What It Takes To Get On The Gen.T List, According To Our Panel Of Experts

By Chong Seow Wei

Industry leaders who helped us identify the strongest candidates for this year's Gen.T List reveal what they look out for when vetting the nominees

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Mira Lesmana
Cover  Film producer Mira Lesmana

We all have a different idea of what success looks like. For some it's earning a Michelin star; for others its reaching your 1,000th customer. At Gen.T, we identify young leaders who are shaping Asia's future—extraordinary individuals who are at the top of their field and making an impact on the world. 

But finding such a high calibre of honouree, and validating their achievements, is a complicated process. To help us identify these individuals, we consult a panel of experts we call the Tribe. They hail from a diverse range of industries and bring their own unique experiences and insights.

The Tribe nominates and helps us vet candidates based on Gen.T’s criteria. In addition to our defined parameters, Tribe members also pay attention to other qualities in a potential Gen.T Leader of Tomorrow. We speak to eight of them to find out what these qualities are.

See also: How Do You Get On The Gen.T List?

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Alison Fiedman
Above  Alison Fiedman, former artistic director of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
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Hui Kwok-Leong
Above  Hui Kwok-Leong, acting director of ecosystem development at NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurship arm of the National University of Singapore

What did you look for when helping to select the Gen.T Leaders of Tomorrow? 

Alison Fiedman, who is the former artistic director of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, focused on individuals whose impact “affect the cultural habits of communities from the ground up”. She also awarded points to those who are creating impact in underserved areas in Hong Kong, such as refugee empowerment. 

In Singapore, Hui Kwok-Leong, the acting director of ecosystem development at NUS Enterprise, which is the entrepreneurship arm of the National University of Singapore, zoomed in on the level of innovation and technology used. “We kept an eye out for solutions that are enabling others to digitalise, create or innovate better, or are targeting critical challenges in areas such as sustainability and food scarcity,” he says. “Most importantly, everyone we nominated for the Gen.T List is playing their part in shaping a better future.”

See also: Gen.T Tribe: Insights And Advice From Some Of The Industry Experts Who Helped Us Select The Gen.T List 2021

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Charles Yen
Above  Charles Yen, co-founder of the Asia America Multitechnology Association in Taiwan
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Aaron Sarma
Above  Aaron Sarma, general partner of ScaleUp Malaysia, an accelerator for growth-stage companies

How did you assess the impact of a potential honouree’s work or achievements?

Charles Yen, the co-founder of the Asia America Multitechnology Association in Taiwan, assessed individuals based on several metrics: “Is their operation model sustainable? Are they able to achieve exponential growth? Are they creating new jobs and providing growth opportunities to their employees? And do they look after the interest of their stakeholders and not just their shareholders?” 

Aaron Sarma, general partner of accelerator ScaleUp Malaysia, says the obstacles that a potential honouree has had to overcome were also taken into consideration. “I made my assessment from the perspective of how much an individual has had to overcome to achieve their success." 

Andrew Chan, consulting leader at PwC Malaysia, also had a similar consideration: “I assessed their impact by breadth and reach, and by the relative degree of uplift they’ve made in improving lives,” he says. “I also considered the challenges they’ve had to overcome to make their impact, because that makes their successes much more meaningful.”

See also: Post-Pandemic Recovery Is Not Just Going Back To Normal. Here's Why

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Hartini Zainudin
Above  Hartini Zainudin, children's activist and co-founder of non-profit organisation Yayasan Chow Kit
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Andrew Chan
Above  Andrew Chan, consulting leader at PwC Malaysia, and sustainability and climate change leader, PwC’s South East Asian Consulting Services

Were you looking for any particular qualities in the nominees?

Mental resilience and integrity were two of the top qualities that most of our Tribe members looked out for. Beyond that, Indonesian film producer Mira Lesmana also favoured individuals who are fearless and strongly committed to their craft.

For Renna Hechanova-Angeles, vice chairman and treasurer of Concepcion Industrial Corporation in the Philippines, it was people with patience or a go-getter attitude who won her votes. And for children's activist Hartini Zainudin, who co-founded Malaysia’s Yayasan Chow Kit, an individual with a willingness to share their experiences is an individual worthy of being on the Gen.T List.

Find out who made it into the Gen.T List 2021.

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