Driven by a passion to inspire youths, Ella Sun’s first brush with Halogen was in 2008 at National Young Leaders’ Day (NYLD). The conference marked a key turning point for her, redefining her perspective on the challenges she faced, and inspiring her to make a mark through a career in the non-profit sector. She subsequently joined Halogen as an intern, where she relished the opportunity to effect change through her work with events such as NYLD and Halogen Charity Golf.
Hi, I’m Ella! My story with Halogen started as an attendee of National Young Leaders Day (NYLD) 2008. The event inspired me to reframe how I was thinking about challenges I was facing as a youth, prompted my interest in the self-help space, as well as inspired me to explore careers in the non-profit sector.
As I wanted to be a part of inspiring youths to discover new perspectives, I applied for an internship at Halogen in 2015 and became an Academy and Events Intern. During my three-month internship, I had the privilege of supporting the execution of key events such as NYLD by managing ushers, and our Charity Golf event. In 2018, I also came back to volunteer as an usher for NYLD.
I’m currently working for a non-profit, Generation Singapore, where we seek to support people into life-changing careers that would otherwise be inaccessible. It’s a role that is aligned with what I’ve learned at Halogen – to provide people with opportunities and new perspectives.
What was one highlight of your NYLD experience that resonated with you, and how have you carried that into your life today?
I had the privilege of attending a speech by Nick Vujicic, who was a speaker that year. I still remember how he moved the audience by asking people to share their stories, and empowered individuals to believe in themselves – reinforcing the message that they are in control of their own lives. I’m pretty sure most of the room was in tears that day.
I think the key message from NYLD is that everyone faces challenges, and everyone has a story.
The people that we see as great leaders have all had ups and downs, but what makes a great leader and individual is a person who knows they have the agency to change their life, and who has the resilience, strength, and power to take tiny steps and build themselves up to where they are today. This is something that I work towards everyday: instead of complaining or wondering why life is sending challenges my way, I reframe my thoughts and think, “What can I do in this situation that is best for myself at this moment?” and take action from there.
You were also an intern with Halogen! What were some of the biggest lessons that you learned from your internship?
One of the highlights of my internship experience was going into the schools as an Academy intern to deliver sessions on leadership. It felt like I came full circle: from always looking forward to these types of workshops as a student, to having the privilege of actually delivering them. Having said that, I faced a steep learning curve, but I also appreciated the opportunities I had to learn from experts like Vanessa [a former Training & Development Executive] at that time – from observing how she took ownership in managing the students, to how she delivered workshops.
One of the biggest lessons I learnt from Halogen was how to take courage in the things I do. My internship with Halogen marked my first experience at a workplace! It took a lot of courage on my part to stand in front of a class and deliver a leadership workshop. It also took a lot of courage to step up and take ownership over the process of event organisation with NYLD. I also learnt a lot about the power of a debrief from my time at Halogen. It taught me the importance of giving a good wrap up of the event, to make sure that we are always learning and can move forward with closure.
How did your time with Halogen inspire you to be a part of the youth/youth development ecosystem?
My time with Halogen inspired me to believe that every youth has potential. With enough investment in our youths, we can enable them to grow, share new perspectives, and build a better life for themselves. As a People, Culture & Volunteers Manager, I keep this in mind whenever we have interns working for us in our non-profit – to ensure that they emerge from our organisation better than where they started, and grow from the experience.