Samuel Wee: Mentor on a Mission
We sat down with Empower Awards winner Samuel Wee to find out more about the mission behind his vision.
In the realm of mentorship, few individuals possess a track record as impressive and extensive as Samuel Wee. As the Director of Student Support and Career Services at Temasek Polytechnic (TP), Samuel has amassed nearly 30 years of work experience, holding various certifications and accolades; he holds an MBA, a GCDF-SG, is a certified John Maxwell coach as well as a 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People facilitator, and is certified in using DISC, PEAKS and Harrison Assessments.
In an exclusive interview with Samuel, we delve into his journey as a mentor and the profound impact he has made on the lives of those he guides.
Samuel’s venture into mentoring began during his own youth as a member of the Boys Brigade, an organization with a strong mentoring culture between officers and seniors. He fondly recalls his first mentor, an officer in the Boys Brigade, with whom he still maintains contact. Additionally, Samuel credits an inspiring teacher from his A-Levels for imparting the valuable lesson, “1 bird in hand is worth 2 birds in a bush,” teaching him the importance of making the most of one’s current resources. This revelation sparked his ambition to inspire minds and paved the way for a career in education
When asked about the significance of mentors, Samuel firmly believes that everyone can benefit from mentorship, albeit during specific seasons of their lives. He highlights the importance of structured mentorships in helping individuals navigate challenges and achieve personal and professional growth. Particularly, he emphasizes the immense impact mentorship can have on young individuals, as they possess a remarkable capacity to absorb knowledge and guidance.
According to Samuel, a good mentorship relationship is characterized by the mentor’s ability to add value to the mentee’s life. True mentorship goes beyond transactional exchanges and progresses toward transformational growth. Samuel acknowledges that mentorships extend beyond professional realms and can address personal and emotional obstacles as well. Recognizing the multi-faceted nature of individuals, he believes in tailoring mentorships to specific needs and challenges.
When discussing the value of a good mentor, Samuel asserts that it varies based on the mentorship’s focus. In the context of industry mentoring, mentors can open doors and significantly contribute to the mentee’s career advancement. However, the benefits of mentorship extend far beyond professional gains, encompassing personal and emotional development, fostering resilience, and imparting life lessons.
For those seeking a mentor, Samuel advises being intentional in the search. It is essential to tap into existing networks, regardless of their size, and establish clear goals and a roadmap toward personal growth. While under a mentor’s guidance, active listening is crucial, but the learning process should not end there. Samuel encourages mentees to reflect on the lessons received, suggesting journaling as a useful tool for personal growth and self-awareness.
Drawing from his personal experience, Samuel shares insights into his own mentorship journey. He approached potential mentors with purpose, seeking out individuals with qualities or experiences of interest. The decision to pursue a mentorship relationship was guided by gut instincts and the chemistry shared between mentor and mentee. Samuel acknowledges that not every mentorship will be a perfect fit, but having the ability to discern and make independent decisions is crucial.
He also shared invaluable insights on what it takes to be an exceptional mentor. According to him, employing effective techniques such as asking thought-provoking questions and utilising the “BEST” approach (Building trust, Establishing mutual goals, Sharing lives/thoughts, and Taking action) are paramount. However, beyond mere techniques, Samuel emphasises that one must have a genuine desire to help others, cautioning against pursuing mentorship if indifference prevails. With his unwavering commitment to nurturing growth and fostering meaningful connections, Samuel embodies the epitome of a remarkable mentor.
Samuel’s advice on how to be a good mentor:
Use the “BEST” approach (Building trust, Establishing mutual goals, Sharing lives/thoughts, and Taking action)
Addressing aspiring mentors, Samuel emphasizes the importance of genuine care for others. He believes in nurturing a sincere desire to witness mentees grow and flourish, for in doing so, mentors themselves receive immeasurable rewards. Samuel recounts his own experiences mentoring individuals from different cultural backgrounds, highlighting the richness and unique perspectives they bring to the table. Engaging with mentees whose lives diverge from his own has expanded his cultural horizons and added vibrancy to his understanding of the world.
Samuel Wee’s remarkable journey as a mentor showcases the transformative power of guidance and support. His passion for helping others, combined with his extensive knowledge and experience, has empowered countless individuals to navigate life’s challenges and achieve personal and professional success. As Samuel continues his mission to uplift and inspire, his legacy as a mentor will undoubtedly continue to shape the lives of those fortunate enough to cross his path.
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