Conversation with 
Dr Sandy Chong

Asia’s Top Sustainability Women of the Year Awardee (2019)

(Watch full interview here!) | Paraphrased excerpts below:

How can Businesses contribute during COVID-19?

Time and time again, when you look at SARS, MERS, Fukushima Meltdown, Tsunami and all the other crisis and disasters, businesses and the private sector have played an important role not just in protecting people and helping people during the crisis, but also after the crisis during the recovery period. However, as a business, you must first and foremost, take care of yourself, by ensuring that you are financially resilient and solvent, before you can look at taking care of people around you.

As a business, if you want to contribute and make a difference, you can give whatever you think you can afford, (however) don’t put yourself in a dire straits. If you can’t give money, give your time. There are plenty of opportunities where companies can get in touch with nonprofit and charities and ask what they can do to help? 

For example, if you have a trucking company, and your trucks are now sitting idle in the warehouse, you can mobilize your trucks into to help in COVID-19 related transportation support. Or say for example, if you have employees who are good at wood working, ask yourself, is there anything we can build that can make a difference? Can you build temporary tents to help people get tested? There are plenty of ways that you can contribute, you just have to reach out to understand what is needed and step up.  

Watch interview clip here

Dr Sandy Chong, President of United Nations Association, Western Australia

Why is it important to engage your Community during crisis?

As a leader, you need to lead with clarity. 

When people go through crisis, there is a lot of emotion and mental stress, so if you come through for them during crisis, you will gain their loyalty and trust long term. I’m not talking about just customers, but also employees. Some employees who have very special skills, for example, if they see that there is a movement (within an organization) and people are getting fired, then they will jump ship (to secure their future), and you are literally sending your best people to your competitor.

Psychologically, when we are in a panic mode and there is no direction, it is very easy to feed into fear. And that’s a problem because fear can paralyze people and fear can bring out the worst in us. So it is important to shift that thinking of fear into something that is positive, something that is constructive, something that you can explore new opportunities on.

Your stakeholders are still out there. If you are a non-profit, you will still have members. If you are a voluntary organization, you will still have volunteers. If you are in the private sector, you will still have your customers. People are still around, they are still reading the news, they are still engaging and they are still consuming. You just have to find a way to engage them, to keep them loyal, to get them to contribute and give you a feedback on their emerging needs. 

Forget about the past. Forget about what worked for you in the past. Think about what can work for you, how can you be more innovative. During the good times, if you didn’t want to try anything, fair enough. But during a crisis like this, this is where you can be innovative. This is where you can ask yourself how you can be more sustainable in taking this company over the line. 

Watch interview clip here

About Dr Sandy Chong

Dr Sandy Chong is Australia Community Citizen of the Year Awardee (2019). She is the winner of Asia’s Top Sustainability Women of the Year Award (2019), the USA Stevie Awards for Women in Business (2017), and the Singapore Management Consultant of the Year Award (2016). She is a strong advocate for women and youth empowerment and as the President of United Nations Association in Western Australia, she is an active contributor in promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the business sector.

Dr Sandy Chong will be a speaker at our upcoming conference entitled: Business & Community Re-Imagined.

Find out more about Sandy at VerityConsult.com