Ai Chiat is the Head of Governance and Client Relations where she leads the team that manages corporate governance and client relations in GIC. Her team manages the key communications with our clients, always seeking to understand, anticipate, and manage their needs and issues by coordinating with departments across GIC.
Outside of work, she looks forward to sharing experiences with her teenage children such as attending courses like baking, cooking, and painting. As they grow older and more independent, she looks forward to learning together with them, more than just guiding them to perform tasks.
Why did you decide to join GIC?
I first saw an advertisement for GIC on the cover of my University Hall’s Dinner & Dance publicity folder in 1996, and then an ad for a position in the “Client Services Unit” in the newspaper recruitment page the following year.
I remember vividly that the purpose and global nature of the institutional asset management business in the job advertisement compelled me to apply. I had recently graduated with a degree in banking and finance and had been working in a bank for a few months, but based on my internship, and the few months following graduation, the banking industry did not appeal to me.
I took a leap of faith by joining GIC because I didn’t know much about the culture then, but I’ve never looked back since. I consider the ability to work at GIC, as well as having so many friends from this company, to be a blessing in my life.
What does your typical workday look like?
Whether at home or at work, I start my day with a cup of black coffee. I will then check my emails for any time-sensitive messages that were sent overnight from overseas offices.
My lunches are usually with GIC colleagues or clients, to build rapport and exchange views on developments in our areas of work, and to relax and de-stress by sharing laughter about the lighter side of life.
After work, I will try to have dinner with my family. Dinners together are an important daily ritual in my family.
What do you like most about working here?
There are many reasons why I have been in this role for such a long time. For one, I enjoy building relationships with colleagues in GIC and our client organisations. I also like anticipating and solving problems by bringing colleagues together to talk about their perspectives, brainstorm, and co-create a solution. We do this by identifying themes in arising issues, and understanding the root causes and challenges.
In terms of diversity of minds, I believe we have been focusing on it for quite some time now, ensuring that supervisors give juniors and those around the table opportunities to speak up, and that diverse perspectives are heard and discussed. Ultimately, it is about diversity of thoughts and ideas. We all have different life experiences and perspectives, which can sharpen the organisation’s decision-making process.
How would you describe the learning & development culture at GIC?
In an industry that is constantly evolving and a world that is uncertain and volatile, we have to be agile – to learn and adapt well. There are plenty of resources we can tap on in the company to improve our knowledge and understanding. All it takes is the initiative and willingness on our part to adopt a growth mindset.
Throughout my career, I have had no formal mentors or mentees, but I have been fortunate to have bosses who have guided me, listened to my feedback, and given me advice. I have senior colleagues who are always willing to offer extremely beneficial advice and guidance. Paying it forward, I will always find time to speak with colleagues who approach me for advice on work and personal matters. Wherever I can help, I’ll provide the necessary support, analyse the issues, and discuss possible next steps or solutions.
Because it is not a “forced” dialogue, I believe the informal mentor/mentee model works well for me. It is more efficient and effective from the ground up.
What you should know before joining GIC
The industry is constantly evolving, and there will always be new challenges. Working at GIC is never boring. Be prepared for exciting and meaningful work, and learn how to be resilient and manage and balance your priorities in life. GIC is unique. Our purpose and mission differentiates us from other financial institutions. It is a privilege to be able to contribute towards GIC’s outcomes regardless of the role we are in.