When Irene Ho FCCA, CEO at The Luxury Network Singapore, was first elected to ACCA Singapore’s network panel in June 2020, she instantly saw an opportunity to put some of her unique skillsets to good use.
As someone who was well-versed in organising and using lifestyle events to build networks and connect people, Ho felt that ACCA Singapore would benefit greatly from having an interest group dedicated to making community and social impact.
Ho says that while ACCA already had many technical-based initiatives such as courses and information-sharing sessions, there was less focus on regular social activities to strengthen member cohesion.
‘Such activities can be something as simple as having drinks, but it must be regular. All of these interactions are important to building a strong network of support among members,’ Ho says.
The mission of the Community and Social Impact interest group, which Ho leads, extends beyond simply organising social activities. For her, these events are merely a first step towards preparing its members to take on bigger tasks.
She adds that only when camaraderie and strong friendships have been built then can there be genuine and sustained passion among its members to support meaningful causes ranging from economic development to social justice and environmental sustainability.
One of the initiatives is the Returners Project – aimed at supporting mothers in their return to the workforce. Ho explains that in line with one of the committee’s three key objectives (see box) of ‘contributing to the community as a force for public good’, the project hopes to remove some of the obstacles for returning mums so that they can play a part in supporting Singapore’s workforce and economy.
‘In addition to linking up mothers with the technical refresher courses needed for a career relaunch, we are also able to support them emotionally
‘The big advantage of having a strong social element is that in addition to linking up mothers with the technical refresher courses needed for a career relaunch, we are also able to support them emotionally,’ she says.
‘By creating a community of peers that are going through the same life stages, and mentors that have already successfully made the transition, these returner mums are able to leverage on the network to allay their fears and overcome their psychological barriers.’
Just the start
The Returners Project is, says Ho, just the start. ‘I hope that with a strong and active ACCA network, we will also be able to support other worthy causes in future,’ she says.
Ho shares that even though she works closely with many affluent circles of society, largely because of her job as the CEO of The Luxury Network and as the Diplomatic Council’s head of Asia and head of mission for Singapore, it is her passion for serving the underprivileged and supporting worthy causes that truly drives her.’
‘I really believe that if we stand together, impactful change can happen’
The power of community
The Community and Social Impact interest group was born out of a desire to harness and build stronger relationships within the ACCA community. The three key objectives for this group are to:
- Connect members through social-related initiatives
Strengthen the member network by building camaraderie and mutual support through wholesome initiatives.
- Contribute to the community as a force for public good
Introduce initiatives that leverage on ACCA’s membership to bring about greater good for the community, business and Singapore’s economy.
- Create social impact through CSR initiatives
Engage in CSR initiatives to heighten members’ awareness of the need to be accountable to the community, as well as to play a part in making a positive and proactive change to the lives around them.
For more information, contact Mitchell.Tee@accaglobal.com
‘The people I meet are the ones with power and influence to make impactful change,’ she says, giving the example of the mentoring she provides to young adults, many of whom are from influential backgrounds.
‘Because of the privileged position that they come from, there is a high chance that many of them will attain a high level of success in life,’ Ho says. ‘By influencing their belief system to think beyond material satisfaction, they can make a significant impact on others, and ripple that effect to make the world a better place,’ says Ho.
Similarly, Ho notes that the high calibre of ACCA members puts them in an ideal position to use their skills for greater good.
‘As the world’s economies recover from the effects of Covid-19, businesses are becoming more socially and environmentally conscious,’ she notes. ‘The accounting profession must therefore keep up with these trends and lead the way for change.’
Ho gives an example from her day job, where she is working on a project to use organic materials as alternative manufacturing materials. ‘I’m excited because it could be a game changer for mankind – to help us better preserve the earth for future generations, she says. ‘If the project is successful, I think it will be great if I can leverage on the ACCA member network to further drive the initiative.’
This is, she says, just one example: ‘I really believe that if we stand together, impactful change can happen.’