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Chee Ling Pua: On finding your life’s mission

“That job [in the educational institution] led me to finding my love to work with students. And it is 13 years later in the industry, when I finally found something that I want to champion and work on.”
Interview with Chi / Photo by Kolejdika

It’s no secret: we are at our best when we work towards our life’s mission. But sometimes, it can take a while before we find out what it really is. But don’t let it stop you. Because it certainly hasn’t stopped Chee Ling Pua.

As a child, Pua wasn’t the type to revel in leadership positions, or like having a lot of responsibilities. Even when it came to her career, she would much rather have fun and be carefree, choosing to follow what her heart wanted.

It was well into a promising career in the banking industry that Pua’s heart told her something was missing. She felt lost and unsure of her goal. So she quit her career to do a bit of soul-searching for three months, until she found herself in the education sector by chance.

But the longer she stayed there, the more she saw the need to change education as a whole. Pua was able to see so many cases of children’s dreams being thwarted, or children being led towards a wrong path, along with the resulting pain they carry as an adult.

It was then that she realised what her life’s mission is—to change education to one that puts a child’s interest first.

It was then that she realised what her life’s mission is—to change education to one that puts a child’s interest first.

Now the Chief Executive at Dika College, she continues to inspire others by following what her heart wanted, and doing what she believed she should for others.

Children’s smile / Photo by Mi Pham

What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

“It was hard to strike a balance between driving my dreams and being financially stable. But one of the main challenges would be managing people and finding the right team who believe in your goal and direction.

What helped me overcome these challenges was being able to communicate with people. Whenever there’s a problem, speak to those who’ve been there before. They would be able to give a lot of perspective on the situation and help you gain clarity on the best thing to do next.”

Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set you up for success?

I used to have the ultimate bad habit – procrastinating. Once I kicked that habit, the battle is already half-won.

I’ve always been open to learning. I think there is a lesson for everything that happened. So take all challenges, big or small. as opportunities to learn.

What do you wish you knew before leading your company?

“If I knew  it would be this fun and fulfilling to have a mission, and go on a journey to champion change… I would have started sooner.”

Chee Ling Pua believes that once you find yourself in a position where you can bring the change you want to see, others will also believe and support you. So do what you believe you should be doing, because that will ultimately lead you to find your own life’s mission.

Follow her journey as she continues to inspire others to follow their heart.

Stories

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