Lester is the Deputy Head of GIC’s Information & Technology Risk Management team, specialising in the development of cyber, technology, and information risk policies. He serves as a risk advisor and assessor for the firm’s various Public Market departments, and also develops and implements GIC’s cybersecurity training and awareness programmes for all employees.
Outside of work, he keeps his body and mind in shape with an almost daily exercise routine that includes running, swimming, and going to the gym.
Why did you decide to join GIC?
In mid-2015, I was approached by an external recruiter for a position in the then-IT Governance team, which is now known as the Cyber Security, Information & Technology Risk (CSITR) division within the Technology Group. As fate would have it, a former colleague of mine was in this team too, so after a long chat about the job scope and company culture, I decided to give it a shot – and the rest is history.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been involved in, and even led, initiatives and projects that have enriched my technical and business knowledge while also assisting me in developing trusted working relationships with colleagues across the firm.
What does your typical workday look like?
I try to squeeze in a quick 10-lap swim twice a week before starting my workday. This helps me focus and prepare for what lies ahead. I would clear my inbox from the night before, review my meeting schedule for the day, and schedule time to do focused work if necessary.
I prefer to schedule meetings in the morning so that I can spend the afternoon following up on all the action items discussed and agreed upon earlier. I meet with my managers every two weeks to discuss key priorities and to share feedback and observations on ongoing tasks. This is extremely beneficial because it gives me confidence that I’m on the right track. Therefore I’m grateful to have accommodating managers who are willing to give me time out of their own busy schedules!
On days when I’m in the office, lunchtime is a highlight because I enjoy exploring the plethora of food options available around our Singapore office. I enjoy having lunch with my colleagues because some conversations are more productive outside of formal meetings. Furthermore, it is an excellent opportunity to get to know colleagues on a personal level and form long-lasting relationships across departments.
I spend the rest of the day following up on action items from the morning meetings, writing and developing cybersecurity policies and standards, creating content for management presentations and training sessions, and responding to IT risk advisory and assessment questions from stakeholders. I dedicate my after-work hours to family time and self-care by running twice or thrice a week.
What do you like most about working here?
Personally, I strongly support GIC’s mission to preserve and grow Singapore’s foreign financial assets for the benefit of all Singaporeans, present and future. It’s a noble cause, as evidenced by the multiple drawdowns from the nation’s reserves due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Aside from that, I enjoy working with a team of highly knowledgeable and professional individuals who are all committed to doing what is right rather than what is easy.
GIC’s efforts to recognise and celebrate worthy causes in countries where we have a presence, such as Black History Month in the United States and cultural festivals/celebrations in China, are commendable for a Singapore-based company. We are also strongly committed to welcoming persons with disabilities, whether through our participation in the Purple Parade or by hiring interns and staff with disabilities. GIC shows commitment to innovation, collaboration, and hard work, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
How would you describe the learning & development culture at GIC?
I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to hone both my technical skills in cybersecurity and IT management, as well as my communication skills, by developing and delivering training and awareness content. Some of the courses I’ve attended over the years include ITIL Foundation Training, effective writing, and AWS Security Essentials. I believe these courses will serve me well no matter where my career goes.
What you should know before joining GIC
Prepare to share your thoughts, feedback, and improvement suggestions. There is hardly a dull day in GIC; you will always be kept engaged!