Esther shares how with the right mindset she emerged from the selection process with a renewed sense of purpose.

What did they ask about? Curious colleagues wanted to know.

It was a nine-member interview panel. Must have been intimidating for the younger students, I thought. But it turned out to be one of the best interview experiences ever. The interviewers were warm and personal. I liked their questions and even took down notes to share with fellow colleagues.

The process was thought-provoking, with the questions built upon one another to delve into my heart and mind. It was a good way to get to know me and my intentions. After all, they were looking for people who contribute actively to society and are giving out the scholarship without bond.

The few questions that I remember vividly:

“You spent many years in healthcare; what is the most important thing that you have learnt?”

“How would this training contribute further?”

“For all that you have said that are important in this training, what have you tried to do so far?”

It was a wonderful exercise to reach into my being and share with the panel that the core values which I had acquired and that I apply daily were most precious. I also liked it that they asked what I did meanwhile to contribute, before funding for my plans was approved. Overall, the process helped me to gain greater clarity and was uplifting.

Esther has been implementing the Esther Network in Singapore. It has trained 190 Esther Coaches from 47 institutions to help integrate health and social care.

A leap forward for social workers and allied health professionals

To be the first social worker and allied health professional to be awarded the prestigious LKY scholarship means a lot to me and my fellow professionals.

The scholarship was started in 1991 to fund post-graduate studies for individuals who contribute to our society. Since then, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has given this award to 65 scholars from fields ranging from the public service to medicine and the arts. The LKY Scholarship will help fund my part-time PhD studies at Sweden’s Jönköping University.

I see my success as a shift in the emphasis of PSC, and I encourage more social workers and allied health professionals to go beyond what they are comfortable doing, and to step up and serve.

The PSC looks for integrity and character of the person, as well as purpose. Going through the selection process for the scholarship served me well as a booster and reminder of my mission as a social worker, anchored in the core values that go a long way in what we do.

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