18.35 Activism - Young Activists
Inspiring and Guiding Youths

Story and Photos by Jonathan Tan

As a management consultant specialising in branding and marketing, Sharon Tan’s job is focused on helping brands and businesses address concerns such as sales and revenue. Zooming in on brand and marketing, Sharon takes on a conceptual approach to helping her clients meet their goals.

She said that while marketing campaigns can be used to meet short terms goals, what’s important is the process of brand building, which helps companies establish a unique identity for themselves.

“Get the brand right and you forge your identity. Marketing then becomes easier because you will then be able to take strategic actions to support your business needs,” she shared.

Learning The Trade

Despite gathering a wealth of experience working with businesses in the exciting world of marketing, Sharon did not start her career in the field. Instead, she discovered a knack for it after successfully developing a membership community for adult learners during her stint as a career coach in an adult training company.

“A membership community may be classified as a customer experience, but it is a subset of the huge umbrella that is marketing. My then boss was happy with the results and I was then given the opportunity to progress my career in marketing,” she elaborated.

Building on that early success, Sharon got to work on a wide range of marketing disciplines, such as business-to-consumer marketing, corporate marketing as well as programme marketing. She also expanded her horizons by honing her skills in a range of industries, including beauty and lifestyle, before her present role in management consulting.

Receiving Support

“I had a mentor in my adult training role, and she was the one who helped me blossom. She helped me realise my strengths, helped me be more conscious of my abilities and how to tap them to excel in my career. It was very pivotal for me and she helped polish me up, especially during that turning point of my career.

“In my career journey, I have been very blessed with many good bosses. Each one I reported to either gave me a lot of opportunities to expand my horizons or they helped me develop my skills further. In terms of width and depth, they’ve all been instrumental in my development,” said Sharon when asked if she had any support during her career.

She also added that besides having the leeway and space to experiment with new ideas, she also had a very passionate and motivated team of colleagues who inspired her.

Paying It Forward

Sharon has always been looking for an opportunity to give back for the support she has received. Upon a friend’s introduction, she started volunteering for Young NTUC’s Youth Career Network as a career guide.

“Having experienced how a mentor has helped me, I wanted to be able to help youths at crossroads better understand their interests and find the right career match.

“I am also the mother of an 18-year-old son and I wanted to be able to help someone like him find his or her passion, better navigate what they want to do in their career, and pursue life with more energy. He’s one of the bigger reasons why I decided to do this,” explained Sharon.

To help the mentees she gets paired with, Sharon has adopted a very structured approach which taps her work experiences. Besides helping them pick up the necessary brand and marketing know-how, Sharon also helps them with personal branding and helps them learn more about themselves and their interests in life so that they can be empowered to make the right career decisions.

Ultimately, Sharon hopes that through these interactions, she can make a positive impact in the lives of the youths in her mentorship. On a personal level, it’s also been a source of inspiration for her to push the boundaries of her knowledge.

“I cannot stop learning and I will push myself to learn as much as possible because I cannot give what I don’t have,” she said.