The ASEAN Leaders Programme is one of the highlights of my whole leadership training. I have been on training initiatives before, and learned from them. But on those programmes, I interacted with colleagues from GE, people I have known from other departments, met with on corridors, worked with on projects... At the ASEAN Leaders Programme, I was flung out of my comfort zone and was compelled to share space with others in the room, people I had never met before, from several different sectors – academia, public service, private enterprises, non-governmental organizations, and more. They were from several countries in the region, besides. It was a dizzying mix, initially. I would never have imagined I would be collaborating on an idea within a few days, with a university don, debating and exchanging views, but I did so on the programme – and it was a joy!

Cultural Intelligence, that I learned on the programme, gave me the skills to work together with people from diverse backgrounds. It helped me cross barriers that I would not have attempted earlier. The ASEAN Leaders Programme forces you to be open-minded, and move forward. In a way, the programme is a validation of your skills to cross boundaries. Today, I am more comfortable meeting and working with people who are not from Indonesia, than before. I feel stronger in my ability to interact with, and work with those who are very different from me.

Another learning on the programme, that I appreciate greatly, is the new perspective I gained during the second part of the programme, in Indonesia. The country is in the midst of massive improvements being made for its welfare, from many angles. It needs extraordinary leaders who will need to do many things in extraordinary ways.

Apart from being visionary, they also need to be innovative and strong. In this regard, the sharing of best practices that we had with the Mayor of Bandung, and the Governor of DKI Jakarta, among others, was inspiring, an eye-opener. I could make the connection with another visionary, and strong leader, who is credited with the making of modern Singapore, Lee Kwan Yew. A lot of what I saw in Singapore on the immersion visits, during the first part of the programme, was inspired by LKY's leadership.

Viewed together, the two experiences exposed me to the compelling power and strength of visionary leadership. It inspires me at work, in the midst of what I do, small as it may be in comparison! Now, when I am confronted with obstacles, and things don't move as smoothly as I would hope, I draw an almost spiritual strength from the examples of leadership that I got so close to, and made a personal connection with on the ASEAN Leaders Programme.

Build leadership skills to succeed in the ASEAN at the ASEAN Leaders Programme 2017.