A Conversation With... Mr. Khew Sin Khoon

A Conversation with Mr Khew

Conversation With… is a series of articles featuring personalities within CPG Corporation who inspire.

No one is better fitted to be featured in the very first issue of Conversation With … than our fearless leader himself. We sat down with Mr Khew, the Group CEO at CPG Corporation for a chat to uncover his secrets in building a successful career.

Passion, patience and a global mindset are what he strongly believes in. Read on to find out more.

Q: Having been in the industry for over 30 years, what’s keeping your fire burning?
I came to Singapore in 1979 to study Architecture and joined the then Public Works Department in 1984 right after I graduated. I was lucky that I had the opportunities to work on social infrastructure projects from schools to hospitals, to roads and bridges.

Those were exciting years where I accumulated valuable real-life experiences, and developed a strong passion in nation building and a strong sense of pride in what I do. This passion and pride is what’s motivating me all these years.

Q: Is passion enough?
You must also have an inquisitive mind and keep learning. It is very important especially in our line of business and in CPG. Learning doesn’t stop after you finish your university education. There are simply so much to learn, from diverse geographies and markets to a wide range of building typologies, to be successful in your career.

I’m a strong believer that people with deeper skills and a lifelong learning attitude will collectively help us achieve greater efficiency, enrich our knowledge base, and build a stronger company collectively.

Q: Where can we look for opportunities to learn?
You can learn from anywhere at any time, if your mind opens to it. We have colleagues in CPG who explore and discover the depth of cultures on personal holidays, who actively seek community work and participate in industry fellowships, who are into nature and wildlife like myself. All this knowledge you acquire outside work are great resources to benefit you at work.

Of course, as a company, we make sure that we create learning opportunities to keep all of you up-to-dated with new knowledge, technology know-how, and the changing dynamics of the market. Business divisions are encouraged to conduct at least three learning series every year, and all staff are also strongly encouraged to attend six days of training and related programs every year, which include technical and professional courses conducted by external partners and government agencies such as BCA Academy, NTUC Learning Hub, SNEF, etc.

Robin Wong, for example, a senior architecture consultant at the age of 88 years old, still actively pursues courses to renew his practising certificates and tirelessly travels for business.

Q: What do you see as the strength of the millennial generation in the workforce?
Good question. Do you know that 47% of our workforce were born between 1980 to early 2000s. They all share a very encouraging attribute – that is a global mindset, which in my opinion is critically important. Going global is the future and we need people who are culturally connected. We have overseas personal career development programme for employees for them to get out there, see the real world, and learn about new cultures and new ways of doing things.

Q: Do you have any last advice?
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Building a successful career is a marathon, not a sprint. Set yourself goals and do everything with enthusiasm and passion, at the same time, it is also important to be patient and resilient towards the unpredictable in life.

By CPG editorial team