At a glance
Edwin Ang CPA graduated from the University of Sydney and entered the job market during the height of the global financial crisis (GFC). “It was a tough time to be looking for work,” recalls Ang.
“You really had to stand out from the competition and find different ways to get in front of the hiring manager.”
The experience means Ang really understands the value of mentors: the edge an experienced professional can give during the hunt for work, as well as the advice on how to excel in your role.
“Definitely in my career I’ve been helped several times by mentors, even if the relationship isn’t formalised like that. It’s amazing how prepared people are to help,” says Ang. “Mentors have been through similar experiences and can also bring different perspectives due to their experience, especially as hiring managers.”
Despite the GFC, Ang found work at a leading telco. As his career progressed through various commercial and tech companies – taking him from Australia to Hong Kong, then to London and now to Singapore – he began to feel compelled to give back and support young professionals.
He now volunteers with the CPA Young Professionals Network in Singapore – organising events such as one where CPAs share their diverse career journeys – as well as with an organisation called Advisory, a youth-led non-profit supporting young Singaporeans in their career and education choices.
Ang says he is passionate about supporting young people. “I want to help them understand that they can create their own opportunities and career pathways,” he says. “My favourite quote is: ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, Ang has also co-founded a mentoring platform called Expert Career Mentors, connecting young professionals with industry leaders for one-on-one career coaching and mentoring sessions.
“I was getting a lot of people contacting me, asking for advice about looking for work overseas, so it triggered the idea,” he says. “I was also aware that, during COVID-19, it was a hard time for young professionals to find and meet mentors, and it seemed a lot of people were rethinking their careers, too.”
The platform offers some free, but primarily fee-paying services, such as career coaching, interview coaching and CV support. Customers can access a free call outlining what support they need, and the team then connects them with an appropriate mentor or program.
“I’ll definitely keep the platform going past COVID-19. I want to grow the business by connecting with more industry leaders to strengthen our mentor network, so our mentees get the best advice possible.”
For the time being, Ang dedicates his spare time to the platform and other mentoring work, outside his hectic role as senior financial controller APAC at foodpanda, the largest food delivery platform in Asia.
“COVID-19 was a quiet time for many businesses, but of course for the food delivery industry it was a major period of growth,” he says.
Already in eight countries, the company expanded to Japan, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos in 2020.
“I’ve never been in such a fast-paced work environment,” says Ang, whose days are spent advising the C-suite on business growth, improving revenue and reviewing commercial investments.
For now, this is enough, says Ang, but one day he would like to take an advisory position on a board. “I’d love to volunteer my business and finance skills for a not-for-profit group in an area I’m passionate about such as sports, technology start-ups or youth services.”
Advisory is a fully youth-led non-profit dedicated to empowering young Singaporeans to make informed career and education choices.
By breaking down the barriers that young people face in finding and accessing their fields of interest, Advisory hopes to help young people pursue their passions. Advisory is funded by the National Youth Fund and supported by major organisations such as the National Youth Council.