In her role at Salesforce, Wendy leads marketing in the region. She helps businesses grow and connect with their customers, partners, and employees. As a passionate advocate for Equality, Wendy is also President of the Salesforce Women’s Network: Asia (SWN) one of the global equality groups. SWN’s charter is to empower, invest, and amplify the progress of women, create gender-equality allies, and take action on equality. More from Wendy here.
Daughters Of Tomorrow (DOT) is a non-profit based in Singapore. It supports women from the low-income community to match into sustainable livelihood opportunities, through confidence building and upskilling workshops.
Like many of the women who come to DOT, Kim Underhill was once struggling to make ends meet. Now, as President and Board Member at DOT, Kim helps other women in need, and especially in their back-to-work journeys. As part of Salesforce’s International Women’s Day 2021 programmes, Kim participated in a fireside chat to share about her journey and motivations to give back.
This is Kim’s story:
The lowest point in my life was when I returned from Malaysia to Singapore with my children after leaving a physically abusive marriage. My children were only eight and four. We came back with only the clothes on our backs.
I had left school when I was 15 years old and began working for an English man [named] Terry. After a year, he came to me and said, "Why don't you go back to school?" My answer was, "I can hardly afford anything more than my rent." Terry convinced the company to send me back to school. The initial plan was to do a two-year certificate, but it extended from there and became a six-year sponsorship.
Today, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, as well as a Masters in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. All these were obtained in my 30s. I went through six years of night school, while raising two children, and holding a full-time job.
I came to DOT when I met its founder, Carrie Tan, at a women in leadership event. She invited me to become a trainer and talk to women about how to get job-ready, build confidence, and improve their livelihoods. Many people may not realise this, but there are more than 25,000 women from low-income families in Singapore. These women are struggling to find and sustain a living.
My feeling is that somebody once gave me a little push and an opportunity, and that these women also need attention, help, and guidance. When the women hear my story, they ask "how can I do that?" The advice I always give is, "Things don’t happen overnight. It may take years, but you have to start from step one to make a difference."
DOT provides support in so many practical ways.
For example, one particular client was a struggling single mother with no support. Through DOT, she received skills-focused training and became interested in the eldercare industry. Today, she is working in a nursing home and we have plans to support her to get her diploma. This makes it so worthwhile for me.
Within DOT, we have the Befriender Program. We attach a professional woman to a beneficiary to coach and mentor them, and to help to nurture confidence.
We are also developing a new program called the Childminding Network to encourage women in Singapore to support each other. For example, we have women who cannot go for a job interview because they cannot afford to pay for childcare. When they do get a job, we also step in and sponsor their childcare for 3–6 months, until their salary is stable.
One of the biggest challenges women face, especially when they have to work from home, is that they are available to cater to everybody's needs. I always advise women to learn to ask for help.
My mother raised my brother, sister, and I single-handedly, and worked three jobs to put food on the table. She advised me not to focus on the problems in my life, but on the steps I needed to take to move forward. That was very impactful and inspiring for me.
My advice to other women is also to practice daily intention. When you tell yourself, "I'm going to have a happy day," somehow it turns out that way, because you are mentally prepared for success. Too often, women rush through the day with family and work without having time for themselves. Be intentional in finding “me” time and plan it consciously.
Salesforce is committed to supporting gender equality. Some of Salesforce’s global equality initiatives include committing to equal pay for equal work and investing in the development of future leaders.
In Singapore, Salesforce is a proud supporter of Daughters Of Tomorrow, through fundraising and volunteering.
To donate, or volunteer, including through mentorship opportunities, please visit the Daughters Of Tomorrow website to find out more.
Let’s make a positive difference in the lives of women in Singapore.