Founder of Wisdom Woods®
Born to a modest family, Coach K was a timid boy and today he is the founder of Wisdom Woods®, a company that offers learning and coaching programs for all ages. Prior to that, he accumulated years of leadership experience in the corporate world, having been a Group CEO, COO, GM, managing and setting up businesses in multiple industries, including logistics, property development, software engineering, business consulting and education. Other than having Masters of Science, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Hons), he is an internationally certified Trainer and Coach by several International Boards. Due to his diverse background, he has been invited to speak in areas including leadership, business, logistics, economics, IT, mental health and education. He is active in community service, currently serving as the President of the Penang Symphony Society, the Vice President of The Society of the Logisticians, Malaysia, the Penang State Staff Officer (Training) of St John Ambulance of Malaysia and many others. He has also created many learning programs. Amongst the bigger ones include 5P Self-Leadership, 5R Leadership Framework and even a full set of Children’s Leadership Program.
What’s the story about you being a timid boy?
When I was a boy, I feared many things, especially loud noises and being around people. That’s why, even until I was 10, I didn’t like Chinese New Year because there were too many people around. Whilst most children would be having fun, I would hide away in my Grandma’s room every night due to the noise of the firecrackers and fireworks.
Oh… but today you are in a profession that talks to many people. What happened?
I was in Kwang Hwa Standard 5, when Cikgu Tan suddenly asked me to memorise an Essay. Memorising was easy for me but she then asked me to recite in front of the class. My whole body was shaking and sweating! I got through it with great relief until she added, “You’re joining the Malay Speech Contest.” Immediately, I stood there frozen for a while! I had no choice because I had no courage to even say ‘no’.
How did that change you?
Being an obedient student, I just followed every single instruction to prepare for the contest. Contest day came and I ‘accidentally’ won. What I won was not only a contest but an important pivot in life, where I started to believe in myself. Since then, I started taking part in speech contests for all languages and continued even through Secondary School, having won Zone and State Championships. I continued to be vocal when I received a scholarship to study in Australia. Being the National Convenor of NLC, a national union for about 200,000 international students in Australia, I spoke in Conferences including Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, IDP Australia, ISANA and even invited to speak in the Australian Senate Committee Hearing about a new Bill.
You obviously had great perks in Corporate. What made you start Wisdom Woods®?
I am thankful that throughout my career, I discovered I like helping people grow. When I was involved in setting up an international school, that was the final confirmation for me that I really enjoy growing talents. I believe strongly that everyone has talents and Everyone Can Learn. Therefore, just like the mysterious forest, I hope that Wisdom Woods® can be a place for everyone to keep learning, uncover talents and grow wisdoms.