Suganthi Singam, Shearn Delamore & Co
WLG Co-chair, Human Resources Group
How did you first get involved with WLG, and what led you to take on a leadership position?
The membership of our firm and all lawyers. Mr. Swee Kee Ng, a past WLG President and former partner in our firm, encouraged me to attend the WLG meetings. Whilst I initially started as a member attending semi-annual summits, the exposure during the initial years and shared experiences from a former president culminated in a desire to be part of the leadership. I wanted to be part of the team that would be responsible for the growth and focus of HR within WLG as my initial exposure found that the primary focus of many conference delegates was more targeted to corporate-related work. My specialisation in employment law and awareness of the expertise held by WLG member firms through key representatives in each country in a multitude of areas provided the opportunity to leverage that expertise to grow other areas of focus within WLG.
What has been the most meaningful accomplishment during your time as a group co-chair?
That’s a tough one and I really can’t say. Each idea, thought, or plan that we have brought to fruition, some of which have taken longer than expected, has brought about a sense of accomplishment. We have had a great HR leadership team which has made this a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
While serving as a group co-chair and Key Contact Partner for your firm, what more did you learn about WLG and its value to members?
The importance of having a trusted and reliable network, particularly in referrals and the ability to address the needs of clients when time is of the essence. In referrals, we want to have the assurance that clients will be well looked after in all respects from response time, efficiency, practicality, and affordability.
What is your advice to lawyers, particularly women, who want to get more involved or take on a leadership position in the WLG network?
Start early and start young. The organisation provides a strong and sound network to all those interested. There are a multitude of opportunities in diverse areas. The members and support team, particularly Hanna Shea and Beth Castro, are incredibly warm and welcoming and are very receptive to new ideas for change and innovation. Many of the existing member lawyers are those whom I met years ago and the friendships formed within the network are incomparable. We have grown together as a family and it's been an incredible journey with no regrets.
As we reflect upon our growth during our 35th anniversary, tell us about the changes you've seen in the network during the years you have been involved and what leads you to believe our best days are ahead of us.
We have moved from the traditional network front with an emphasis on technology for a greater reach. The social networking sessions and ice breakers that have become a norm in recent years are a great way to ease new members into the network and has provided resounding success. Where we would have previously met with members only at the in-person conferences, the changes that technology have brought about have allowed us to have greater interactions through out podcasts, zooms, and webinars. The interaction between different practice groups and joint sessions particularly has provided a refreshing insight and perspective into the analysis of issues and challenges faced in present day.