received her Ph.D. degree in International Finance as a Fulbright scholar from Stern School of Business, New York University in 1988. Her research interests are in Family Office and Family Business, Investor Behaviour, Alternative Investments and Enterprise Risk Management. She co-authored Financial Management: Theory and Practice, 2nd edition (2021), and Financing Internationalisation – Growth Strategies for Successful Companies (2004), co-editor of Asian Family Business: Succession, Governance and Innovation (2020), and author of a number of Asian family business cases and survey reports. In recognition of her contribution to education and the public sector, she was awarded the bronze and silver Singapore Public Administration medal in 2010 and 2016 respectively, and the Adult Education Prism Award in 2017.
Tommy PhunFounder, Pyxis and Director, Eng Hup Shipping
Tommy Phun is a Director of Eng Hup Shipping. Under his leadership, the company has experienced significant growth – winning substantial contracts, diversifying into new sectors and expanding its fleet to over 70 vessels. He has successfully embarked on a digitalisation and decarbonisation journey to transform the traditional marine business. This led him to found Pyxis, Singapore’s first-of-its-kind electric vessel start-up that is positioned to advance the coastal maritime industry towards a sustainable future. Beyond his corporate responsibilities, he is also appointed as an MPA Maritime Digitalisation Playbook ambassador to promote digital transformation within the industry.
Tommy graduated as Salutatorian from Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Business Management.