Inspiring Conversations

Steering The Leader’s Wheel

  • SumoMe

Life experiences shape you to become who you are today. If your cards have been dealt right, you could either grow to become a headstrong leader or a reliable follower who succeeds in any kind of situation. But two enterprising individuals aren’t letting the hands of chance dictate the way youths mature today. In this interview we know that to become a leader, you’ve got to be confident in taking the wheel.

By Penny C

With the combined determination and passion of Raymond Tay and Keith Ong, they head Leader’s Wheel, an organisation that aims to develop and inspire young, responsible and mature leaders through practical and clear leadership training programmes.

Raymond (left) & Keith (right)

“We’re lucky to find our passion early in life so we won’t be hitting too many walls along the way. We look forward.” They tell us. With their experiences, the partners are also leading by example to help pave the way for others. These leaders are constantly seeking improvement to fuel their drive and create as many victories as they can. Transforming lives every day, Raymond and Keith show us how with perseverance, good faith, proper direction, motivation and guidance, every youth has the potential to become everything they can be.

In 3 words, tell us what Leader’s Wheel is all about.

Moulding Tomorrow’s Leaders.

What led you both down this path of youth development?

It was a long journey which led us to discover what we love to do. During our secondary school days and the continued volunteer service in St. John Ambulance Brigade (SJAB), we were trained to be leaders, empowered to develop our juniors into leaders as well. Through this, we had many opportunities to attend many leadership courses and soon enough, we were given the chance to take upon various key roles (like Platoon Commander, Training Officer, Support Officer, Cadet Officer, Finance Officer) to serve, learn and lead. You can say that SJAB shaped our characters and destinies.

To train leaders, you’ve got to be one too. So tell us how things were when you guys were trying to build this idea from scratch and how you managed to pull through.

Once we were very clear about what we were going to do, everything seemed possible. As we’ve created leadership programmes before starting Leader’s Wheel, it wasn’t too difficult to continue using the useful contents to teach those young leaders-to-be.

Many unfamiliar situations accompany every new business and these can become stumbling blocks. But we rose above adversities because we love what we do and we focused on our end intention of helping and changing the youth of today. Others can do the same; strive and continue to take small steps to overcome all obstacles and reach your goals.

Tell us, how can a passionate individual stand out from the crowd?

It’s your “FOCUS” in life or “CLARITY” of your destiny. Some people are unsure of what they want to do, so they’ll just follow the crowd or listen to everyone but themselves. To us it’s vital for an individual to be certain of what you want to achieve in life and work towards your goals accordingly.

How would you encourage/inspire individuals who want to pursue their ambitions of owning a business, or just pursing unconventional interests?

It’s something that takes two hands to clap. It’s easy to inspire people who are clear of their personal direction and difficult to help someone to discover their interests (as it’s a personal thing). But not all of us need to be entrepreneurs, as you need certain personalities to be one. There is a wonderful mandarin quote: “Every occupation will create its scholars and talents”.

How do each of you overcome challenges and prove naysayers wrong?

Perseverance is the key to success. If you don’t believe in yourself and what you’re doing and choose to give up at the earliest opportunity when faced with problems, you’ll never succeed in life. So instead of running away from problems, we chose to face our challenges bravely and adjust our strategies accordingly to overcome trials.

What are the best and worst things about doing what you’re doing now?

The best thing – this is our passion. We’re glad that we have an opportunity to do what we like and have a sustainable income at the same time.

The worst thing is not being accepted by the schools we approach. But as always, we treat rejections as a reality of life and if we ask enough people, someone will say, “Yes!”.

What inspires you both?

We thrive under adversity. Our shared inspiration comes from sportsmen who have made a successful comeback after overcoming their personal challenges. These people have many qualities from which we can learn and tap from.  One such example is Lance Armstrong who didn’t quit competing in cycling races even though he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

What’s one experience that has touched you the most in your line of work since Leader’s Wheel?

It was during an industry visit which we had arranged with one of our partners. They are a non-profit organisation which provides job placement service for people with disabilities (PWD). By reaching out to the PWD and assisting them in achieving independence, dignity and integration into mainstream society, this experience of working closely with the PWD have truly touched us. We’re more determined to highlight the awareness of this organisation to the students we’re teaching.

What are you looking forward to in 2010 (personally and also for Leader’s Wheel)?

Personally, we are looking at being able to share our knowledge with more people; students in particular, as we had always believed that students can achieve a higher well-being with valuable advice and knowledge. As for Leader’s Wheel, we aim to reach out to more schools and enrich the lives of 10,000 students by the end of 2010. Currently, we have moulded 2,116 and still counting….

Raymond and Keith aren’t going anywhere just yet, at least not before having a go at filling the blanks!

Remember to check out Leader’s Wheel and the many development programmes that the organisation provides to Singapore’s youth. Look out for their car as well!

It may not be an easy task to work they way they do, but for these guys, it sure is a fulfilling one. So spread the word and reach out to youths like Leader’s Wheel. Make a difference the way you know how! :)


  1. Another great interview Penny C…

    Hats off to Raymond and Keith… It’s a tough industry.. but it looks like they make it fun..

  2. Thanks again, Ryan!

    I’m with you on that point too; and it’s great to see these guys working to keep kids on the right path.

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