Joshua Chegne spent 25 years in the corporate world. Anyone would consider his steady climb up the ranks a success story. But in 2016, he decided to leave behind the financial world and dipped his toes into the social sector. “After pursuing my MBA and Master in Counselling, I felt led to use my education and past work experience to contribute to the social sector by joining a Voluntary Welfare Organisation, which is now known as Social Service Agency (SSA),” he says.
The 56-year-old is at the helm of Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens (LKHSC) as the CEO in May 2021, and is determined to make his mark. Read on to find out more about Joshua, and what he has planned.
What was your work experience before joining this organisation?
Armed with a Bachelor of Economics degree and qualification as a Chartered Accountant (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Singapore) many years ago, I embarked on a corporate career for about 25 years. I first started out as an auditor with KPMG and progressed on to other roles including Accountant, Finance Manager, CFO, COO and Director of Administration, in corporations such as Behn Meyer, Beca, Raffles Marina and UWCSEA.
After pursuing my MBA and Master in Counselling, I … joined Life Community as its Chief Operating Officer. This was followed by my appointment as Executive Director at the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped. While working at the SSAs, I also pursued a Graduate Diploma in Social Work at the National University of Singapore and is now a Registered Social Worker. All these have given me the opportunity to view things from different perspectives and I thank God for giving me this journey of many experiences.
How has your experience prepared you for your current role?
Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens (LKHSC) provides nursing home and centre-based services to the elderly in Singapore. I have always been interested to be involved in these areas as they form an integral part of the Community Care sector in healthcare services.
I am able to use the knowledge and experiences gained during my career in the corporate world to run an organisation effectively and efficiently. My education and time spent at the SSAs thus far have not only prepared me for this role at LKHSC, they have ignited my passion and compassion to fuel the essence to serve the community through LKHSC. The marrying of these two very invaluable qualities, I feel, is helping me considerably to lead LKHSC.
I feel really blessed, at this point in my life, to be able to serve at the helm of an organisation that is in the sector that I have been so keen to join. I have much to discover and grasp from my able colleagues and I shall be humble and learn as much as I can so that it will help me even more to give to this sector. Furthermore, I am very blessed that I am able to exchange notes and receive advice from my lovely wife, Jasmine Heng, who is also from the healthcare sector and currently working at St Andrew’s Community Hospital.
What are some of your plans for your organisation?
I am just in my first month on the job, hence it is a little hard to provide you with a comprehensive answer. What I can say is that I am spending much time walking the ground and engaging in many conversations in order to understand the current state of affairs through the eyes of my Honorary Chairman, Executive Committee members and fellow colleagues.
Based on my initial review, I am considering how to enhance the following areas: enrichment on the provision of medical and other services, steering person-centred care approach to take centre stage, upgrading of our facilities and technology, development of our community services and engagement, building up teamwork across the various levels, and possibly other areas that needs more work. All these must be underpinned by the Home’s motivation to stay relevant and be very intentional in the delivery of care to our residents and the community.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I enjoy going for walks in nature. I am glad to see that many people have also adopted this simple past-time since overseas travels became restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, taking such walks is really a time to relax, be close to nature and having the me-alone time. The benefits of taking slow walks, appreciating nature, stopping just to watch the neighbour’s dog, smelling the flowers and touching the texture of leaves are just huge, and very refreshing. It also allows us time to give thanks to God and appreciate the small things in life. In spending time outside, I also get away from work and give my eyes a break from the computer/mobile phone blue light.
At LKHSC, we have two nice gardens where our residents can enjoy nature right where they live. It is always lovely to wheel them to watch the koi in the pond and the birds in the aviary, and relax among the many plants there.
I have recently also picked up diving, mountain climbing and painting – things which I have never done before in my life. I find these activities relaxing and I guess I am able to pick up new hobbies and past-times because my children are already in their adulthood.
What is something not many people know about you?
Not many people may know that I do have a flair for the creative arts. While working at Life Community, I had worked with a group of children on a painting which was auctioned off for $6,888 during a Charity Dinner. That was really rewarding and an achievement which I am very proud of.
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