Being self savvy with Heidy Quah
25 Apr 2019 | Gamuda Berhad

Last month we launched Leap to Lead, an initiative conceived to promote a culture of nurturing and developing our employees into greater leaders. This month, for the second part in the series, we had a leaders’ dialogue where internal and external speakers were invited to share their experiences, thoughts and best ideas on how to be a better leader.

We had the pleasure of having Heidy Quah as one of our keynote speakers. Under the Being Self Savvy theme, the 24-year old shared the struggles that she’s overcome to be standing where she is today, an experience that can sometimes feel isolating but in truth, is one shared amongst many of this generation in the workforce.

With the construction industry in Malaysia going through rapid digitalisation, namely the soon-to-be mandated use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), Gamuda and its employees are in the midst of a major transformation. As always, major transformations mean a temporary disruptive environment which causes discomfort, especially when transformation is moving at a rapid pace.

“I think the key is humility. A lot of times we go into an environment thinking about what we can do and how we want it to be. What exactly we hope it to be, but by being open and flexible, and just trying out different things and different ways, this makes a huge difference,” Heidy said about adapting to a disruptive environment.

Heidy was named the sole Malaysian winner of the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award for her work with refugees. She was among 60 winners selected from thousands of applicants across the Commonwealth to be recognised for taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.

She received this award in recognition of her advocacy and aid work for refugees in Malaysia through her non-governmental organisation which she co-founded, Refuge for The Refugees.

“It’s so easy to start up an idea because we start on a high, we start off passionate. We start off excited. We start off thinking there’s so many possibilities, but later you’ll hit roadblocks and difficulties.” This is where self-awareness becomes an important part of the process because “if you give in to your emotions, it will feel so much easier to give up halfway.”

Being self-aware allows you to have a clear perception of your own personality, including strengths and weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotions. It also gives you a better understanding of other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in any moment. Self-awareness or being self savvy allows you to also understand fears of the unknown.

“I always say that there are two components when we look into starting a new project or new idea. One of it is the heart and the other is the art,” Heidy shared. “Before we start something, we tend to look at the skills and talents we have, how much money we have. But this is not as important as your heart. Once your heart is in the right place, everything else falls into place. When your heart is in the right place, you will learn the art.”  

ABOUT LEAP TO LEAD: This year we launched the Leap to Lead series to promote a culture of nurturing our employees and developing leaders. To provide the necessary tools for our staff to take a leap forward, we are organising four leader dialogues throughout the year. Stay tuned for our next one!